Over the past few weeks we have received many calls from Gasfitters and end users regarding the suspension of the Suburban Gas Hot Water Units. To date, the AGA and the certificate holder Coast to Coast have been working together with the ACCC for a solution, with no resolved conclusion currently found.
If the hot water units were purchased recently and fall into the serial number and model ranges listed below, we suggest you contact the supplier of the unit or Coast to Coast for the required fixes , a replacement or total refund, This would be the quickest and ultimately safest solution.
Although we have supplied a course of action, this suspension should not be taken lightly. There is an inherent safety issue and the units must not be operated on gas and must not be gas certified, unless the issue is fixed.
These hot water units are producing excessively high levels of CO (Carbon Monoxide). There is a high possibility the CO will leak into the cabin of the caravan or RV and due to another fault, the combustion area where the burner is located may not be sealed correctly. This may allow the gas burner fumes and CO to leak into the cabin area.
The method of testing for safety as described further in this article may not 100% guarantee safety or confirm the gas hot water unit will not fault in the future.
What should you do for certainty? The best solution would be to replace the hot water unit completely with a new model or alternative hot water brand that will fit the location or if this does not work, the alternative would be to replace the unit with an electric water heater.
What is the extent of the suspension? – It estimated to be in the thousands of units, with models dating back to 1990.
The following is a summary of the alerts to date with a few more detailed solutions and action plans.
We also suggest accessing the ACCC product recalls as well as the AGA website for the latest information or possible solutions.
A safety alert was issued early in October 2019 and as per the GTRC website and the above Certification AGA4634 was suspended on the 25/09/2019. direct link here covering the Suburban/caravan/vehicle water heaters with the following models.
- SW6DECA (Dual Fuel),
- SW6DA &
A safety alert has been issued by the Petroleum and Gas Inspectorate:
A reminder for all Gas Fitters: before you install any gas appliances, you must check the gas appliance has an approval.
It is an offence to supply or install a non-certified, suspended, canceled or non-approved gas appliances without being qualified. It is the responsibility of the Licenced gas fitter to check each gas appliance for approvals, and as suggested prior, the best location is the Gas Technical Regulators Committees GTRC National Certification Database GTRC,gov.au, if the appliance is not listed on this database, then it can not be installed.
Under certain conditions, the water heater can generate elevated levels of carbon monoxide which, in some cases may spill into the habitable space of the vehicle. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odourless gas that can adversely affect health when inhaled. In turn this can be lethal.
Recommendations as follows
- Suburban gas fueled units- Manufactured from 4th April 2018 to 1st August 2019
- With Serial numbers > From 181315552 to 193002648,
Advise any Owners of Caravans, motorhomes and camper trailers that there is potential safety risk while operating the below appliances on LP gas:
Model Numbers Affected: SW6DEA, SW4DEA, SW4DECA, SW6PA, SW6DA, SW4DA, SW6DECA (dual fuel)
Serial Numbers affected: From 181315552 to 193002648-Manufactured from 4th April 2018 to 1st August 2019
Stop using the appliance immediately and check whether your hot water heater is listed above. You can find the model number on the data plate.
- If your water heater is confirmed to be one of the model numbers listed above, then it must NOT be used until rectified by an authorised Suburban agent or dealership
- The gas isolation valve to the appliance must be turned off, until the appliance & installation has been rectified
- The safety issues only apply while the appliance is operating on gas. If your suburban water heater can operate from a 12 or 240 volt supply as well as from LP gas, it is safe to continue operating the appliance from 12 or 240 volts only.
- All Gas Work Licence holders who comes across one of the affected model numbers must advise the owner and refrain from certifying the gas system as compliant until the unit has been rectified.
In summary for gas fitters
The supply and installation of new Suburban Water Heaters covered by the suspended certificate is prohibited for the duration of the suspension and until further notice.
Suburban Water Heaters identified by the model and serial numbers in the table above cannot be certified as part of an inspection of a used vehicle gas system for resale until further notice.
Recommendations for SUBURBAN Water Heaters NOT identified in the above information
Suburban Water Heaters not identified in the table above should be checked to ensure safe operation, including correct combustion characteristics and products of combustion cannot enter the habitable space, prior to issuing a Gas System Compliance Certificate.
- A combustion analysis and safety test of the combustion must be carried out
- The maximum recommended CO/CO2 ratio is 0.004 to a maximum of 0.01
- Inspect and test the appliance to ensure products of combustion cannot enter the habitable space of the caravan and confirm that the appliance is room sealed.
Should any of the above tests fail or these tests can not be carried out then disconnect the appliance and make it safe:
- If you cannot confirm the appliance is safe, then it would be in the best interest to replace the suspended unit with a currently approved alternative new Hot Water.
- Gasfitters should document the process and record the process on a check sheet to confirm the appliance is safe and positively record the results and actions taken.
Gas Fitters this is a timely reminder before installing any Type A gas appliance, always check the GTRC.GOV.AU products certification registers to confirm the Type A gas appliance is or was type test and gas approved and not suspended or canceled
- If you would like to find out how to become a member of the QGA or for further information and assistance please contact the Queensland Gas Association Inc on Phone 1300 792 239 for further information or email email@example.com
- This article was kindly provided by the Queensland Gas Association Inc – the voice of the gas industry in Queensland.
Bizmatrix offers specific training that covers the correct testing techniques that are required for the above.
We recommend when installing, certifying or servicing appliances, especially room seal or critical combustion appliances. The gasfitter should complete a combustion analysis and testing during the service to confirm the appliance is operating safely in the combustion limits.
Additionally, the tests assist with the appliance being tuned and calibrated to prevent excessive fuel usage, which will lead to a more efficient appliance and definite fuel savings-
The benefits of doing combustion analysis check- with a Combustion Analyzer
- Confirm the appliance is operating efficiently and safely with in the correct CO/CO2 ratio limits.
- Less unburnt fuel emitting from the appliance causing an unsafe situation.
- Energy savings- less fuel costs as the appliance is operating correctly.
- The appliance is operating at optimum as designed and confirmed by the Combustion.
- The appliance is operating safely and correctly as designed.
- A happy and safe customer/owner of the appliance.
- A compliant and safe appliance.
The process should be structured and follow the step by step procedure and check verification sheet where the tests are recorded and kept on record.
- Service Type A gas appliances course- with a detailed combustion analysis.
- Caravan Appliance testing courses – includes combustion analysis. ( One-Two day Course)
- Test verification – check sheet training for gas appliances.- ( One Day Course )
- Combustion analysis training included.
Or contact us directly on 0457 595 888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and express interest and more information for the above short courses.
Expressions of interest – courses to commence in late November -December 2019