Should I get my gas heater serviced?
Winter is around the corner. Before the cold hits, make sure your gas heater is in tip top shape by getting it serviced by a professional. Gas heaters have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years, and to keep them working efficiently, every two years they need to be maintained and cleaned. They also need to be installed by a licensed gas fitter.
Natural gas is an efficient fuel for warmth but produces gases such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide which are harmful to your health. In the past, these gases left the house via a chimney, and was cleaned regularly by a chimney sweep. Today, a pipe called a flue leads these gases out of the house, so they don’t fill the room. The flue needs to be regularly checked for cracks or wear and tear, so these gases don’t accumulate inside the house.
Carbon monoxide is a particularly dangerous gas. It is odourless and colourless which can inhibit the transport of oxygen by the blood. Breathing this gas in can cause flu-like symptoms, headache, dizziness, weakness, vomiting, shortness of breath, confusion, blurred vision and loss of consciousness. This can lead to death.
Nitrogen dioxide does have a distinct smell and can cause irritation of the respiratory tract and shortness of breath.
Natural gas can also leak from cracked hoses or lose connections, which need to be checked by a licensed gas fitter. If there is a smell of gas in the room, turn the heater off and open all doors and windows.
Cleaning a gas heater
A gas heater can attract dust when not in use during the warmer months. By having the heater cleaned properly it is safer to use and also runs more efficiently. This means a lower gas bill over the colder months.
When should I call a gas fitter?
If you suspect a gas leak, turn off the gas heater and call a professional straight away. If there is a smell of gas or you are suffering eye irritation in the room with the heater, something is wrong. Also, if the pilot light pops or goes out, this is another indication a professional need to be called. Any sign of soot or heat damage is indication of a problem.
Now is a good time to call David Frith, before winter surprises us. Gas heaters need to be maintained by a licensed gas fitter regularly for safety reasons and to get the full life out of the heater.