Safe use of gas this winter

Industry news

WA's energy safety regulator has issued it's annual safety advice about using gas appliances to stay warm in winter.

Energy Safety is part of the Building and Energy Division of the Department of Energy, Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety. In a media statement released on 18 June, they say gas heaters should be serviced by a licensed gas fitter at least every two years, or annually if the equipment is more than 10 years old.

A properly qualified gas fitter can for faults in heaters and other gas appliances or for inadequate ventilation.

“If a gas appliance is faulty or used in an area without enough ventilation, carbon monoxide can build up, leading to serious or even fatal consequences,” WA’s Director of Energy Safety, Saj Abdoolakhan, said. “If it’s been more than two years since your gas heater was serviced, or if it’s showing signs such as discolouration or difficulty relighting, contact a licensed gas fitter.”

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odourless and tasteless gas that can kill. The signs of carbon monoxide poisoning range from flu-like symptoms (such as headaches, fatigue and nausea) through to heart irregularities, vomiting, seizures and collapse.

A room with a bayonet point for a gas heater should have unobstructed ventilation close to floor and close to ceiling. Exhaust fans can pull carbon monoxide into living spaces and should never be used at the same time as open-flued gas heaters.

Outdoor and portable gas appliances, such as patio heaters and camping equipment, should never be used indoors and should also be regularly serviced.

The statement also includes the following key advice for users of gas equipment who smell gas or suspect a gas leak.

  • Turn off all gas appliances. Do not relight them until the situation is safe.
  • Move away from the gas smell.
  • Do not use ignition sources, such as matches or electrical switches.
  • If possible, open windows and doors to disperse the gas.
  • If you can locate your gas meter, turn off the gas supply valve if possible.
  • If your property is supplied by LP gas cylinders, turn the round valve at the top of the cylinder clockwise until it won't turn anymore.
  • Report the smell of gas to your gas supplier. In the case of major gas leaks or immediate danger, contact emergency services on 000.

To read the full announcement, see Safe use of gas this winter.