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With cooler weather a few months away, the Office of the Technical Regulator (OTR) today reminds all South Australian households to be aware about the safe use of indoor gas appliances to avoid the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning.

The OTR’s public reminder follows a recent South Australian Coroner’s Report on a 2018 death attributed to an incorrectly and illegally installed instantaneous gas water heater within an exterior bathroom.

Technical Regulator, Rob Faunt, said people could be inadvertently putting their life and those of their family at risk if they incorrectly use gas appliances or appliances are faulty or poorly maintained.

“While gas appliances are an effective way to supply hot water and keep our homes warm, they can produce deadly carbon monoxide gas within premises with disastrous outcomes if they are installed incorrectly or they are faulty, poorly maintained or misused.

“Carbon monoxide gas is known as the silent killer as it is colourless and odourless, so you may not even know you are being poisoned.

“Symptoms can vary from headaches and fatigue from low exposure to vomiting or seizures and even coma or death from high levels of exposure,” Mr Faunt said.

“Air filters, airways, fans and burners can over time become blocked by lint and dust that can lead to overheating and burner problems that can produce carbon monoxide gas.

“South Australian householders are reminded to familiarise themselves on how to safely use all gas appliances and to regularly service their gas appliances, such as gas heaters and hot water systems.

“Inspections should be undertaken on appliances as per the manufacturer’s instructions or at least every two years, particularly if they are installed indoors.

“A complete service should include testing for carbon monoxide spillage, an inspection of the flue and checking the adequacy of the ventilation air.”

Potential dangers associated with the indoor use of gas appliances can be reduced by:

  • Only using certified gas appliances which contain an approved safety certification badge to identify that the appliance has passed safety testing
  • Always using a licensed gas contractor to install, service and safety check the gas appliances and their correct installation
  • Servicing appliances at intervals recommended by the manufacturer - or at least every 2 years
  • Only using appliances in the manner for which they are certified and intended.

The Office of the Technical Regulator has a statutory role to ensure the safety of South Australian workers, consumers and property as well as compliance with legislation and applicable technical standards in the electricity, gas and water industries.

Monday, 10 February 2020