Gas heating equipment can also lead to tragedy if not installed or used properly. Every year, an estimated 400 lives are lost and 18,600 fires occur involving central furnaces, portable gas heaters, and other gas heating equipment. These products are associated with the twin dangers of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Oxygen Depletion Sensor
All new unvented gas-fired space heaters are equipped with an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS). An ODS detects a reduced level of oxygen in the area where the heater is operating and shuts off the heater before a hazardous level of carbon monoxide accumulates. These heaters also have labels that warn users about the hazards of carbon monoxide.
If you have an older unvented gas fired space heater that does not have an ODS, consider replacing it with a new, ODS - equipped model.
Pilot Lighting Tips
If the pilot light of your heater should go out, remember these tips:
- Allow five minutes or more for the gas to go away before trying again.
- Do not allow gas to accumulate.
- Light the match before you turn on the gas to the pilot. This avoids the risk of a flashback, which could occur if you allow gas to accumulate before you are ready to light the pilot.
- If you smell gas, do not attempt to light the appliance. Turn off all controls and open a window or door. Leave the area, and then call a gas service person. DO not touch any electrical surfaces.
If your space heater is meant to be vented, be sure the heater and flue are professionally installed according to local codes. Vent systems require regular maintenance and inspections. Vented heaters manufactured after June 1984 provide a thermal shut-off device if the appliance is not vented properly.
With a few precautionary steps, such as checking the furnace to ensure it is properly vented, you can reduce the chances of an accident. Read instruction manuals and take time to get acquainted with the operation of your heating unit before starting it up. Let's make this winter an especially safe heating season.