Safer heaters in the new year

New Australian standards will make open flued gas space heaters safer from January. 168375_01

Open flued gas space heaters will be safer from January when new Australian standards are introduced to reduce the threat of potentially fatal carbon monoxide poisoning.

Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) has been advocating for carbon monoxide safety awareness around open flued gas space heaters for more than a decade.

The new requirements will come into effect on 1 January 2022 after the Victorian government identified the changes as the safest way forward in July this year.

The standards, as well as ESV’s safety alerts for several models of heaters, were prompted by the carbon monoxide-related death of Greensborough woman Sonia Sofianopoulos in 2017.

Marnie Williams, ESV commissioner and chairperson, said that it was fantastic to see these new steps being taken to ensure everyones’ safety.

“These new standards are an essential step in protecting the community against the tragedy that is carbon monoxide poisoning,” Ms Williams said.

“If you have an open flued gas space heater at home, please ensure you have it serviced by a licensed gasfitter at least once every two years.”

The new Australian standards were published last week, mandating that open flued gas space heaters and energy-efficient type two decorative effect appliances will shut down within 15 minutes in homes with inadequate ventilation.

Type two decorative effect appliances look like open flued gas space heaters, however their primary purpose is decorative and not to produce heat.

These changes prevent dangerous carbon monoxide spillage created by negative pressure, which occurs when operating bathroom exhaust fans or rangehoods in houses with little-to-no ventilation.

Once the appliance has shut down, a homeowner will need a qualified gasfitter to reset the appliance and potentially improve ventilation throughout the home.

Victorians also need to be aware that open flued gas space heaters without the shutdown mechanism, made before 1 January 2022, will continue to be available for sale.

As a result, ESV urges Victorians to have open flued gas space heaters serviced regularly.

ESV, Victoria’s independent energy safety regulator, has promoted carbon monoxide safety through its ‘Be Sure’ campaign over the past three years, urging Victorians to have open flued gas space heaters serviced by a licensed gasfitter at least once every two years.

ESV has published safety alerts for six open flued gas space heaters.

People using these heaters need to contact the supplier and get them checked by a qualified gasfitter immediately.

Testing shows that in certain circumstances these heaters produce too much carbon monoxide.

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