Carbon Monoxide Info


Energy Safe Victoria is urging all Victorian families to have their gas heaters serviced at least every two years to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide can be lethal as it can't be seen and has no smell.

What causes it?

Carbon monoxide can be produced in large quantities if your heater does not completely burn the gas it uses. This can happen for a number of reasons but the most common causes are faults, lack of servicing or a blocked flue.

In most cases, the by-products produced by your gas heater are dispersed to the outside of your home via the flue. But these can build up quickly in living areas if the flue is blocked, there is not enough ventilation or exhaust fans in the kitchen or bathroom are used and draw these gases back into your home.

Keep your family safe this winter by arranging a service today with your local plumber/ gasfitter. Plumbers and gas fitters can be found in the Yellow Pages and many advertise in local papers.

What you can do to protect your family

Get your heater inspected every two years by a registered or licensed gasfitter to ensure it is working properly. The gasfitter who services your appliance must use a CO analyser.

Ensure there is always adequate ventilation provided.

Regularly check the colour of the flame in the heater. A sooty flame may indicate a faulty heater.

The following situations may indicate that a problem exists:

» Soot or discolouration around the gas appliance

» Sooty flame

» Heater goes out after a short time for no apparent reason

» Debris falling down the flue pipe

» Missing or damaged cowl on the top of the flue pipe.

The symptoms of CO poisoning include:

» Tiredness

» Shortness of breath

» Mild or severe headaches

» Nausea and vomiting

» Weakness and sleepiness

If the poisoning is extreme, it may lead to confusion, loss of consciousness and death. Loss of consciousness can occur quickly if the CO concentrations are high.

Some people are especially sensitive to CO. This includes people with:

» Heart disease

» Anaemia

» Young children

» Unborn babies

» The elderly

Symptoms may occur when using, or immediately after using, a gas appliance. Doctors should be alerted when CO poisoning is suspected.

For more information visit ESV's website