LPG and natural gas heaters are used widely to warm New Zealand homes and businesses. Used wisely, gas is instant, reliable, efficient and safe. However, like any other form of energy it must be treated with respect to prevent accidents.

  • In small rooms (eg bedrooms and bathrooms) a permanently installed gas heater may be only used in certain restricted circumstances. Ask a licensed gas worker for advice.
  • Don't use unflued gas appliances, such as LPG cabinet heaters or instantaneous water heaters in small rooms or in bedrooms and bathrooms.

There are three main types of heating: flued, room sealed, and  unflued

Flued gas heaters

Flued gas heaters have a number of advantages over unflued heaters.

Flued heaters:

  • discharge waste combustion products to the outside environment
  • reduce the amount of condensation build up in a room, which is often a common problem with unflued gas heating.

'Room sealed' appliances are a special type of flued appliance where not only are the combustion products vented outside but the air needed for combustion is also drawn from the outside.

Flued gas appliances need to have the flue checked regularly, as blockages of any type can be dangerous.

Signs that an appliance is not working correctly or that the flue is blocked may include:

  • a yellow flame, rather than a blue flame (Note: Some 'flame effect' heaters are designed to burn with a yellow tipped flame)
  • soot deposits in or around the appliance
  • an unpleasant, distinctive smell, similar to that of a car exhaust.

If you notice any of these signs, turn off the appliance and contact a licensed gas worker immediately.

Unflued gas heaters

Unflued gas appliances have no vent or chimney. They draw the air they need from the space around them and discharge the waste combustion products directly into that space. As a result it is extremely important that unflued gas appliances are used in well-ventilated areas with plenty of fresh air circulating.

You should not use unflued gas appliances, such as LPG cabinet heaters or instantaneous water heaters in small rooms or rooms such as bedrooms and bathrooms.

Portable gas heaters (unflued)

Portable gas heaters such as LPG cabinet heaters and other unflued space heaters need special care.

  • Test your connections (cabinet heaters): After securely connecting a new or refilled cylinder, apply soapy water to the cylinder connections and turn on the cylinder. If bubbles appear you have a leak. Close the valve and either call an LPG service agent or take the heater to the agent.
  • Safe space: Always keep your heater at least one metre away from anything that could catch on fire. Put a safety guard around your heater if you have young children in your home or there is a lot of foot traffic.
  • Fresh air: Keep a window open when you use your unflued heater, to help remove heater emissions (combustion products) and to keep the air fresh and reduce condensation. Never use unflued heaters in bedrooms and bathrooms.
  • Burner: If you see soot building up on the burner it is a sign there is something wrong and you should not use the heater. Call an appliance service agent or gasfitter to have the appliance checked.
  • Use your nose: If you smell fumes turn off your heater and cylinder immediately. Call an appliance service agent or gasfitter, or take the heater to the agent to have the appliance checked.
  • Get a check up: Get your heater checked and serviced before winter every year by a service agent so you know it is in a safe condition for winter.

Outdoor gas appliances should never be used indoors. This includes patio heaters, barbecues and camping cookers.