Gas heater carbon monoxide poisoning, anyone?

No? Read on and follow this advice:

It’s getting cold in Sydney. In our mild climate, we dust off the portable gas heater (think Rinnai, Paloma etc), plug it in and turn on. Before you press the on switch, for your safety’s sake, do the following.


Gas heaters must be serviced by a qualified plumber and gas fitter annually.  At Pipe Perfection plumbing a gas heater service for our Sydney customers consists of:

  • full assessment of heater for good working operation
  • bubble assessment of your bayonet to look for gas leaks
  • cleaning all accessible areas to remove dust with pressurised air
  • check the pilot flame or ignition
  • recommend any further work to improve working order of heater or your gas bayonet

Make sure your gas fitter or plumber covers off all of these areas.


Portable gas heaters (or unflued heaters) produce carbon monoxide and nitrogen  dioxide. So, it is essential that you use the heater safely to minimise risks. (Read more here: NSW government fact sheet)

Ventilate:  Open a window or door if you do not have permanent vents installed. Fresh air will dilute and flush the fumes from the room.

Living areas only:  Never use heater in a bathroom or bedroom.


There is evidence that emissions cause difficulties for asthmatics, especially children. You MUST ventilate the room. Talk to your GP about your choice of heating and the risks for you or your child. A flued gas heater or electric heating may be a better choice.

Follow this advice and you can quite safely use your heater during the cold months.

Do you have a portable gas heater? Were you aware of the risks? And, have you had it serviced lately?

About the author: Laney Clancy is an all rounder (except for plumbing!) at Pipe Perfection , a Sydney plumbing, drainage and gasfitting company. We help home owners find the best solutions to even the most complex plumbing issue. We respond quickly, send out polite and professional plumbers that clean up when they are done.