Archive for the ‘Fireplace / Surrounds / Gas Heaters / Hearths’ Category

Image of CO Detector / Alarm sourced from Kidde's Website.

Over the past few weeks we have been exploring how to keep yourself save against the silent, odourless and tasteless killer, which is carbon monoxide or CO as it is often known.  As a result we were asked after our first post on the subject whether we thought it was worthwhile to purchase and install CO detectors?

Yes, if you were not aware, there is a detector, similar to a smoke detector, which will detect CO.  You can also readily get them in Australia, but they are not very popular, in fact, Energy Safe Victoria do not even recommend them.

Energy Safe Victoria indicate that the best defence from CO Poisoning is to follow the safety precautions we shared with you last week and to be aware of the symptoms.  If you are safe around CO then you should be well equipped in the unlikely event (especially if your appliances are serviced regularly) to ever need one.

The thing with a CO alarm is that we expect it would work in the same way as a smoke detector, beeping to let us know that the noxious gas was in the air and that we simply need to change the batteries each year.  That is not the case, there is more chance of false readings than with a smoke alarm and you are less able to tell whether to take them seriously, which could lead to complacency.  Also you will need to replace the whole unit when the sensor wears out, not just the batteries, so they can also prove to be expensive.

So while we would love to have alarms that will keep us safe 24 hours a day, the units are in general not yet reliable enough and viable enough to be recommended at this point.  That said technology is swiftly moving forward and I am sure it is only a matter of time before such a device does receive the Energy Safe Victoria’s recommendation.

If you do choose to have a CO detector installed, Energy Safe recommend checking that it is independently certified to BS EN 50291:2001 or later.  They also recommend you always follow the manufacturers’ siting and operating instructions.

Note: Although we feature an image from a manufacturer’s website, this is no reflection on this particular alarm as DIY Bargain Bin has not done any specific testing in relation to this article and has relied upon the recommendations of Energy Safe Victoria.

For all your alarm and security needs, check out the DIY Bargain Bin Home Security, Alarms, Cameras, Safes, Sensors and Smoke Detectors section.


Carbon monoxide is a product of poor combustion.  It is odourless, colourless and tasteless.  Worst of all it can kill.

So how do you protect yourself against something you cannot sense.  Well there are a number of ways, but first lets get to the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.  Basically it will feel suddenly like you have the flu or a viral infection.  Early carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms include tiredness, shortness of breath, mild headaches and nausea.  These symptoms will quickly get worse causing dizziness and vomiting.

First thing to do if you suddenly start feeling this way and you have a gas appliance running, such as a heater, oven etc, is to turn it off and get to a well ventilated area, preferably outside.  If you do not start feeling better visit a doctor.

Carbon Monoxide is generated by a blocked flue pipe, sealed up air vents, faulty appliances or the use of camping appliances indoors.  To avoid the threat of monoxide poisoning, there are some simple steps you can take:

* Get your gas appliances checked at least every two years.  See our earlier article here about paying attention to your gas heater.

* Ensure that your barbeque is positioned away from a direct entry to the house (window or door) to minimise risk of deadly gas entering the house.

* Never run your cars in an attached garage, even with the garage door open, a gust of wind can send those fumes into the house.

* Ensure that your ventilation units are kept clear and are tested regularly.

* If using camping equipment ensure that you create adequate ventilation such as opening doors or windows, and that you store the appliance outside of the closed area before you go to sleep.

The best thing you can do is know the symptoms of early poisoning and act responsibly around gas.  Check back next week as we explore whether Carbon Monoxide detectors for the home are a worthwhile investment.

The DIY Bargain Bin stocks a range of items relating to fireplaces and gas heaters, so check it out!

Image courtesy of Kick Stock Photography

When the clocks go forward with daylight savings we now instinctively change the batteries in our smoke alarms.  It is a safety routine that keeps our families safe in the unlikely event of a house fire.  But what about our gas heaters?

Earlier this year detectives found two boys dead in their home in Victoria’s north-east, and although the finding is not yet back from the Coroner, the verdict, as a result of tests conducted by an Energy Safe Victoria inspector is that the deaths were likely caused by a faulty appliance. That appliance is most likely a standard gas heater.

So with the stakes so high, how can we ignore this?

Well, the reality is that until this event, I didn’t even think about my Gas heater.  I just didn’t realise there was such a large risk associated with it.

So I start looking and found that over the past few years there have actually been six deaths in Victoria from carbon monoxide poisoning associated with gas heaters.  But why?

Basically a faulty gas heater can cause carbon monoxide to be produced, which is invisible and has no smell or taste.  A heater could be faulty if it has an obstruction in the flue terminal or the ventilation is inadequate.

So what should you do?

Basically it is a simple message, have your appliances checked to ensure they are safe before each winter and service them at least every two years.  If you see a yellow or sooty flame, it is a clear sign that something is amiss with your heater.  Do not use it.

Be safe with gas this winter and read up on using gas wisely in the informative  Energy Save Victoria (ESV) important safety notice.

If your gas heater is faulty, or you think it is time you replaced it, the DIY Bargain Bin has gas heaters and other types of heating options available.