Are Gas Heaters Safe?
There is nothing like coming home on a cold winter day, putting up your feet and turning on the trusty old heater. However, unsafe gas room heaters can swamp your home with dangerous carbon monoxide or even cause house fires. To protect your family, gas room heaters must be professionally installed and maintained by qualified a gas-fitter.
What Health Issues Are Caused by Faulty Gas Heaters?
Faulty gas heaters may result in some serious health issues and any conditions that get worse only when heating is on could be caused by carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a colourless and odourless gas and high levels could make you pass out or be fatal. Certain groups of people including children, pregnant women and older people are at greatest risk. Additionally, those with chronic illnesses such as heart and lung disease can be negatively affected.
Some carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms are:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
If you experience any of these symptoms when your gas heater is turned on, immediately open all windows and doors, turn off the heater and get outside for some fresh air.
Why is Regular Gas Heater Servicing Essential?
Every gas heater must be serviced at least once every two years by a licensed gas-fitter who will test for carbon monoxide spillage. This rule applies equally to all central heating units, space heaters, wall units and gas log fires.
You should immediately have your gas heater serviced if any of the following apply:
- You have not serviced it for two years
- The flame is yellow or sooty
- The pilot light unexpectedly extinguishes unexpectedly, pops or bangs upon ignition
- Discoloration of the walls or heater panels from heat damage
- The heater walls become too hot to touch when on
- The heater has soot stains on it
- Immediately if there is any sign of trouble.
Should you Consider Installing Carbon Monoxide Alarms?
Carbon monoxide alarms are a helpful precaution but they are not substitutes for proper installation and maintenance of gas heating appliances. Carbon monoxide alarms should be installed in every room containing heaters but make sure the alarms can be heard from all bedrooms.
How do you use a Gas Heater Safely?
You should always read the instruction manual for your gas heater. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to reduce gas heater use and chose a safer alternative. However, when heating with a gas appliance, it’s important to follow the following guidelines:
- Ventilate your room well as this allows fumes to exit and fresh air to enter
- Try not to run exhaust fans in the bathroom and kitchen if you have an un-flued or open-flued gas heater since this causes carbon monoxide to return to the room
- When your heater is off, give it a good clean to remove dust from duct registers and cold air return vents
- Be aware of children near heater as the standard guards may not prevent burns to the skin
- Be extremely careful if you are drying washing inside and make sure to position flammable materials over 1 metre from your heater
- Leave a gas heater running overnight when you are sleeping
- Turn on an un-flued gas heater in a bathroom, bedroom or caravan
- Use or keep aerosols near a gas heater – even when the heater is turned off as the pilot may still be on
- Dispose of tissues or cotton buds etc. in a gas fire
Have you had your Gas Heater Serviced Lately?
Silverwater Plumbing are Sydney’s qualified and licensed professional gas-fitters of choice. Our plumbers have years of industry experience and tertiary qualifications to ensure safe gas handling. We have undergone expert training in detecting and correcting carbon monoxide spillage and possess all the tools of the trade to ensure we complete your job quickly with minimal fuss to your daily life.
If you have not had your gas heater serviced recently you may have dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide. Please call Silverwater Plumbing immediately for an inspection to protect the health of yourself and your family.