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Gas Heaters And Your Health

An experienced and certified gasfitter must professionally install and service your gas heaters. A faulty gas heating system might cause a fire or emit deadly chemicals such as carbon monoxide into your home. Have your gas heater checked for issues at least every two years by a trained gasfitter to keep your family safe.

A defective gas appliance might be dangerous to your health. Carbon monoxide from a faulty gas heater could be causing health issues that seem to get worse or only happen when the gas heating is on. So, are gas heaters safe? In this article, you are going to uncover safety alerts and measures that might arise when using a gas heater to either warm your house or your business premises.

Buying A Gas Heater? Consider These Factors

To begin, make sure that the area where you wish to put a gas heater has a gas outlet. If not, call a professional gas fitter or rather a gas plumber; as this is not a DIY scenario. If you're getting a gas line put in, think about where you want it to go. It's easy to prioritise money and then choose a location adjacent to a pre-existing gas line, but you should consider where you need to heat, the safest area for the heater, and the price of piping a new gas line.

Also, if you do have an unflued furnace, it's critical to keep it in a well-ventilated area so that fumes can escape and fresh air can enter. Carbon monoxide may quickly build up inside a home if outside heaters are used inside.

Gas Heating System Choice

When you're ready to shop, you'll have to decide whether you want a flued furnace or one that is an unflued gas heater - that is, one that releases pollutants into the home. In most cases, a flued heater is preferable, although this isn't always practicable, and some well-ventilated environments may benefit from an unflued unit.

Ensure the heater you choose has an electric ignition, and think about getting one that shuts off automatically if it detects a lack of fresh air. At the very least, make sure the heater has been approved by the Australian Gas Association and has been tested to the most recent requirements.

If you're still not sure, the AGA website has a product directory that lists all certified models. It's also more energy-efficient to choose a unit that fits the size of your space you want to heat - a specialised gas merchant can help with this, so bring measurements with you when you go shopping.

Regular Gas Heater Service

All gas heaters must be maintained and checked for carbon monoxide leakage at least every two years by a licensed gasfitter. Every central heating system systematics, wall unit, and gas log fire fall under this category. If you rent your house, the landlord must have a licensed or certified gas fitter complete a gas safety inspection among all gas installations plus fittings every two years.

At the renter's request, they must also submit the time of the recent safety inspection in writing. Use only a professional gas fitter who has received training in detecting and repairing carbon monoxide leaks. Before you schedule an appointment, make sure to inquire if your gas fitter has the proper equipment and has finished all necessary training.

This is important as poorly performing, or malfunctioning gas appliances maintained by untrained individuals can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be dangerous to your health and even cause death. Professional cleaning, including flue or chimney inspection, is suggested. If any of the following listed scenarios apply to your heater, it should be serviced:

  • It has been two years since it has been serviced
  • A yellow, sooty flame can be seen
  • When lighting, the pilot light burns out unexpectedly, or 'pops' or 'bangs'
  • While your heater is on, its walls get too hot to touch
  • Around the heater, there are soot stains

Using Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Consider purchasing a carbon monoxide alarm that is audible. CO alarms are a valuable backup precaution, but you should not use them in place of competent gas heating equipment installation and maintenance. In Australia, no standard addresses the design, manufacture, installation, or maintenance of CO alarms for residential use.

As a result, a CO alarm should be certified to fulfil European (EN50291) or American (UL2034) standards. CO alarm manufacturers recommend installing CO alarms in or near every room with gas heating equipment. When choosing a location for the alarm, make sure it can be heard from all sleeping regions.

If you're looking for CO alarms, look for ones that provide both visible and auditory alerts when the electrochemical sensor cell expires. People who are more vulnerable to air contaminants, such as carbon monoxide, include:

  • Pregnant women plus their unborn children
  • Persons over 65 years of age who suffer from chronic ailments like heart diseases and respiratory diseases such as asthma

Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause the following symptoms:

  • Tiredness
  • Breathing problems
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness/nausea/weakness
  • Confusion
  • Discomfort in the chest

Avoid These Hazardous Space Heater Mistakes

Several families depend on gas space heaters to keep warm in the winter as the temperatures plummet outside. While gas heaters can give comforting warmth in the cold winter months, they can also be harmful if misused. If you do opt to use space heaters to heat your house, experts advise that you follow specific gas heater tips to prevent making a potentially disastrous mistake. Here are some of them:

Ensure proper working order

The first and most crucial step is to ensure that your heater is still operational and all components are correctly connected. Ensure the gas bottle is securely fastened, that the pipelines are free of leaks and that the regulator is in good working order. During use, keep an eye out for warning indicators of malfunction.

Utilise the right heater

Use caution when using outside gas heaters indoors! This will expose your family to the carbon monoxide they produce, making them disoriented, breathless, and suffering from headaches or otherwise flu-like symptoms, not to mention the increased risk of fire. Never run hoses or power lines through entrances to avoid mishaps.

Light it on and off safely

While using the gas heater, make sure it's adequately lit by turning on the lighter first, then the gas. When turning it off, always turn off the gas at the cylinder first, not at the heater's on/off button. If others use it in your family while you're away, be sure that they understand how to use it properly. Remember that you should never remove its regulator while the heater is still running.

Use in well-ventilated settings

Open a window now and then to allow the carbon monoxide to escape and the oxygen to enter. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal if you are exposed to it for an extended period.

Do not move the heater while on

This is a dangerous move that could lead to a gas leak or an explosion. Instead, switch off the heater and allow for it to cool before moving it.

Maintain a safe distance

You want to retain your distance – a metre, to be precise – as appealing as the warmth seems. When your gas heater is on, don't keep or use flammable materials near it. To avoid burns, keep your kids and animals away from the heaters.

Your gas heater is not a dryer

We've all done it or at the very least considered it, but using your gas heater to dry clothing is not a good idea. Avoid putting anything on top of your gas heater which will hide it or hinder ventilation, perhaps causing a fire.

Gas Heater Replacement Or Repair Signs

Nothing is more frustrating than having your gas furnace break down in winter. Few furnaces go out after a few years; most give you warning signs that danger is on the way. As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to recognise these warning signs and take some action. The following are gas heater safety warning indicators that mean your heating system needs a repair or replacement:

Increasing Utility Bills

Utility corporations aren't the only ones to blame for rising monthly expenses. When a furnace isn't running at full capacity, it uses more energy. The furnace may only require maintenance, but rising utility prices may indicate that the equipment is nearing the end of its useful life.

Accumulated Dust

When a furnace fails, it generally produces more dust since it can no longer clean the air properly. If you detect a lot of dust, the very first thing you need to do is clean or change your filters. If that doesn't work, schedule an inspection with a technician.

Frequent Repairs

You could buy a high-end furnace and have it inspected every year; however, all equipment eventually succumbs to wear and tear. A contemporary gas furnace should last for at least around 15-20 years.

Anything more than that is a gamble you may come to regret later. An increase in the number of fixes in the last two to three years is a solid sign that it's time to start looking for a new gas heater.

Strange Sounds

Your gas heater can give you auditory warning indications, just like your car does when anything is wrong. It's not a good indicator if the unit makes sounds you've never heard before. Anything from loosened screws to a malfunctioning blower fan motor can cause these noises. To find out, contact a professional.

Strange Odours

We're all familiar with the dreadful "rotten egg" odour that is applied to natural gas to act as a safety measure. If you detect it in your house, you may be dealing with a significant problem, as it could indicate a gas leak. Call your gas company and get out of your home right away.

Uneven Heat Distribution

Is it possible that certain rooms are colder than others? When a furnace fails, the efficiency of its heat distribution degrades. This not only makes the house less comfy, but it could also be an indication of larger issues.

Carbon Monoxide Presence

A blue flame indicates a correctly running gas furnace; if your gas flame is yellow, it's nearly always a sign that your unit creates too much carbon monoxide (CO). Rust on pipe connections, wetness on adjoining surfaces, no updraft inside the chimney, condensation dripping from your chimney base, and soot streaking are all indicators to look out for.

Flued And Unflued Gas Heaters

When deciding between flued and unflued gas heaters, consider all of the factors, such as aesthetics, gas variety, energy efficiency, heat production, cost, and combustion systems.

Unflued Gas Heater

Let's start with gas heaters that aren't flued. Unflued gas heaters use gas to generate heat but lack a flue to vent exhaust gases outside the home. Another sort of unflued heater is an outdoor, patio, or alfresco heater, that should never be used indoors. You can also obtain unflued gas heaters that are fixed or built-in.

Large, freestanding unflued gas burners can be hooked into a gas outlet or used with an LPG fuel tank. Unflued ethanol fireplaces are also available. Because it's an unflued gas heater, it relies on the oxygen inside the room for burning and vents exhaust gas into the room through the front of the heater.

The bulk of unflued gas heaters is mostly unattractive whenever it comes to appearances. Some are huge metal appliances with metal grills that are large and cumbersome. Although certain unflued gas burners are more attractive than others, they are more expensive and better suited to big open areas, such as pubs and restaurants.

Air pollution is a serious worry when it comes to utilising unflued gas heaters. They can emit nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide as a result of burning, both of which are harmful to your health. Indirect impacts such as water vapour, which promotes the formation of mould and dust mites, are another risk connected with gas burners.

Flued Gas Heaters

Flued gas fireplaces use gas to generate heat, but the exhaust gases are carried out from the fireplace via a flue. There are open-faced and glass-faced flued gas heaters available. Natural gas and LPG are both used in flued gas fireplaces. A licensed gas fitter must properly install LPG tanks for your gas burners.

The air from the room is used for burning, and the exhaust gases are carried out via open-faced flued gas fireplaces. While modern fireplaces reduce the number of exhaust gases released into the area, there is still a gas exchange between both the exhaust gases and the air in the room.

A specific form of flue in glass-faced flued gas heaters pulls air in from outside the home for burning. As such, there is no interaction between the exhaust gases and your room air in this arrangement. Direct Vent and the Powered Direct Vent are the two types of flues available. Regarding exhaust exposure, flued gas burners – including open-faced and glass-fronted, are far safer gas fireplaces.

However, if you want the healthiest alternative, a glass-faced fireplace is the best choice. Flued gas fireplaces with an open front are likewise less efficient than those with a closed front. If you choose a glass-fronted gas heater, you will save money on your utility bill and help the environment.

Is It Better To Use Gas Or Electric Heaters?

In the same period, gas heaters create more heat than electric heaters. A gas heater has a lower operating cost than an electric heater since gas is often less expensive. Electric heaters are only cost-effective when a small space needs to be heated at a low temperature. Electrical safety in electrical space heaters is also a very debatable issue, with some people arguing that it is more prone to short circuits.

Safety Is Very Important

Modern gas heaters are safe when compared to most electric heaters, and they are designed to strict safety specifications. Your gas heater can catch fire or even explode, but it's quite unusual. You can't see it, and you can't smell it; however, toxic carbon monoxide could well be leaking into your home while the gas heater is on.

Unmaintained gas heaters can leak carbon monoxide (CO), a colourless and odourless gas that can make you sick or kill you. If this is the case, contact a professional gas fitter or gas heater safety inspector as soon as possible to resolve the issue.


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