Dangerous water heaters

Mogens JohansenThe West Australian
Suburban Recreational Vehicle water heater.
Camera IconSuburban Recreational Vehicle water heater. Credit: Supplied

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is urging consumers to check their caravans and recreational vehicles for dangerous Suburban-branded water heaters which may emit deadly carbon monoxide.

The Suburban Recreational Vehicle water heater can operate using electricity or gas, and may produce unsafe levels of carbon monoxide when gas is used to generate the heat.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause death, and exposure for a short amount of time can lead to serious injuries. Carbon monoxide has no smell and is unlikely to be detected. It is also highly flammable and can explode on contact with a spark or flame.

“Do not use the affected water heaters in gas mode under any circumstances,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“It’s especially important to check your caravan’s water heater as soon as possible if you plan to go away during the summer holidays. It only takes a minute and it could save the lives of your loved ones.”

“We are concerned that a large number of deadly heaters remain in caravans and RVs because owners have not yet contacted Coast to Coast for an inspection. Coast to Coast Caravan and Leisure has recalled these heaters due to the serious hazards they present. Owners should not take this issue lightly and act quickly,” Ms Rickard said.

The affected products are the Suburban Recreational Vehicle Water Heaters with model numbers SW6DEA, SW6DA, SW4DEA, SW4DA, SW4DECA, SW6DECA and SW6PA that have serial numbers between 181315552 and 193002648 (some serial numbers may end with a 'D') and between 8183311827 and 8190201139. They were manufactured between April 4 2018 and August 1 2019.

Consumers can check if their heater is affected by opening the exterior access door to the hot water service and checking the model and serial number located on the right hand side. They should then enter the serial number at the Coast to Coast website.

Serial number on a Suburban water heater
Camera IconSerial number on a Suburban water heater Credit: Supplied

“Anyone with an affected water heater should urgently contact Coast to Coast Caravan and Leisure on 02 9645 7685 who will arrange for a licensed gas fitter to inspect their water heater free of charge,” Ms Rickard said.

Consumers will not have to cover any costs related to the supply and installation of the new water heater, or any required associated work, such as the modification of cavity and gas and/or water lines.

Coast to Coast Caravan and Leisure will check every unit, after being contacted by consumers, to ensure the water heater is properly installed and if needed, will replace the unit through a licenced gas fitter free of charge.

Consumers who experience difficulties obtaining a timely remedy should contact Coast to Coast Caravan and Leisure, their state or territory gas regulator or the ACCC online.

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