Inspecting and servicing Type A appliances

Provided by: Energy Save Victoria (ESV)

Ensuring a gas installation is safe is a fundamental responsibility for all gasfitters when performing inspection and servicing of Type A appliances. As a result, understanding the required scope of this work is critical for gasfitters to be able to complete it successfully and meet their responsibilities under the Gas Safety Act and subordinate regulations. When servicing any open-flue gas appliance always start by inspecting the installation.

The inspection checklist

Your inspection ‘checklist’ must include the following items:

  • Is the flue and cowl in good condition?
  • Is there adequate ventilation? (See Gas Information Sheet 58 for more information.)
  • Is the appliance installed correctly?
  • Is the appliance in good condition? Burn or scorch marks on the appliance are an indication of overheating and need to be investigated.
  • Conduct a negative pressure test (a smoke test) and a carbon monoxide (CO) spillage test as per Appendix R AS/NZS 5601, or Energy Safe Victoria’s Gas Information Sheet 38.
  • This test must be done when the flue is cold. See Gas Information Sheet 58 for more information.

The service work checklist

Once your inspection ‘checklist’ is complete, you can commence your servicing work, which may include items from the following list:

  • Clean the fan.
  • Clean the pilot and main burner.
  • Clean all dust from the appliance.
  • Check the operation of safety switches, including thermocouples and thermostats.
  • Check the heat exchanger for metal fatigue.
  • Check the back wall of inbuilt wall furnaces for signs of heat stress. If heat stress is present, further
  • examination of the fan and heat exchanger is warranted.
  • Conduct a visual test of all parts and replace them if they show signs of fatigue or heat damage.
  • Check and, if necessary, reset the appliance’s operating pressure.
  • Check all joints for gas leaks. This includes pilot lights, burners, and gas controls.

Understanding and testing for a negative pressure environment

ESV has developed a short animation for gas fitters explaining what a negative pressure environment is, its effect on open flue gas heaters, how to test for it and how to mitigate it.

The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) has produced this video to provide an overview of important changes to carbon monoxide spillage testing for gas appliances.

What to do when you detect a carbon monoxide spillage?

If you detect any rise in the level of carbon monoxide above your background reading, you should find and eliminate the cause of the spillage.

If this is not possible, or you are unable to eliminate the cause of the spillage, the appliance must be isolated with the consent of your client.

If your client refuses to allow you to isolate their gas appliance, you must contact Energy Safe Victoria’s 24/7 gasfitter CO isolation hotline on 1800 652 563 and select option 5. The reporting hotline is ONLY to be called when the customer is refusing to have their appliance isolated and you cannot make it safe. For non-compliance queries, call 1800 652 563 – Option 3.

When calling ESV, please ensure you supply the following information:

  • Your name, licence number and mobile telephone number;
  • Your customer’s name, address and telephone number;
  • The type of heater spilling carbon monoxide (model and number); and
  • The level of carbon monoxide spillage detected (in parts per million).

An ESV inspector will contact you soon after receiving these details to obtain further information. They will then contact your client in an attempt to resolve the matter.

As part of the resolution, ESV may offer to carry out an additional inspection, re-iterating the dangers and consequences of carbon monoxide spillage. They will also inform your client that their gas supplier must withdraw supply to the premises if the heater is found to be unsafe.

What to do when there is no spillage, but your client won’t let you rectify a negative air pressure situation? 

When you service an open-flue gas heater and detect negative air pressure, you have a responsibility to make the situation safe and inform your client of your findings.

To help you explain the potential dangers of carbon monoxide and the steps needed to overcome negative pressure, the VBA and Energy Safe Victoria have prepared an advice letter, which you should fill in and provide to your client after completing an inspection and service.

In all cases, clearing existing vents and installing additional ventilation are the recommended solutions for overcoming negative pressure. If this is not possible, check with your client to see whether they are happy for you to isolate their heater.

Sometimes, though, a client may not want you isolating their gas heater or installing additional ventilation in their home. In such cases, you should take the following action:

  1. Hand your client the advice letter and re-iterate the potential dangers of carbon monoxide and the effect of negative pressure.
  2. Remind your client of the need to install additional ventilation in their home to overcome the effect of negative pressure.
  3. Inform your client that you will be notifying the VBA of the situation, and that the VBA will contact the client directly.
  4. Notify the VBA as soon as possible by emailing gasheaters@vba.vic.gov.au or by calling 1300 815 127 during business hours. Make sure you supply your client’s contact details, site address and heater details.

Once you have notified the VBA of your actions regarding a client’s gas appliance, your job is done. The VBA will take over and work with your client to resolve their negative air pressure situation.

Please note: The VBA will not take enforcement action against a registered or licensed gasfitter where we have been appropriately notified of the situation regarding your client’s gas heater.

Further Resources

For more information, please contact ESV:

Phone: 1800 652 563 (the Gas Technical Helpline) or email: gastechnicalenquiry@energysafe.vic.gov.au