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Open flued gas heaters and safety shutdown features

As of Monday 1 August 2022 certain open flued gas space heaters can no longer be sold or installed unless they meet new safety standards throughout Victoria. This affects any open flued gas space heater that does not shut down automatically when they spill combustion products. Refer to the Victorian Government Gazette links below for detailed information. For more information we have developed technical FAQs for gasfitters below, as well as consumer FAQs for your customers. More detailed information about accepted (certified) OFGSHs can be found on the GTRC website.

Background

Amendments introduced to Australian Standards AS/NZS5263.1.3 and AS/NZS5263.1.8 on 12 November 2021, require that OFGSHs and open flued Type 2 decorative effect gas appliances that comply with the thermal efficiency requirements of an OFGSH (Type 2 Appliances), shut down automatically if they spill combustion products for more than 15 minutes where there is a continuous negative pressure environment. The amendments apply to all new OFGSHs and Type 2 Appliances that meet thermal efficiency requirements manufactured from 1 January 2022. ESV is using its regulatory powers under section 76 the Gas Safety Act 1997 to prohibit the sale of OFGSHs that do not have the automatic shutdown safety capability. As of 1 August 2022 OFGSHs, (including second-hand OFGSHs), that do not have the automatic shutdown safety capability will be prohibited from sale in Victoria.

OFGSHs will also be non-accepted

In addition, ESV is also using its regulatory powers under section 69A the Gas Safety Act 1997 to declare OFGSHs that are not already installed and that do not have the automatic shutdown safety capability to be a non-accepted (uncertified) class of appliance. Therefore as of Monday 1 August 2022 OFGSHs that are not already installed and that do not have the automatic shutdown safety capability are considered uncertified.

Reasons for the Declaration Decision

ESV assessed risks posed by old open flued gas space heaters. These are gas appliances that lack modern safety features. In assessing these risks, ESV regarded the death of Ms Sonia Sofianopoulos in July 2017. ESV also regarded the deaths of Chase and Tyler Robinson in May 2010. ESV determined open flued gas space heaters were unsafe if they lacked the following features:
  • A fan-assisted combustion system, where the burner only operates while the fan functions.
  • A fail-safe interlock that will shut down within 15 minutes if spillage occurs. This shutdown will apply under any negative pressure condition.
  • An inability to be automatically reset if shut down. That means the appliance requires the use of a tool for access to reset the appliance manually.
  • The carbon monoxide/carbon dioxide ratio of combustion products does not exceed 0⋅02 after 10 minutes operation under any operating conditions.
  • Concentration of CO in the combustion products does not exceed 90 ppm when the fail-safe interlock is tested in a test room under negative pressure conditions.
ESV determined that open flued gas space heaters lacking the above features are unsafe to use – or likely to become unsafe to use – for the following reasons:
  • They are susceptible to the effects of negative pressure.
  • Airflow through the flue could become restricted or even reversed. They may also produce high levels of CO if the supply of fresh air is deficient. This CO could then be drawn into the building.
  • These appliances are used for long periods of time. Dangerous levels of CO can build up in a negative pressure environment due to this.
  • CO inhalation can result in poisoning and death.
  • Modern homes are more energy efficient. Air extraction systems such as bathroom exhaust fans and kitchen rangehoods are becoming more powerful. As a result, there is an increased risk of negative pressure environments in new housing stock.
 

What are the penalties?

It will be an offence under section 70 of the Gas Safety Act 1997 for a gasfitter to install this class of appliance. The penalty for committing this offence is in the case of an individual, 40 penalty units and in the case of a body corporate, 200 penalty units. It will also be an offence under section 71 of the Gas Safety Act 1997 to supply or sell an unaccepted OFGSH. The penalty for committing this offence is also in the case of an individual, 40 penalty units and in the case of a body corporate, 200 penalty units (as of 1 July 2022 the value of a penalty unit is $184.92).

OFGSH that are already installed will not be affected by the declaration of non-acceptance. However, they cannot be reinstalled or reused if removed from their original installation location.

You may service or repair an existing installed OFGSH even if you are required to disconnect and reconnect the appliance in its original location as part of the servicing or repair.

No you cannot install an OFGSH that is no longer accepted. As of 1 August 2022 you can only install OFGSH that meet the new safety standards. You can confirm if the appliance is accepted (certified) by visiting the Gas Technical Regulators Committee (GTRC) web site

http://www.gtrc.gov.au/resources/New-Open-Flued-Heater-and-Decorative-Appliance-Requirements.pdf

It is an offence under section 70 of the Gas Safety Act 1997 for a gasfitter to install OFGSH that is not on the list of accepted appliance.

No you cannot install a second hand OFGSH that is no longer accepted. As of 1 August 2022 you can only install OFGSH that meet the new safety standards. You can confirm if the appliance is accepted (certified) by visiting the Gas Technical Regulators Committee (GTRC) web site

http://www.gtrc.gov.au/resources/New-Open-Flued-Heater-and-Decorative-Appliance-Requirements.pdf

It is an offence under section 70 of the Gas Safety Act 1997 for a gasfitter to install OFGSH that is not on the list of accepted appliance.

No the manufacturer cannot install (change over under warranty) an OFGSH that is no longer accepted (certified). As of 1 August 2022 you can only install OFGSH that meet the new safety standards. You can confirm if the appliance is accepted (certified) by visiting the Gas Technical Regulators Committee (GTRC) web site

http://www.gtrc.gov.au/resources/New-Open-Flued-Heater-and-Decorative-Appliance-Requirements.pdf

It is an offence under section 70 of the Gas Safety Act 1997 for a gasfitter to install OFGSH that is not on the list of accepted appliance.

The consumer may be entitled to refund or replacement with an accepted (certified) OFGSH.

Support in seeking a resolution may be available from Consumer regulatory authorities such as Consumer Affairs Victoria or the ACCC.

 

Support in seeking a resolution may be available from Consumer regulatory authorities such as Consumer Affairs Victoria.

Find out more from the  Consumer Affairs Victoria alert about open flued gas space heaters.

 

After the date on which the prohibition of sale and supply comes into effect (1 August 2022), it is an offence under the Gas Safety Act 1997 to sell or supply an uncertified appliance.

Report the matter to ESV via https://esv.vic.gov.au/about-esv/contact-us/make-complaint-or-report-safety-concern/ or complaints@energysafe.vic.gov.au

No you cannot install (relocate) an existing OFGSH that is no longer accepted (certified). As of 1 August 2022 you can only install OFGSH that meet the new safety standards. You can confirm if the appliance is accepted (certified) by visiting the Gas Technical Regulators Committee (GTRC) web site

http://www.gtrc.gov.au/resources/New-Open-Flued-Heater-and-Decorative-Appliance-Requirements.pdf

It is an offence under section 70 of the Gas Safety Act 1997 for a gasfitter to install OFGSH that is not on the list of accepted appliance.