(HealthDay News) -- Natural gas, used in many homes for cooking and heating, has no odor. So utilities add a sulfur-based compound to produce the familiar "rotten-eggs" smell that most people can pick up easily.

If you have a diminished sense of smell or can't detect the odor added to natural gas, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders says you should opt for a natural gas detector.

The agency suggests looking for these features:

  • Make sure the device is able to distinguish humidity and cigarette smoke, which shouldn't trigger the alarm.
  • Choose an alarm with a Lower Explosive Limit, which will sound an alarm when gas meets the lowest level that may cause an explosion.
  • Install the detector in an area where you can hear the alarm and where gas is likely to collect, such as in a basement.
  • Test and maintain the gas detector regularly.