Gas risks with renovation – and how to avoid them

Gas risks with renovation – and how to avoid them
Gas risks with renovation – and how to avoid them

GUEST OBSERVATION

With renovation season approaching, it pays to know what gas risks there are with your renovation, no matter how big or small your home improvement is.

You’ve been busy watching all of the reality renovation shows and writing down all of the ideas, now it is your turn to get your hands dirty and start ticking off that long list of home improvements you’ve been waiting to do.

But as exciting as it is to knock down walls, fit out a new kitchen or build an extension, it isn’t without it’s risks, and for the safety of you and your family you need to be aware of them, particularly when it comes to gas in your home.

Faulty appliances, flue blockages and gas leaks can all lead to the production of carbon monoxide, a highly poisonous colourless, odourless and tasteless gas that can cause serious health issues including death. To ensure you avoid the dangers, here are five tips to keep in mind when renovating where gas is installed.

Gas risks with renovation – and how to avoid themKnow where your gas pipework or flues are located

Before you start drilling, nailing or knocking down walls it is important you know where your gas pipework is located. Gas flues can be fitted through the ceiling and roof or fitted through the wall, and any bump or blockage could result in poisonous carbon monoxide gas released into your home.

Gas risks with renovation – and how to avoid themWatch for blocked flues

Flues can become blocked from nests, insects, debris or by being covered up in the case of a chimney renovation.

Sooting, or yellow or brown staining around your appliances, ceilings or walls can be an indicator that carbon monoxide is present as a result of a blocked flue. If you do see this turn off your appliances get it checked by a licensed gas fitter.

Gas risks with renovation – and how to avoid themRecognise when you need help

There are some jobs in a renovation that you just shouldn’t handle yourself, and installing or moving gas appliances is one of them. Any maintenance, alteration or repairs on your gas pipework or appliances like stoves and hot water systems should be done by a licensed gas fitter – and make sure you check their qualifications.

A licensed gasfitter will make sure your flue is not blocked or leaking to ensure gases are being safely released outside and not into your home. They can also check and clean your gas appliances  (which should be done every two years according to manufacturers recommendations) to keep them working safely and effectively.

Gas risks with renovation – and how to avoid themKnow the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning

While carbon monoxide is almost impossible to detect, it can give you subtle symptoms and signs that it may be present. Symptoms of poisoning start a like the flu, you can experience headaches, tiredness, nausea and vomiting, which can lead to confusion, unconsciousness and death in high doses.

If you see or experience any of the following, carbon monoxide may be present in your home and you should have it checked immediately:

  • Pilot lights that frequently go out
  • Excessive condensation
  • A blue flame that starts to burn yellow or orange
  • Sooting, or yellow or brown staining around your appliances, ceilings or walls; and/or
  • Improved health when you are away from home but it worsens on your return

Gas risks with renovation – and how to avoid themAdd a carbon monoxide alarm

One addition you should put to your home improvement list is a carbon monoxide alarm. Just like smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms save lives.

Ensure your renovations, additions and improvements are a safe and enjoyable experience by following these five gas tips. While it can be tempting to cut corners and renovate as affordably as possible the health and safety of you and your family is too important.

Frans Sterk is a qualified gas fitter, carbon monoxide specialist and owner of Gaswatch. For more information and safety tips on carbon monoxide head to www.gaswatch.com.au.

Tags: 
Property Management Renovation

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