Home / News / Gas Heater Dangers

Gas Heater Dangers

May 28, 2023May 28, 2023

Gas heaters emit harmful emissions such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and formaldehyde that may reach dangerous levels if the heater is improperly ventilated and does not have an exhaust flue in place. Long-term exposure can result in impaired thinking, concentration issues, emotional volatility, irritability and impulsivity as well as overall physical harm to health.

Gas heaters generate both heat and smoke that can ignite flammable materials near them – such as curtains, furniture, clothing, paper and debris around it – leading to potential house fires. When placed too close to curtains or other materials which catch on fire easily – or left unattended or left for children to play near it – fire can break out quickly, so having smoke detectors installed throughout your home regardless of which heating source is essential for its safe operation.

Heaters should never be used to dry clothing or shoes as the heat from them could wreak havoc with fabric fibers and cause fires. If necessary, do this outside away from any heat sources such as heaters.

Heating equipment such as heaters is responsible for many home structure fires each year, leading to fatalities, injuries, and billions in property damages. Space heaters are typically the cause of these fires when placed too near combustible materials like fabric upholstery.

Gas heaters have the potential to pollute indoor air with harmful combustion pollutants if installed or maintained incorrectly, including emissions of water vapor, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide – which are known to contribute to asthma attacks as well as respiratory conditions for vulnerable groups such as infants, children, elderly individuals or those living with chronic illnesses.

All heaters should be regularly serviced and inspected by a licensed gas fitter to reduce the risk of house fire or leakage, and carbon monoxide poisoning. It is crucial that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors be installed near unvented gas appliances in order to stay safe.

Heaters that are incorrectly installed or left untouched can leak carbon monoxide into a room even when not being used, even without being on. Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless and tasteless gas that poisons its victims by depriving them of oxygen, leading to headaches, dizziness, nausea and breathlessness – particularly vulnerable populations such as infants, pregnant women and the elderly.

Modern gases space heaters without flues have recently been developed that do not need one but still consume air for combustion, and release its products into the room. These ‘flue less’ heaters were created with safety in mind and must adhere to an industry standard that mandates they shut off automatically if they leak more than 15 minutes of combustion products into your living space. If you are considering purchasing one of these appliances, ask for their certification number so you can confirm if it meets this new standard before purchasing.

Natural gas can be an incredible source of energy, yet its flammability puts you and your family at serious risk. Knowing which signs to watch out for and when it is important to call in professionals is vital for protecting yourself and those closest to you from potential gas leaks.

An overpowering rotten egg smell is one of the clearest indicators of gas leakage from your heater (, so if it appears in your home it should be evacuated immediately and windows opened to allow air flow before calling a technician to assess and resolve the problem.

If you smell natural gas while it is running, that signals a backdraft in the system and that gasses aren’t being directed away from your house as intended. This is a potentially hazardous situation and must be rectified as soon as possible to protect you and those nearby from potential danger. Leakage from furnaces can also introduce carbon monoxide into your home.

Please enable JavaScript

Carbon monoxide can be difficult to detect, which is why having carbon monoxide detectors installed is vital in any home. These sensors will let you know if CO levels in your house have increased so you can take corrective actions as soon as necessary.

As part of best practice, it’s recommended that each floor in your home features a carbon monoxide detector near their heating sources. You should keep a fire extinguisher charged and ready for action at all times in case a fire should break out in your home.

Any unflued gas heater – both old and new – with no flue can release CO into an indoor living area, particularly if poorly installed heaters have been weather-sealed or there have been recent changes to how your home breathes (i.e. renovations or blocked wall vents). This risk becomes especially apparent if poorly installed heaters have been poorly weather-sealed, or when there have been any disruptions such as renovations or the blocking of wall vents.

CO poisoning can be deadly at high concentrations. Symptoms of CO poisoning may include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea and vomiting; but also, shortness of breath; confusion; chest pain; irritability or inability to think clearly. If these symptoms persist and you suspect your heater might be leaking CO, open all windows and doors immediately while turning off your heater and getting your device checked. You can check this website to get a licensed gas fitter to come to your home as soon as possible.

People living with chronic illnesses such as heart and lung conditions and those exposed to long-term low levels of carbon monoxide in their workplace, caravans or recreational vehicles may be more prone to carbon monoxide poisoning than others. Therefore, GPs and emergency departments should assess patients who present with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning for possible faults; then request fingertip carboxyhemoglobin tests or any other available tests as soon as possible.

As a tenant, property owner, or landlord in Australia, it’s your responsibility to make sure your heater is safe. According to new rental laws that have come into force there, landlords must now have their heaters serviced every two years by an experienced gas plumber with all paperwork filed to document that service was conducted as required.

Get more stories like this in your inbox! Be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Get more stories like this in your inbox! Be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.