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Gas information sheet 59: Type A appliance service – inspecting and servicing Type A appliances

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Introduction

Ensuring a gas installation is safe is a fundamental responsibility for all gasfitters when performing inspection and servicing of Type A appliances. Ensuring you know what to do when you come across open-flue gas appliances installed in a negative pressure environment, spilling carbon monoxide, or the subject of an Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) Safety Alert, is a fundamental requirement when ensuring the gas appliance is safe upon completion of your work.

This information sheet:

  • is only intended to provide a guide to the requirements for Type A servicing and inspection work for open- flue gas appliances (for more detailed information, please refer to Type A Servicing Standard AS 4575-2005 Gas appliances – Quality of servicing)
  • outlines what action you should take when you are called to service an open flue gas appliance that is the subject of an ESV Safety Alert
  • should be read in conjunction with ESV:
    • Gas Information Sheet 57, Your Obligations Under The Gas Safety Act
    • Gas Information Sheet 58, The Quality and Adequacy of Air Supply
    • Gas Information Sheet 38, Using Carbon Monoxide Detection Equipment To Check Gas Appliances for Spillage.

Inspecting and servicing Type A appliances

When servicing any open-flue gas appliance always start by inspecting the installation.

The inspection checklist

Your inspection ‘checklist’ must include (but is not limited to) the following items:

  • Is the flue and cowl in good condition?
  • Is there adequate ventilation? (See Gas Information Sheet 58 for more information.)
  • Is the appliance installed correctly?
  • Is the appliance in good condition? Burn or scorch marks on the appliance are an indication of overheating and need to be investigated.
  • Conduct a negative pressure test (a smoke test) as per ESV’s Gas Information Sheet 38.

This test should be done when the flue is cold.

The service work checklist

Once your inspection ‘checklist’ is complete, you can commence your servicing work, which may include (but is not limited to) items from the following list:

  • Clean the fan.
  • Clean the pilot and main burner.
  • Clean all dust from the appliance.
  • Check the operation of safety switches, including thermocouples and thermostats.
  • Check the heat exchanger for metal fatigue.
  • Check the back wall of inbuilt wall furnaces for signs of heat stress. If heat stress is present, further examination of the fan and heat exchanger is warranted.
  • Conduct a visual test of all parts and replace them if they show signs of fatigue or heat damage.
  • Check and, if necessary, reset the appliance’s operating pressure.
  • Conduct a CO spillage test as per ESV’s Gas Information Sheet 38.
  • Check all joints for gas leaks. This includes pilot lights, burners, and gas controls.

What to do if an open-flued gas heater …

… is installed and negative pressure is present

If you detect negative air pressure, you have a responsibility to make the situation safe and inform your client.

Where possible, additional ventilation should be installed to insure the installation is compliant.

If this is not possible, the appliance should be checked to ensure it is not spilling CO.

… is not spilling CO but negative pressure is present and the client will not permit rectification

To help you explain the steps needed to overcome negative pressure (and the potential dangers of CO), the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) and ESV have prepared an advice letter, which you should fill in and give to your client after completing an inspection and service.

In all cases, clearing existing vents and installing additional ventilation are the recommended solutions for overcoming negative pressure. If this is not possible, check to see whether your client is happy for you to isolate their gas heater.

If your client does not want their gas heater isolated or additional ventilation installed:

  1. Hand them the advice letter and re-iterate the potential dangers of CO and the effect of negative pressure.
  2. Remind your client of the need to install additional ventilation in their home to overcome the effect of negative pressure.
  3. Inform your client that you will be notifying the VBA of the situation and that the VBA will contact them directly.
  4. Notify the VBA as soon as possible by emailing gasheaters@vba.vic.gov.au or by calling 1300 815 127 during business hours. Make sure you supply your client’s contact details, site address and heater details.

Once you have notified the VBA of your actions regarding a client’s gas heater, your job is done. The VBA will take over and work with your client to resolve their negative pressure situation.

The VBA will not take enforcement action against a registered or licensed gasfitter where it has been appropriately notified.

… CO spillage is detected

If you detect any rise in the level of CO above the background reading, you should find and eliminate the cause of the spillage. If this is not possible, or you are unable to eliminate the cause of the spillage, the gas heater must be isolated with the client’s consent. If the client does not consent, contact Energy Safe Victoria on 1800 652 563 (select option 5).

When calling ESV, please ensure you supply the following information:

  • Your name, licence number and mobile telephone number.
  • Your customer’s name, address and telephone number.
  • The type of appliance spilling CO.
  • The level of CO spillage detected (in parts per million).

An ESV inspector will contact:

  • you to obtain further information
  • your client to try to resolve the matter.

As part of the resolution, ESV:

  • may offer to carry out an additional inspection, re-iterating the dangers and consequences of CO spillage
  • will inform your client that their gas supplier must withdraw supply to the premises if the gas heater is found to be unsafe and the client still refuses to permit the appliance to be isolated.

For guidance on carrying out both a negative pressure test and a CO test, see ESV’s Information Sheet 38.

For more information about negative pressure, see ESV’s short animation (at the bottom of this page).

… the appliance is subject to an ESV Safety Alert

A series of open-flue gas space heater appliances are currently subject to ESV Safety Alerts and deeds of undertaking. If the appliance matches one of these types, check that it has not already been tested by the manufacturer, which can be identified by a sticker on the appliance.

If it has not been checked by the manufacturer, advise your customer:

  • their heater is subject to the ESV Safety Alert
  • to contact the relevant phone number or email address (listed below).

With the exception of the Heritage heaters, service the heater as normal and include a check for negative pressure and CO spillage. If there is CO spillage, the appliance must be isolated if the cause cannot be determined and rectified. In the case of the Heritage heaters, isolate the appliance and advise the customer to contact Climate Technologies or Department of Health and Human Services, as appropriate.

  • Vulcan and Pyrox Heritage supplied by Climate Technologies Pty Ltd.
    Contact Climate Technologies on (03) 8795 2462 or if public housing Department of Health and Human Services on 1800 148 426.
  • Regency i31 (manufactured from 2010) supplied by Fireplace Products Australia Pty Ltd (FPA).
    Contact FPA on 1800 860 660 or safety@regency-fire.com.au.
  • Nectre 2000 (manufactured from 2007) supplied by Glen Dimplex Australia Pty Ltd (GDA).
    Contact GDA on 1300 014 389.
  • Real Flame Pyrotech (manufactured from 2012) supplied by Glen Dimplex Australia Pty Ltd (GDA). Contact GDA on 1300 014 389 or productservice@realflame.com.au
  • Regency F38 and FG38 supplied by Fireplace Products Australia Pty Ltd (FPA) and branded and supplied by Masport prior to 2006 (excludes LP model).
    Contact FPA on 1800 860 660 or safety@regency-fire.com.au.
  • Cannon Fitzroy and Canterbury heaters (manufactured from 2001–2009) and supplied by Sampford IXL Pty Ltd and Sampford & Staff Pty Ltd.
    Contact Cannon on 1800 035 410.

Video: Understanding and testing for a negative pressure environment

ESV has developed a short animation for gas fitters explaining what a negative pressure environment is, its effect on open flue gas heaters, how to test for it and how to mitigate it.