26 September 2023

Agency warns of invisible winter killer

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The WA Director of Energy Safety hopes residents can stay safe and warm this winter by having their gas heaters serviced and being aware of carbon monoxide risks.

Saj Abdoolakhan said gas appliances should be serviced by a licensed gas fitter at least every two years, or annually if the equipment was more than 10 years old.

“If a gas appliance is faulty or used in an area without enough ventilation, it can cause carbon monoxide to build up, with serious and even fatal consequences,” Mr Abdoolakhan said.

“Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas known as the silent killer because it is invisible, odourless and tasteless.”

He said anyone with a gas heater which had not been serviced for two years, or if it was showing signs such as discolouration or difficulty relighting, should contact a licensed gas fitter.

“The gas fitter can check for issues such as blockages, overheating or burner problems that can produce carbon monoxide. They can also look at whether a room has adequate ventilation,” Mr Abdoolakhan said.

“A room with a bayonet socket for a gas space heater should have two permanent and unobstructed ventilation openings — one close to the floor, the other close to the ceiling.”

He said householders should also avoid using exhaust fans at the same time as an open-flued gas heater because this could draw carbon monoxide into living spaces.

“Outdoor and portable gas appliances, such as patio heaters and camping equipment, should never be used indoors and should also be regularly serviced,” Mr Abdoolakhan said.

“Users of gas equipment should look out for warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, which range from flu-like symptoms (such as headaches, fatigue and nausea) through to heart irregularities, vomiting, seizures and collapse.”

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