By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With the cold-weather season approaching, a Twin Cities family has a message about an invisible threat.

Last month, poisonous carbon monoxide started leaking from a faulty water heater inside the Klassen family’s home.

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“Considering it was 1:30 in the morning, we would have been sleeping for many, many more hours,” said Andy Klassen.

No one likes to get a call in the middle of the night, but in this case, the Klassen family is thankful. After their CO detector went off, their alarm company reached out.

On Thursday morning, the Klassen’s met the ADT dispatcher who alerted them, along with Eagan first responders who pinpointed the problem.

“This one was serious. I knew it. I got chills. I knew I had to not freak them out and respond right away,” said Reneshia Cason, ADT Dispatcher.

“The cause of this incident was the water heater. The water heater I believe was 18-years-old,” said Captain Michael Winters, Eagan Fire.

Almost as soon as first responders entered the home, they detected carbon monoxide.

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“It’s silent. It’s odorless. You don’t know it’s there. You don’t know you need an alarm until you need an alarm,” said Andy Klassen.

The next day the Klassens got a new water heater.

“Considering the proximity to my oldest daughter’s bedroom, that was the scariest part of the whole evening,” said Andy Klassen.

And they know things could have ended much worse. They’re just thankful their family of five and their pet dog got out okay, and that they’re able to warn others.

“We are just hoping to raise awareness. It’s winter season coming up. Carbon monoxide happens. We are just normal people,” said Melanie Klassen. “We are thankful we had a really good outcome here.”

And some tips from the Eagan Fire Department: fall back and spring ahead are good times to replace the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

And it’s a good idea to replace those detectors if they’re more than 10-years-old.

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Also, you may consider replacing any old appliances that run on gas- such as your furnace, water heater, or even your stove.

John Lauritsen