26 September 2023

Gas heaters banned to save family lives

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Select open-flued gas heaters are now banned across the State following action by Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) to protect people from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Enacting the sales ban on Monday (1 August), ESV said the ban, covering sale and supply of new or second-hand heaters, applied to certain types of open-flued gas space heaters that lacked specific safety features.

ESV said any open-flued gas space heater sold or installed in Victoria must automatically shut down if it started spilling carbon monoxide in a negative pressure environment

“Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause serious health issues and death,” ESV said.

“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,” it said.

“Inadequate ventilation and use of exhaust fans can draw carbon monoxide (and other exhaust gases) back into living areas.”

ESV said open-flued gas space heaters without safety shutdown features were incompatible with modern housing which was generally better insulated and therefore had less ventilation.

Following the ban, Consumer Affairs Victoria issued advice for people who’d recently purchased a banned heater, saying they could not arrange for it to be installed, as gasfitters were no longer permitted to complete the work.

It advised consumers to contact their retailer or installer to see whether they could obtain a refund, or contact Consumer Affairs directly if they couldn’t reach an agreement.

The Regulator said Victorians who already had one of the newly-banned heaters installed did not need to remove them, “but you should make sure it is inspected every two years by a licensed gasfitter.”

“Ensure there is adequate ventilation in your property and avoid having exhaust fans, such as a kitchen rangehood or bathroom fan, running while your heater is on,” Consumer Affairs said.

It advised renters living with the heaters that their rental provider must ensure a safety check was carried out every two years, by a licensed or registered gasfitter qualified to perform the work.

“Carbon monoxide alarms may be a cost effective way to help detect a leak if you have one of these heaters installed in your home,” Consumer Affairs said.

“However, they should never replace regular servicing.”

Further information on open-flued gas heaters can be accessed at this PS News link.

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