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ESV prohibits the sale of open flued gas space heaters that don’t meet safety standards

28-07-2022

Energy Safe Victoria will prohibit the sale of certain types of open flued gas space heaters that do not meet safety standards.

From Monday 1 August 2022, any open flued gas space heater sold or installed in Victoria must automatically shut down if it starts spilling carbon monoxide in a negative pressure environment.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause serious health issues and death. Open flued gas space heaters draw air from the room in which they are installed to feed the fire and direct combustion products outside via a flue or chimney. Inadequate ventilation and use of exhaust fans can draw carbon monoxide (and other exhaust gases) back into living areas.

Open flued gas space heaters without safety shutdown features are incompatible with modern housing which is generally better insulated to reduce the need for heating and cooling and therefore has less ventilation. The Victorian Coroner recommended the phase out of these heaters as part of her findings following the inquest into the death of Greensborough grandmother Sonia Sofianopolous in 2017.

In collaboration with the Victorian Government and other agencies, ESV has done a significant amount of work to raise awareness among Victorians of the risks associated with open flued gas space heaters, and the need to get them serviced by a licensed gasfitter at least once every two years.

Working with the Victorian Building Authority and Master Plumbers, ESV has delivered an education program to gasfitters to ensure they understand their obligations when it comes to servicing these appliances. ESV has also led a cross-government statewide awareness advertising campaign over the last five years.

An understanding was in place with suppliers and manufacturers of open flued gas space heaters to remove them from the market and sale to the public by 30 June 2022 unless they were designed to automatically shut down when adversely affected by a negative pressure environment. As the deadline was not met and in the interests of community safety, ESV is using its regulatory powers under the Gas Safety Act to prohibit the sale of open flued gas space heaters that do not have the automatic shutdown safety capability.

From Monday 1 August it will be illegal to sell or supply the heaters that do not meet the new safety standards. This includes second-hand heaters. This move will ensure the eventual phase out of this particular type of open flued gas space heater.

ESV will ensure compliance with the prohibition through monitoring online sales of new and second-hand heaters, audits of manufacturing facilities and warehouses and inspections at retail outlets.

Victorians with open flued gas space heaters already installed should ensure their heater is serviced at least once every two years by a licensed gasfitter. ESV also recommends that people do not operate exhaust fans such as a kitchen rangehood or bathroom fan while their heater is on, and have adequate ventilation.

More information

Consumers and community: FAQs for consumers

Gasfitters: FAQs for industry and gasfitters

 

ESV Commission Chair Marnie Williams

“ESV has taken this action in the interests of community safety. The dangers of carbon monoxide leaking from open flued gas space heaters are well established and well known. These heaters are old technology and pose an unacceptable safety risk, so we have prohibited their sale.

“Manufacturers and suppliers have raised objections to this action and we have given them fair hearing and consideration. Industry has been given time to adapt their supply lines to include the shutdown safety capability. It is time to draw a line in the sand and prohibit these heaters from sale to ensure their eventual phase out.”

“Everyone with an open flued gas heater already installed should ensure they get it serviced at least once every two years by a qualified gasfitter. I’d also encourage people to replace their heater when possible. There are many alternative heating options that are cost effective and more efficient.”

Media contact:

Adrian Bernecich 0437 729 194 | adrian.bernecich@energysafe.vic.gov.au

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