What is a Carbon Monoxide Test and Why You Need One This Winter

Rinnai Gas Fireplace

After that first cold snap in April each year, a million Melburnians turn their heater on for the first time in over six months.

To be sure your gas heater is safe, you should at minimum have your gas appliances serviced and tested for carbon monoxide every two years (as recommended by Energy Safe Victoria).

You won’t be able to tell if your heater is leaking carbon monoxide as it has not smell or sound, but spillage can make you seriously sick or kill you.

Are you renting?  The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 states it is the landlord’s responsibility to service and maintain all gas appliances. Simply ask your landlord about servicing your gas heater regularly by a licensed gasfitter.

What is carbon monoxide poisoning?

Symptom include:

  • Dizziness
  • Feeling sick or nauseous
  • Headaches
  • People and/or pets getting sick at the same time
  • Feeling unwell only when you’re at home.

If you or someone at your house is experiencing symptoms, you should leave the house immediately and get into the fresh air, turn off all gas appliances straight away, open windows and doors to let fresh air into the house and do not use your heater until you’ve had it checked by a qualified gasfitter.

What is a carbon monoxide test?

A qualified gasfitter will conduct a series of tests to check if your heater is safe, using a tester. The carbon monoxide tester is a small handheld device that rates carbon monoxide in points per million (ppm) in the air coming from the heater. A safe test will have a reading of 0.00 ppm.

A standard carbon monoxide test includes four steps:

  • Establishing baseline conditions
  • Smoke test
  • Test for negative pressure
  • Test for carbon monoxide spillage

As long as gas heaters are serviced and maintained regularly, they are perfectly safe. It is best to include a test and service every two years as part of your standard house maintenance.