Victorians should consider new safety standards before purchasing an open flued gas space heater, according to the state’s energy safety regulator Energy Safe Victoria (ESV).
The new Australian Standards require open flued gas space heaters to shut down if carbon monoxide or other potentially lethal gasses leak into living spaces.
The new Standard came about after a recommendation from the Coroner after her inquiry into the 2017 death of Sonia Sofianopolous. Ms Sofianopolous death was connected to carbon monoxide leakage from her open flued gas space heater. One of the key causes of the leakage was negative pressure, where exhaust gases are drawn out of the heater by extraction fans (such as a kitchen rangehood or bathroom fan) in well insulated houses with little ventilation.
The new Standard requires that open flued gas space heaters shut down if there is spillage of combustion products (including carbon monoxide).
New heaters that meet the standard will shut down automatically if they spill combustion products for more than 15 minutes.
Once the appliance has shut down a gasfitter is required to make the installation safe and to reset the appliance. Open flued gas space heaters that currently meet the Standard are:
- Braemar Ecostar Power Flue Wall Furnace (certification no. AGA 8905)
- Archer Induced Draught Decorative Gas Log Effect Space Heater Models: FS100, FSP100, FSC100, IS100 & IS200 (certification no. AGA 5446)
- Archer 36" Fireplace IS900 Series Models (certification no. AGA 7978)
- Archer Models IS1200 and IS1500 (certification no. GMK10519)
- Archer IS700 Induced draught decorative log effect space heater (certification no. SAI-400286)
When purchasing a new open flued gas space heater, ask the supplier to provide the certification number and confirm that the appliance complies with the new safety standards.
ESV also recommends room sealed gas space heaters, which draw their air for combustion from the outside atmosphere and therefore are not affected by a lack of building ventilation and the extraction fans. If you have an open flued gas space heater that does not meet the new Standards, make sure:
- you have your heater serviced by a qualified gasfitter at least once every two years (servicing ensures your heater will run safely and efficiently),
- there is adequate air flow in your home,
- you avoid running kitchen and bathroom extraction fans at the same time as the heater,
- a carbon monoxide alarm will help but should never be a substitute for regular servicing.
ESV Commissioner and Chairperson Marnie Williams
“If you are in the market to buy a new open flued gas space heater, we recommend that you look for a model that meets new Australian Standards for safety, or a room sealed gas space heater.” “If your existing heater doesn’t meet the new Standards, make sure you get the heater serviced at least once every two years. This ensures your heater runs safely and efficiently. Also ensure that there is airflow through the house and try not to use your kitchen or bathroom fan while the heater is running.”
Reviewed 24 January 2023