As most of our furnaces begin working overtime to try and keep up with near-record low temperatures, comes a warning to keep an eye on gas meters, regulators, and vent pipes. Gas companies say frigid weather increases the risk of fire, carbon monoxide poisoning, and other hazards.

According to the New York State Electric and Gas Corporation, the danger goes beyond during actual storms. Often the cleanup afterward leads to snow, ice, and other debris blocking vents, meters, and regulators.

Blocked exhaust vents on furnaces, water heaters, and similar appliances can cause carbon monoxide and other toxic fumes to build-up inside the home. Damaged meters and regulators can lead to gas leaks and possible explosions.

As we all look for ways to stay warm take some precautions. Make sure space heaters are intended for indoor use. Keep them 3 feet from flammable material. Don't use an extension cord on a space heater or run the cord under a carpet. Occasionally check the cord to make sure it isn't becoming overheated. Never use the stove or oven to provide additional heat. Here are more safety tips on using portable space heaters.

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be located throughout your home, especially outside of bedrooms. If you suspect gas leaks or carbon monoxide is leaking into your home, leave immediately and call authorities from a safe location.