We've been warning you for days about the extremely cold weather to come this week, and it's already started to affect parts of Iowa:
And while there's been a run on things like cold-weather clothing and space heaters at the stores, here's one other thing you ought to buy for the cold weather: A carbon-monoxide detector.
I share this warning from personal experience. Here's a picture from the CO detector in my own basement, after we had a part fail in our furnace that caused a cloud of the deadly gas to build up inside our house:
Carbon monoxide can be a danger in any building that uses combustion to produce heat -- from natural gas and LP, for instance, (which are probably the two most common ways people heat their homes here in Iowa) but also from wood-burning fireplaces with backed-up flues.
A concentration of 70 ppm is higher than the OSHA limit for daily workplace exposure, and the number was on the rise when we got out of the house and had the gas shut off. Exposure to lower concentrations for long times can be as hazardous as higher concentrations for shorter times.
Get a CO sensor for every level of your house (or, if you're understandably paranoid like me, get multiple), replace them regularly, and make sure the whole family knows to take the CO alarm just as seriously as a smoke alarm. It could save your life.