Warning issued on potentially deadly gas heaters

Ian Bushnell 7 June 2018

The Vulcan Heritage and Pyrox Heritage gas heaters: Do not use until tested.

The ACT Government has issued a product warning on Vulcan Heritage and Pyrox Heritage gas heaters, which have been found to emit potentially deadly levels of carbon monoxide under certain conditions.

Access Canberra said these heaters should not be used until tested by a qualified gas fitter.

The warning follows the decision to conduct a coronial inquest into the death of a Melbourne woman from carbon monoxide poisoning last winter.

Sonia Sofianopoulos, 62, was using a Vulcan Heritage heater in her unit at the time she died.

Open flue heaters, like the Vulcan Heritage or Pyrox Heritage space heater, are old technology and not necessarily compatible with many new or renovated homes with less ventilation.

In addition, the combination of inadequate ventilation, as well as operating bathroom exhaust fans or kitchen range hoods at the same time as the 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.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odourless, colourless gas that may affect health if breathed in. Symptoms can include tiredness, shortness of breath, headaches, dizziness, nausea, weakness, confusion or chest pain.

People are urged to seek medical advice if experiencing any of these symptoms.

Anyone with a Pyrox or a Vulcan heritage gas heater should call the manufacturer Climate Technologies on (03) 8795 2462, which has a testing and replacement program in place.

Climate Technologies have withdrawn all Vulcan Heritage or Pyrox Heritage space heaters from sale and ceased their production.

Access Canberra said people living in ACT public and social housing who think they may have one of these heaters installed should call Total Facility Manager, Spotless call centre immediately on (02) 6207 1500.

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