Don’t wait for winter. Check your gas heaters immediately!
This is the message Energy Safe Victoria has just issued to all Victorians using certain gas heaters. And it comes after lab tests confirm at least two models are emitting potentially deadly amounts of carbon monoxide into our homes.
The gas heater safety warning applies to all Victorian residents currently using Vulcan Heritage or Pyrox Heritage gas space heaters in their homes. However, ALL Australian residents with either Vulcan Heritage and Pyrox Heritage space heaters need to be aware of the recall and potential risks.
“Open flue heaters like the Pyrox and Vulcan Heritage space heaters are old technology and are not necessarily designed to operate in better-sealed, newer houses that may have less ventilation. In most older houses, carbon monoxide can simply escape via the heater’s flue or chimney,” ESV explains.
“Laboratory tests show that open flue heaters such as the Heritage may, under certain operating conditions, produce too much carbon monoxide if they are not properly installed and maintained.”
Vulcan Heritage and Pyrox Heritage space heaters were first manufactured in 1977 and exist in many of the older style homes across the country. Since the gas heater safety warning, the manufacturer has withdrawn all Vulcan Heritage or Pyrox Heritage space heaters from sale and has stopped making them.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal
The biggest issue with older gas heaters is the increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Several people have died due to carbon monoxide poisoning from faulty gas heaters in the past. Just last year a 62-year-old Melbourne women died from the deadly gas after using a Vulcan heater.
In 2010, Mooroopna brothers Chase and Tyler Robinson, aged 8 and 6, also died from carbon monoxide poisoning from a gas heater in their rented home, while their mother Vanessa fell seriously ill.
Other common products that can emit carbon monoxide when you use them include barbeques and fireplaces that use wood, charcoal or gas, portable cookers and outdoor heaters that use gas or kerosene and electrical generators.
Signs of carbon monoxide heater poisoning
Your home may be emitting carbon monoxide without you even realising it. This is because we often cannot detect the present of the gas. Symptoms of poisoning can include:
- dizziness or weakness
- loss of memory
In severe cases, carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to long-term and/or irreversible health effects including heart disease and brain damage.
Gas heater safety warning – what should you do?
- If you have one of these heaters, switch it off and use alternative heating methods. Don’t use it until it can be tested by a qualified gas fitter.
- Contact the manufacturer, Climate Technologies on (03) 8795 2462 immediately to arrange a ventilation test. Climate Technologies will rebate all residents $150 towards the cost of the test. For those in public housing, phone DHHS on 1800 148 426 for more information.
In other states
- Contact your gas service provider to determine if your heater is at risk.
Gas heater safety checklist
Regardless of where you live or what model of heater, all Australians should be vigilant in getting their gas heaters checked before winter.
Schedule an appointment to have your heater checked if:
- it has not been serviced for two years
- there is a yellow or sooty flame (unless it is a decorative gas log fire)
- the pilot light goes out unexpectedly, or ‘pops’ or ‘bangs’ when lighting
- there are signs of heat damage such as discoloration of the walls or heater panels
- the walls become too hot to touch while the heater is on
- there are soot stains around the heater