Is your gas heater safe? 

It is the middle of winter and by now all of Victoria has their heating system to somewhere around 21 degrees in a bid to battle the chilly nights and freezing mornings. However, if you haven’t recently serviced your gas-based heating system you could be at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a lethal gas produced when you burn gasoline, wood, propane and charcoal. It is odourless and colourless making it almost impossible to detect. When a leak occurs within your heating system, you and your family can become very sick if you spend a lot of time indoors.

Some of the most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are:

  • tiredness
  • shortness of breath
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • weakness
  • confusion; and
  • chest pain.

How can a CO2 leak happen?

A leak happens when the heat exchanger is on the inside of your heating system. When this happens open flue systems are unable to keep the gases being burnt and the air separate resulting in carbon monoxide entering your air system.

With everyone working from home for the last two years now it is more important than ever to service your gas heater and check for carbon monoxide leaks.

How does a heat exchanger crack?

A heat exchanger is most commonly known to crack when there is a negative pressure environment indicating there is not enough ventilation within your home to adequately heat your home safely. If you want to learn more, check out our blog on Negative Pressure. 

Ways to prevent your heat exchangers from breaking

  1. Have Adequate Ventilation 
    Heating systems require ventilation to ensure that your home is always a safe environment. Without them, your home could be something similar to an oven. Open flued systems require permanent ventilation as they draw air from the inside of the room for combustion. Often, ventilation and heating units are installed together to ensure that the heating system is compliant. When heating your home make sure the ventilation is completely clear (both internal and external units). Without ventilation, you are forcing your heating system to overwork which can create a carbon monoxide leak.
  2. Have caution when using range hoods.
    When planning where to place your heating system be very aware of where range hoods and exhaust fans need to go for bathrooms and kitchen areas. After they are all in place, have caution using all elements at the same time as range hoods and fans can create a negative pressure environment which will draw carbon monoxide into your environment. As a general rule of thumb, try not to operate exhaust fans at the same time as your heating system.
  3. Don’t leave your gas heating system on all day or all night.
    We know it may seem tempting because you are working from home to just have the heating on all day or you want to stay warm overnight, but it’s not practical. By leaving your heating system on for extended periods you are reducing its lifespan and overworking your system. When you overwork the system, minor issues can become big problems, especially when you don’t book in annual maintenance.

When to get it serviced?

It is recommended you get a general heating service every 2 years to ensure optimal performance of your heating system. However, for gas systems, North West Geelong recommends a yearly service schedule alternating between a carbon monoxide test and service, and a general service.

We also recommend booking your heating system in for a service whenever you notice small changes such as yellowing, flame changes, soot or if the pilot light stops working.

Not yet had your heating system serviced? BOOK NOW