26 September 2023

Hidden danger heating up for households

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The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) has issued a warning on the various, life-threatening dangers household heaters can pose when misused or neglected.

Executive Director of Regulatory Operations at the VBA, Lynda McAlary-Smith said Victorians should keep flammable objects away from heaters at all times and have gas heaters serviced to stay safe this winter.

“The best way to make sure your heater or any gas appliance is safe is to have it serviced at least once every two years by a specialised plumber called a gasfitter, who is registered or licensed in Type A gas appliance servicing work,” Ms McAlary-Smith said.

“As well as the risk of fire, carbon monoxide poisoning is another potential danger posed by gas heaters that are not regularly serviced,” she said.

“It is also important for wood fired heaters and chimneys to be serviced regularly by a registered or licensed plumbing practitioner to ensure that homes are safe.”

Ms McAlary-Smith said hiring a professional with the right qualifications and skill set was important to ensure heaters were serviced correctly.

She said that when booking service work, consumers should ask the gasfitter about their qualifications and check the back of their ID card to make sure they were licensed or registered in Type A appliance servicing work.

“Anyone not sure if they are engaging the right type of gasfitter to undertake this work can check their type of licence or registration on the VBA’s Find a practitioner tool,” she said.

The Executive Director said as part of servicing a gas appliance, gasfitters would test for carbon monoxide spillage and negative pressure, two of the key risks for carbon monoxide poisoning.

“If the gasfitter identifies carbon monoxide spillage, it must be rectified immediately as exposure can put lives at risk,” Ms McAlary-Smith said.

The VBA’s Find a practitioner tool can be accessed at this PS News link.

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