Older gas heaters must be CHECKED ANNUALLY
ASK THE EXPERT
Question 1: Can you explain to me in simple terms the risks of gas heaters and carbon monoxide poisoning?
Answer: Sure. Let’s look at this dangerous case our Sharpe Technicians dealt with recently. The occupant was concerned about getting a headache after running the wall gas heater for an hour or so. We tested the unit’s carbon monoxide output – levels were between 176ppm (parts per million) & 221ppm. Readings over 30ppm can put you at risk. Levels around 200ppm send you into the danger zone and create early CO warning signs of dizziness, drowsiness, headaches and flu-like symptoms. At 400ppm, the situation can become life-threatening after just three hours.
Q2: How does carbon-monoxide poison?
A: This invisible gas rapidly accumulates in the blood stream, depleting its ability to carry oxygen to vital organs. It’s a bit like suffocation. Long-term exposure at even lower levels can result in brain damage and other chronic health issues.
Q3: So how did this job pan out?
A: We quickly decommissioned this leaky old gas heater & quoted for a changeover latest model instant gas wall heater. The lesson learnt here is that regular service & checks are crucial for household safety. We’re not just talking about heaters, cooktops & ovens can also present risks. If you have any doubts about your appliances call a licenced qualified Sharpe expert.
Q4: Any final advice?
A: We believe all households with gas appliances need a quality carbon-monoxide alarm. We will supply & install one with a five-year warranty from $245.
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A Carbon Monoxide Meter Tester detected high levels of CO and had to be shut down and sealed off.
Signs and Symptoms: Gas Leak Risks
- Are your gas-powered appliances, heating or hot water service old?
- Were they serviced a long time ago?
- Have they been performing intermittently?
- Any of your gas appliances installed by an unlicensed tradesman?
Q: What are the indications my appliance could produce carbon monoxide?
A: Carbon Monoxide is deadly because you can’t see or smell it, although there are signs that you may be at risk. If you notice black marks or discolouration on your gas appliance or flue, call a licensed gas technician immediately.
If the flames are no longer blue or are excessively large, this means there is incomplete combustion and a high chance of carbon monoxide. Dust or debris around the flue pipe is also a warning sign of blockages.
Increased Heating equals Increased Danger
Any gas appliance can put you at risk of Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Every year in Australia, 364 people are hospitalised due to dangerous exposure to Carbon Monoxide. South Australia already has more per capita deaths from the gas than any state.
Just because your heater is flued, doesn’t mean you’re protected. The tragic deaths of Tyler & Chase Robinson happened as a result of a flued but faulty gas heater. The Foundation named after the boys to promote awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide has stated the best thing you can do to protect you and your family is to have your gas systems regularly serviced and tested by a licensed gas fitter.
Worrying Gas Safety Risks
Out of the 960 gas installations audited by the Office of the Technical Regulator, 66 received warnings about significant compliance issues or dangerous work. Considering that an estimated 79,000 residential and light commercial gas installation jobs were completed in Adelaide last year, hundreds could have significant safety issues.
You should always ensure you use a professional gas fitter, with an up-to-date licence and insist they provide you with a Certificate of Compliance with every job.
Heating & Hot Water Service
A Heating & Hot Water Service and Inspection will help you avoid safety issues, and ensure the systems are heating efficiently
A Sharpe Technician will:
- Conduct electronic leak test on unit
- Inspect, clean & check pilot’s condition
- Inspect, clean & check main burner’s condition
- Inspect, clean & check heat exchanger condition (combustion chamber)
- Check gas valve’s operation
- Run and test unit’s operation
- Check fan(s) operation
- Check integrity of Ductwork/Installation
- Check operation of damper motors
- Check electronic components & zone controls