If gas heaters are faulty or poorly maintained, or don’t get enough air to operate, they won’t burn the gas properly. In extreme cases that means they will emit toxic carbon monoxide and other unpleasant gases. Carbon monoxide can be lethal as it can’t be seen and has no smell. It can cause death or chronic illness. Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen in any home or building that uses gas heating, including newer ones.

Test the cylinder connection – if you have an LPG cabinet heater, always test the cylinder connection after attaching the gas cylinder. You can do that by applying soapy water to the cylinder connections and turning on the cylinder. If bubbles appear, you have a leak. Close the valve and call an LPG service agent or take your cylinder in to be checked.

Don’t use in a small space – remember not to use LPG cabinet heaters in a confined space like a bedroom, bathroom, cabin or caravan.

Keep your distance – keep your heater at least one metre away from anything that could catch fire and put up a safety guard if you have young children or pets, or the area has a lot of foot traffic.

Ventilate – allow fresh air to circulate through the room – by keeping a window ajar you remove carbon dioxide emissions and reduce condensation.

Top tips for using an LPG heater
  • Get your heater and cylinder checked every year by an LPG service agent – the start of winter is the perfect time to get this done.
  • When you connect gas cylinder, the connection between the cylinder and the heater by applying soapy water – bubbles indicate a leak.
  • Children or infirm people should always be supervised around LPG heaters.
  • Keep grills and vents clear of obstructions, and free of lint and dust.
  • A maximum of 20 kg of LPG can be kept indoors and no cylinder can exceed 10 kg.
  • Use your nose. If you smell gas, turn off the heater and cylinder immediately, and don’t use it again until you have had it checked by an LPG service agent.
  • Because they’re unflued, portable gas heaters need to be treated with special care.
  • If someone in your house has asthma, avoid using an LPG heater, the flue products can be irritating.
How to check your LPG heater connections for leaks
  • When connecting an LPG cylinder – check all connection points for leaks by putting a small amount of soapy water around the joint – for example with a spray bottle. If bubbles appear that means there’s a leak and you need to get it checked.
  • Check for obvious signs of damage to hoses and the appliance.
  • Connection fittings may have small rubber o-rings – check these for damage regularly.

Content courtesy WorkSafe. Original found here: https://worksafe.govt.nz/about-us/campaigns/gas-and-electricity-safety-winter/using-an-lpg-cabinet-heater-safely/

Approval required before sale

As of 1 April 2011, there is a legal requirement to have new cabinet heaters approved by Energy Safety before being sold or offered for sale in New Zealand.

The regulations allow Energy Safety to set out the following conditions:

  • The appliance must be certified to the European standard for cabinet heaters.
  • The appliance must perform satisfactorily on New Zealand LPG.
  • Certain warning notices and labels must be attached to the appliance.

LPG cabinet heaters are not recommended for use in homes with children with respiratory conditions.

If you have a LPG cabinet heater, Energy Safety has these simple safety tips to keep you warm and safe.

Follow the ‘Heater Metre Rule’

  • This is the golden rule when children and adults are around any sort of heat source such as a fireplace or cabinet heater. Always keep at least one metre from any heat source. This will limit the chance of getting too close to a heater and burning yourself.
  • Never stand directly in front of the heater, especially when operating the controls. Cabinet heaters have a very high heat output and may ignite clothing that is too close.
  • Keep heaters at least one metre away from materials that can burn such as curtains, clothes, furniture and rugs. Never hang clothes on a heater to dry – this is a common cause of fires.


  • It’s also important to have some sort of protection around heat sources, such as a fire guard, to prevent any injuries. Having a fire guard will significantly reduce the risk of you getting burnt.
  • Make sure vulnerable people such as children and the infirm are safe around your LPG cabinet heater. Using a fireguard around your heater will give extra protection.

Check the connections on your heater for leaking LPG

  • Test for gas leaks using the soapy water test after you have filled your cylinder and reconnected it to your heater.
  • Spread soapy water on the cylinder connections.
  • Turn on the cylinder valve. If bubbles appear LPG is leaking.
  • Close the valve and contact your LPG service agent.

Make sure your heater is well ventilated

  • Portable gas heaters such as LPG cabinet heaters and unflued space heaters need special care. Unflued gas appliances draw the air they need from the space around them and discharge the waste combustion products directly into that space.
  • If ventilation is restricted it may cause a build up of fumes. If an appliance is faulty or has not been maintained, it can produce carbon monoxide, a gas that can cause headaches and nausea, possibly leading to unconsciousness and even death. Always keep a window open when these heaters are in use.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Never use your LPG cabinet heater in any bedroom, bathroom, or confined space.

Have your heater serviced

  • Do not use your heater if you smell LPG.
  • Your LPG cabinet heater should be serviced every 12 months. Check in the Yellow Pages under “Gas Appliances” for servicing and repairs.

Gas and LPG safety

  • Use your nose – if you smell LPG or anything unusual, turn off your heater and cylinder immediately.
  • Call an LPG service agent.