EnergySafety issues warning for gas heater use

WA’s EnergySafety is reminding householders to have their gas heaters serviced before using them this winter.

In 2010, two children died in their Shepparton home in Victoria due to carbon monoxide gas leaking from faulty heaters.

As the annual Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week is being observed this week, WA’s Director of Energy Safety Ken Bowron said gas heaters should be serviced by a licensed gas fitter or service agent.

“The most recent case of carbon monoxide poisoning in WA caused by a household gas heater was in August 2016. Fortunately, the victim made a recovery after medical attention,” he said.

“With heaters being idle for many months over summer, it is important to have them serviced by a licensed gas fitter or service agent to make sure it is working properly.

“Air filters, air ways, fans and burners can become blocked by lint and dust, especially if the heater has been stored in a garden shed or similar over the summer which can lead to overheating and burner problems and producing carbon monoxide gas.”

People may not know they have been exposed to potentially fatal levels of carbon monoxide until the symptoms of poisoning become severe.

A person exposed to low levels of carbon monoxide may experience headaches, weakness, fatigue and nausea and may also experience flu-like symptoms.

Those exposed to higher levels of carbon monoxide may experience severe headache, dizziness, rapid or irregular heartbeat, vomiting, seizures and collapse. Extreme cases may lead to coma and death.

Householders are reminded to:

  • Check the service sticker on the appliance if it is due for a service and to call a licensed gas fitter or service agent.
  • Make sure that the room is adequately ventilated when using a flueless heater
  • Check flues are not blocked or obstructed
  • Make sure that roof insulation is not obstructing a heater
  • Check the outer case of the space heater. Check if it is discoloured. Discolouration is an indication of a faulty flue.
  • If you have difficulty re-lighting the gas appliance, call a licensed gas fitter or service agent
  • Check the heater – a yellow flame can indicate that your heater is not running correctly and needs servicing.

More information about servicing gas appliances is available on www.commerce.wa.gov.au/energysafety/gas-appliances

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