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Cold snap brings hidden heating dangers for the unwary

Published: 16 July 2015

Cold snap brings hidden heating dangers for the unwary

With the renewed cold snap and strong winds tipped to hit again this weekend, Logan residents are being urged to resist the temptation to use outdoor heaters, portable barbecues or camping equipment to heat their homes.

Councillor Russell Lutton, Chair of the Logan City Council's Sports and Community Services Committee, said there had been tragic instances of entire families being asphyxiated in minutes by the toxic fumes produced by LP gas and combustible fuel appliances being used indoors during cold spells.

"The danger arises when people close all the windows and doors to warm up the house and use non-electric heaters, such as barbecues or camping equipment to warm up a room," he said.

"The combustion process produces invisible, odourless, poisonous gasses which rapidly fill the house, replacing oxygen with carbon monoxide. People don't realise what is happening as they quickly become unconscious– resulting in tragic outcomes."

Less than month ago a Penrith Family narrowly escaped dying from carbon monoxide poisoning after they went to sleep around a charcoal burner in their lounge room. Two weeks before that a couple was killed by a woodchip heater they were using in a Blue Mountains cabin.

Cr Lutton said small electric space heaters were the most convenient and cheapest solution to deal with Logan's short cold snaps.

"They are relatively cheap, warm rooms quickly and are easily stored when not in use," he said.