In short, a gas heater can be the most deadly way to heat our homes if not maintained properly. These heaters can become dangerous, particularly in newer built homes or those that have been retrofitted to be better sealed and more energy efficient.
Carbon Monoxide (CO)
- All gas heaters have the potential to spill or leak carbon monoxide (CO). This includes central gas heater units, space heaters, wall furnaces and decorative log fires.
- CO is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas caused by incomplete combustion of hydrocarbon fuels.
- ESV and the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) recommend that all gas water heaters, space heaters and central gas heaters are checked at least every two years by a qualified gasfitter. You can find your local registered gasfitter by searching online.
CO Poisoning from your Gas Heater is Real!
Carbon monoxide spillage can be lethal. It can cause death or chronic illness.
Therefore, ESV has stepped up their safety warnings in response to recent CO poisoning events.
Between 2010 and 2018, seven Victorians have died from CO poisoning, including brothers Chase and Tyler Robinson who died in their home in 2010.
Certainly, carbon monoxide poisoning can happen in any home or building with a gas heater or gas appliances, including newer ones.
For instance, dirty, old and unchecked heaters operating in a sealed environment will increase the risk of CO spillage and smaller, poorly ventilated dwellings are at a greater risk.
Get your Gas Heater Checked!
ESV recommends all gas space heaters, central heaters and water heaters are checked at least every two years by a qualified gasfitter.
Therefore, a qualified gasfitter will inspect your heater and check its installation, including testing for carbon monoxide leakage.
The spring and autumn months are a good time to get this done ahead of the winter rush – however, contact a qualified gasfitter at any time if you have concerns.
So, find a qualified gasfitter by searching online or contact the VBA for help on finding a local gasfitter.
Upgrade to Reverse Cycle!
In sum, if you are concerned about the state of your gas heater, its best to upgrade to a reverse cycle system:
- For instance, Reverse cycle systems are electrical based – no carbon monoxide scares!
- Gas prices are rising whereas electrical is more competitive and many customers are moving to solar to save.
- Moreover, you have the choice of ducted heating and cooling with or without zoning, split systems in the wall hung or floor standing range.
- Annually your running costs will be cheaper!
- Reverse cycle units are now modernised with many user friendly features and can be controlled by mobile via Wi-Fi control.
All that is required is for a Rapid Cold member to inspect your property, size up and design your duct or pipe work. From here, we will offer you our prices, which include decommissioning and removing your old unit/s.
- Get your gas heater checked once every two years. This will ensure your heater runs safely and efficiently.
- Only use a qualified gasfitter. Ask your gasfitter for a Compliance Certificate on completion of any installation work.
- Don’t leave the heater on overnight. Avoid using your gas heater for extended periods or when not required.
- Don’t operate exhaust fans at the same time as the heater. Your range hood or bathroom fan can create a ‘negative pressure’ effect where carbon monoxide that should escape out the flue is drawn into living areas.
- Consider back-up measures such as a carbon monoxide alarm. Carbon monoxide alarms can be a useful back-up precaution. But should not be considered a substitute for the proper installation and maintenance of gas heating appliances. See more on carbon monoxide alarms here.
- Ensure you have adequate ventilation. While it is not necessary to have windows and doors wide open on a cold day, ventilation is important to ensure your heater operates correctly.
- Consider replacing old appliances. Upgrade to reverse cycle to eliminate any concern!