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Beware carbon monoxide – A silent killer

Do you use a gas heater?

Gas heaters can be deadly if not maintained properly.

If gas heaters are faulty or poorly maintained they can leak carbon monoxide (CO). CO is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas resulting from the incomplete combustion of hydrocarbon fuels.

Carbon monoxide spillage can be lethal. It can cause death or chronic illness.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen in any home or building with gas heating appliances, including newer ones.

Dirty, old and unserviced heaters operating in a sealed environment will increase the risk of carbon monoxide spillage and smaller, poorly ventilated dwellings are at a greater risk.

What you need to know

As winter approaches, it is crucial to understand the importance of servicing your gas appliances, the risks around carbon monoxide and the difference between open flue and room sealed heaters.

Find more information and tips on Heating your home with gas.

How CO poisoning devastated one Victorian family

In May 2010, Vanessa and Scott Robinson lost their two boys Chase and Tyler aged 8 and 10, as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning in their Mooroopna home.

Now, each year in May, ‘Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week’ launched by the Foundation and supported by ESV’s Cold Feet campaign aims to raise awareness of the deadly affects of carbon monoxide poisoning.

ESV continues to work with Vanessa Robinson and The Chase and Tyler Foundation to raise awareness of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from faulty gas heaters.

Vanessa Robinson and ESV

Vanessa recently sat with ESV to discuss the dangers around carbon monoxide, what you can do to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and working with Energy Safe Victoria. Watch the full video below.

Short clips of Vanessa’s video are also available to share on our YouTube channel.

  • About carbon monoxide – Vanessa discusses the dangers of CO, what you need to know and working with Energy Safe Victoria.
  • Outdoor gas appliances – it is NEVER safe to bring outdoor gas appliances indoors. Know the risks.
  • How can you reduce the risk? – Vanessa shares her tips on how you can reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in your home.
  • Vanessa’s story – Vanessa recounts the last night she spent with her two sons, Chase and Tyler.

Get a gasfitter to check your heater

All types of gas heaters should be serviced a minimum of every two years by a registered gasfitter and tested for CO spillage.

Keep your family safe this winter by arranging a gas heater service today with a qualified gasfitter. Before you book, ask the gasfitter if they have the right equipment to test for carbon monoxide leakage. Only use a registered or licensed gas fitter who has completed the Master Plumbers CO training course.

Open-flued heaters are the most vulnerable type of heaters but all heaters must be serviced. This includes all central heating units, wall units, space heaters and gas log fires.

If you have an open-flued gas heater, it is imperative you have it serviced as soon as possible and at the next opportunity, replace it with a closed or room seal gas heater or split system. ESV has issued a safety alert on Vulcan Heritage / Pyrox Heritage gas space heaters or read more below.

If you are not sure if your heater is open-flued, contact the manufacturer or check with the person who services your heater.

Plumbers and gasfitters can be found on the VBA’s website, by Googling and many advertise in local papers.

For more information, click here to download a brochure.

 

Don’t get cold feet this winter

Our ‘Cold Feet’ campaign is designed to help Victorians understand the effects of, and avoid carbon monoxide poisoning from their gas heaters. Watch our campaign video below.

Information for landlords and tenants

If you are a landlord or a tenant, download our brochure and find out about your rights and responsibilities for maintaining gas heaters, here.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

The dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning can be hard to diagnose as the symptoms are similar to many other ailments often seen during the cooler months.

Be alert to everyone in the dwelling coming down with the same symptoms – the young, old and vulnerable can be most affected by carbon monoxide.

Signs and symptoms can include:

  • headaches
  • malaise
  • nausea
  • dizziness.

For more information about diagnosing carbon monoxide poisoning, click here.