The dangers of gas heaters in the home

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The dangers of gas heaters in the home

There has been a lot of talk about gas heating and carbon monoxide poisoning of late

We remind tenants to make sure their gas heaters have been serviced as we come into winter. We recommend always following the operating instructions on the appliance or in the manual.

The better health channel reports the following helpful information:

Gas heaters need to be professionally installed and properly looked after by a qualified and registered service agent, or gas heating specialist. An unsafe heater can cause a house fire or pollute your home with dangerous fumes. If you have your heater regularly serviced and use it correctly, it should be safe and economical to use.

You should always:

  • Have plenty of ventilation – never seal up doorways, windows or vents. Ventilation is very important as it allows fresh air to come in and fumes to go out.
  • Prevent young children and elderly people from touching very hot surfaces. The normal dress guard only protects against accidental clothing contact.
  • Be careful when drying clothes inside – keep all flammable materials at least one metre away from the heater.

You should never:

  • use an unflued gas heater in a bathroom, bedroom or caravan. Toxic gases may cause serious health problems in these situations
  • use or store solvents, aerosols or pressure pack cans near a gas heater – even if the heater is turned off, the pilot light may still be on
  • dispose of rubbish such as tissues, cotton buds or other things in a gas fire – this can affect combustion and produce dangerous pollutants
  • use an outdoor appliance inside (this includes barbeques and patio heaters).
  • A faulty gas heater can cause serious problems. Health problems that seem to be worse, or only occur when the heating is on, may be caused by carbon monoxide from a faulty gas heater.

High levels of carbon monoxide are very dangerous and may cause people to pass out or even die. If you suspect you may be affected by carbon monoxide, open windows and doors, turn off the appliance and go outside to fresh air. See your doctor and ask whether your symptoms may be related to carbon monoxide.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • tiredness
  • shortness of breath
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • weakness
  • confusion
  • chest pain.