November 13, 1995
Release # 96-016
|CPSC: Kate Primo
(301) 504-0580 Ext. 1187
CPSC, GAMA Issue Warnings on Vented Gas Space
WASHINGTON, D.C. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety
Commission (CPSC) and the Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association (GAMA) are warning
consumers to have their vented gas space heaters professionally inspected every year to
avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
According to CPSC, improper venting of propane and natural gas space heaters is a major
cause of CO poisoning from vented gas space heaters. If the heater is not vented properly,
not vented at all, or if the vent is blocked, separated, rusted, or corroded, dangerous
levels of carbon monoxide can enter the home causing sickness and death. CO also can be
produced if the heater is not properly set up and adjusted for the type of gas used and
the altitude at which it is installed.
"Each year, carbon monoxide poisoning kills more than 200 people and sends 5,000 more
to hospital emergency rooms," said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown. "Many of these
poisonings can be avoided if consumers work with home heating professionals to make sure
their appliances are properly installed."
CPSC and GAMA warn people not to re-install used space heaters. "We've seen too many
cases where people buy a used space heater and install it themselves. Too many things can
go wrong, and with dangerous carbon monoxide, it is not worth the risk," GAMA
president Reuben Autery said.
Carbon monoxide is extremely dangerous because it is invisible and odorless and its
symptoms (headache, dizziness, sleepiness, nausea, vomiting, or confusion) are similar to
common illnesses like the flu. People frequently die from CO while they are sleeping.
To maintain their safety, vented space heaters should be installed by a professional
contractor and inspected every year. Consumers are not qualified to spot potential vent,
maintenance, or installation problems. According to GAMA, the best time to have a heater
inspected is prior to the heating season.
Consumers can call (800) 603-9293 to receive a warning label and a free brochure about
vented gas heater safety. Consumers should check the phone book or contact a local fuel
supplier to find a qualified heating contractor.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety
Commission protects the public from the unreasonable risk of injury or death from 15,000
types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. To report a dangerous product
or a product-related injury and for information on CPSC's fax-on-demand service, call
CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270. To order a
press release through fax-on-demand, call (301) 504-0051 from the handset of your fax
machine and enter the release number. Consumers can report product hazards to email@example.com.