Here we’ll help you put your best foot forward to stay safe with gas all year round.
Time for a tune up?
Even if your appliance appears to be tip top, standards say you should have it professionally serviced every two years by a qualified, registered service agent – like a licensed gasfitter who is endorsed for gas appliance servicing1.
Just like other household appliances, heaters have a limited lifespan – around 15 years for gas forced air furnaces, depending on their maintenance2. So, a regular check-up by a pro in the know will help ensure any deterioration is picked up before it poses a risk.
If you want to check-in on the check-up, ask your service agent if they have seen to the following:
• burner & gas pressure
• heat exchanger
• air filters
• any hoses
They should also give it a good clean and, this is important – complete a carbon monoxide test.
One of the most common causes of a natural gas furnace leaking carbon monoxide is a crack in the heat exchanger3 (often caused by heat damage over time), so it’s especially important for your service agent to check any signs of decline there and address them immediately.
Get to know your system
There’s a few checks you can complete yourself in between services to keep it running efficiently, pick-up any issues early and possibly even extend its lifetime.
• always check your manual first, but if you can easily access outlets like central heating ducts and your guide gives you the go-ahead, vacuum these yourself to prevent overheating. You can also check any air filters and fans for signs of accumulating lint; but being a little more intricate, you should contact your licensed servicing agent if you think they need a clean;
• check your flue for any visible damage like cracks, punctures or corrosion;
• likewise, check any visible hoses for signs of deterioration.
“ Just remember; regular health checks don’t replace the need for professional servicing.”
Always keep an eye out
If you notice any of the following signs, you should give your gasfitter a call right away:
a yellow, red or sooty flame (unless it’s intentional for appearances, like a gas log fire)
• accumulation of soot around the heater
• a pilot light that blows out frequently or ‘pops’ while being lit
• any signs of heat damage like discoloured walls or heater panels, or if the wall turns hot to touch while the appliance is on
• an acrid smell or eye irritation
• crucially, if you can smell gas – go to a safe area and call your technician immediately. Only if it’s safe to do so, you could also turn off your gas at the meter and open your doors and windows for ventilation if the leak is inside.
For more on identifying and taking action on a potential leak, visit our Gas Leak FAQs on Community, our dedicated online forum. But remember, if you do experience a gas leak be sure to contact an emergency technician or local emergency services immediately.
Why all the fuss?
Well, for good reason. Any of these signs could point to incomplete combustion, wasted gas or worse – a carbon monoxide leak4.
Carbon monoxide is produced whenever a fuel burns – whether it’s gas, oil or even a classic wood fire. When systems are fitted correctly, serviced often and in good working order, they’ll vent this gas externally5. But irregular servicing and breakdowns can lead to this noxious gas escaping into spots that it shouldn’t.
Carbon monoxide is invisible and odourless, so you can’t pick a leak by sense alone. However, if you do notice tiredness, dizziness, headaches, weakness, nausea, shortness of breath or chest pain, be sure to call a professional immediately.
You can also purchase a carbon monoxide detector from hardware stores for extra peace of mind.
When properly maintained, gas offers efficient and clean heating for your household6. So, stick to the recommended service schedule and rest assured in a toasty home this winter.
Visit Get Connected to view AGL’s gas plans in your state.