In March 2018, Energy Safe Victoria issued a safety warning for Vulcan Heritage and Pyrox Heritage open-flue gas heaters.
These models of open-flue gas heaters have been reported to leak carbon monoxide.
Exposure to this colourless, odourless and tasteless gas is very dangerous and can be fatal. Anyone who has one of these models of gas heaters is advised to stop using it immediately and follow these steps:
Contact your real estate agent or landlord to request an inspection and service from a qualified gasfitter.
As these heaters are unsafe unless serviced, this should be considered an urgent repair and your agent or landlord must respond immediately.
If your agent or landlord do not respond, you can either:
To claim reimbursement if you make your own arrangements, issue a Notice to Landlord describing the repairs that were done and provide a copy of the invoice. You should receive reimbursement within fourteen (14) days of providing the notice. If not, you can apply to VCAT for reimbursement.
There is always a risk that VCAT will not consider the service to be an urgent repair if that’s disputed by the landlord, so applying to VCAT is usually a safer option. Make sure to keep a record of any attempts you make to contact the agent or landlord. you can
Visit our repairs page for more information on urgent vs non-urgent repairs.
The Department of Health and Human Services Victoria (DHHS) have a program in place to replace these models of Vulcan Heritage and Pyrox Heritage open-flue gas heaters.
All these heaters should have now been disconnected. If this has not occurred, contact DHHS on a 1800 148 426.
If your energy bills are direct-debited from your account, you should contact your energy supplier to advise them if your bills are too high and they can make different payment arrangements. The Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria (1800 500 509) can help you deal with your energy supplier if there are any problems.
All affected residents should have been offered temporary heating (i.e. a portable oil column heater). DHHS will provide a rent reduction of $302 in a lump sum payment to help renters pay for the additional costs associated with the temporary heaters. The payments are planned for September and November.
If you pay your rent by Centrepay then DHHS will just deduct less money from your account for one or two payments to provide the rent reduction. You should check your rent statement.
If your overall energy costs are higher than the $302 or you incur additional costs (for example, using a laundromat to dry your clothes because you can’t dry them in front of the heater), you may be entitled to compensation. Contact your local DHHS office to discuss your claim. We recommend keeping records of the costs incurred, including copies of your receipts or bills from the same time period last year for comparison.
If you are not satisfied with how your claim is being handled by your local DHHS office, you can apply for compensation to VCAT within six years from the date the extra costs were incurred.
All gas appliances should be tested and maintained by a licensed gasfitter at least once every two years. Find out more on the Energy Safe Victoria website.
If you are unsure if your gas heater is one of these models or if you are worried, we recommend asking your landlord to get it tested for safety.