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Cabinet gas heaters safe: expert

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  • Cabinet gas heaters safe: expert

    Cabinet gas heaters safe: expert

    Cabinet gas heaters are safe if they are used correctly and serviced annually by a reputable and registered gas fitter, Ron Richdale says.

    He is a member of the LPG Association and his business services gas heaters and appliances.

    He took issue with a Chronicle piece about a gas heater fire on September 21, because it suggested that the fires were a risk.

    “The LPG Association is furious about it. These sweeping statements do damage to our livelihood.”

    He said there were 500,000 cabinet gas heaters in New Zealand and the September fire in Wanganui was only the seventh accident attributable to them this year.

    The fire caused little damage.
    Government’s Energy Safety Service analyses accidents related to gas and electricity. Its February 2005 summary said that for the 11 years to 2003 there were 479 notified LPG accidents, with 36 percent involving cabinet heaters.

    Two thirds of the accidents were caused by user error or neglect – the wrong fittings, incorrect operation, lack of maintenance or incorrect filling of the gas bottle.

    The summary lists cabinet heaters as one of the gas appliances that’ are “prone to unsafe usage” – along with containers and cookers/ovens.

    Cabinet gas heaters were cheap to buy, and three mid-winter weeks’ supply of gas cost only $18. They were popular for this reason.

    Mr Richdale said they should be taken through a rigorous 15-part test during their annual checks.

    Any heater could be dangerous if it wasn’t used and looked after properly, Wanganui District chief fire officer Kevin Smith said.

    Most heater fires were caused by people drying or storing things too close to the heat.

    Mr Smith said LPG cabinet heaters were cheap to run, and popular with certain groups.

    “They need to be well maintained and serviced. If people do that they will have no problems.”

    "There's one way to find out if a man is honest-ask him. If he says 'yes,' you know he is a crook." Groucho Marx