Parkes Gasfitter warns of heater dangers

Plumber Gas Fitter John Gorton said he went to the home of an elderly couple recently and was shocked to find the house full of carbon monoxide.

“The couple rang and said their flued gas heater wasn’t working so well and asked if I would come and have a look at it,” John said.

“When I got there, I noticed nothing was coming out of the chimney, no steam at all.

“I walked in the front door and the carbon monoxide hit me in the face. You can’t see it, you can’t smell it, but if you’ve been outside and come in you know what it is.

“None of the exhaust gases were going outside via the flue.”

John said most people don’t realise their heater, whether it’s gas or wood, should be serviced every two years.

“I feel like this is something people need to be aware of,” he said.

“Victoria has really strict laws around gas heaters, especially in rental properties.

“They must be certified every year by someone qualified to test for carbon monoxide.

“It is a silent killer, people die from it every year. They can just go to sleep and not wake up.”

John said he is not trying to scare people, but at this time of year when people are using their heaters all of the time and they have not been serviced in years they could potentially be very dangerous.

“A lot of heaters I see in Parkes have just been neglected,” he said. “People persevere with them and they keep using   them.

“I had someone the other day whose heater wouldn’t stay on. “It had failsafe mechanisms, so if the heater is having problems it will turn off. “They had a stick on top of the button and a brick on that to make it work.

“I said “you can’t do that, it isn’t working for a reason”.

“That person didn’t know and didn’t care, as long as it kept the house warm. “If anything goes wrong they are not covered by insurance, and they have little kids in the house so how would they feel if something happened?”

John said most things have a failsafe on them.

“There is a reason it won’t work, and that’s the reason to get them repaired by a licensed gas fitter,” he said.

John said it is also important to have electric fans on wood heaters regularly cleaned.

“People don’t realise they clog up with a lot of junk and dust and don’t work properly,”

“That dust can catch fire if something goes wrong.”