Is your gas heater safe?
It doesn’t make a sound. You can’t see it or smell it. But while your gas heater is running, carbon monoxide could be spilling into your home.
All gas heaters can spill carbon monoxide (CO) – a gas you can’t see or smell that can make you seriously sick or kill you.
To be sure your gas heater is safe, you should:
- have it serviced at least once every two years, by a qualified gasfitter
- check for safety advice – some heaters need fresh air flow to operate safely.
Service your gas heater for winter
You won’t be able to tell if your heater is leaking carbon monoxide – because you can’t see it or smell it.
Be sure your gas heater is safe. Have it serviced at least once every two years by a qualified gasfitter.
Are you a homeowner?
Find a qualified gasfitter as if you would find your local tradesperson; online or in your local paper. Check their licence to make sure they have the required qualifications to complete the service and testing.
Are you a tenant, landlord or real estate agent?
The landlord or agent is responsible for servicing all gas heaters at least once every two years.
Find out more about your rights and responsibilities.
Use your gas heater safely
- Check if a safety alert has been issued for your gas heater.
- Don’t use kitchen rangehoods or exhaust fans at the same time as your heater. This can create what is known as a negative pressure environment, where carbon monoxide is drawn into living spaces.
- Don’t leave your gas heater on overnight, or for extensive periods.
- Install a carbon monoxide alarm as a back-up measure.
- If your heater is very old, consider replacing it.
- Never bring portable outdoor gas appliances indoors.
Learn more about heating your home safely with gas.
How to tell if carbon monoxide is making you sick
Carbon monoxide building up inside your home can make you sick for a short time, have long-term health effects or even kill you and your family quickly.
Some of the symptoms are similar to cold symptoms, common in winter. This can make it difficult for a doctor to diagnose that you are suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning.
If you notice any of the following symptoms, they could be caused by carbon monoxide leaking from your heater.
- Feeling sick or nauseous
- People and/or pets getting sick at the same time
- Feeling unwell only when you’re at home.
Act quickly if you think your heater could be making people sick.
- Call Nurse-on-Call, see a doctor or dial 000 in an emergency
- Leave the house immediately and get into the fresh air
- Turn off all gas appliances straight away, open windows and doors to let fresh air into the house
- Do not use your heater until you’ve had it checked by a qualified gasfitter.
Finding a licensed gasfitter
Gasfitters have different types of licences depending on the work they are qualified to do.
When searching for a gasfitter, you will need to check their qualifications and areas of expertise. Contact them and ask if they are licensed for the service required. When they attend the site, ask to check their licence card and the registered classes listed on the back of the card.
Type A Gasfitters
There are two different types of gas appliances – Type A and Type B appliances.
Type A appliances include domestic and light commercial type appliances such cookers, space heaters, central heaters, water heaters, catering equipment and leisure appliances. So, when looking to service and repair your gas heater, be sure it’s done by a licensed Type A Gasfitter.
Look out for the licence/s below when choosing a gasfitter to carry out the work. Check that they are qualified to carry out Type A appliance servicing.
The Chase & Tyler Foundation
In May 2010, Vanessa and Scott Robinson lost their two boys Chase and Tyler aged 8 and 6, as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning in their Mooroopna home.
Now, each year in May, ‘Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week’ launched by the Foundation and supported by ESV aims to raise awareness of the deadly effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.
ESV continues to work with Vanessa Robinson and The Chase and Tyler Foundation to raise awareness of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from faulty gas heaters.