CHO Health Alert: Carbon monoxide risk from ‘open-flued’ gas space heaters

08 June, 2018

Status: Active

Date issued:08 June 2018

Issued by: Dr Angie Bone, Deputy Chief Health Officer (Environment), Victoria

Issued to: General practitioners, hospital emergency departments and the Victorian public

Key messages

  • There is an increased risk of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning from domestic gas heaters during winter.
  • 'Open-flued' gas heaters, especially Vulcan or Pyrox Heritage gas space heaters, should not be used due to possible unsafe levels of carbon monoxide under certain conditions.
  • Inadequate ventilation, or operating bathroom exhaust fans or kitchen range hoods while using the gas heater, can draw carbon monoxide into living areas. The risk is increased if the heater and associated components such as the flue are not regularly serviced.
  • All gas heaters, especially open-flued heaters, should be serviced at least once every two years by a qualified gasfitter.
  • Test for carboxyhemoglobin levels in any cases of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning. Notify the Department of Health and Human Services on 1300 761 874 of any elevated results.
  • Doctors should exercise a high level of suspicion if similar symptoms are occurring in other members of the household, and if the patient reports feeling better when outside the house.

Read the full alert: Carbon monoxide risk from ‘open-flued’ gas space heaters

Authorised by the Victorian Government, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne.