The Alternative Technology Association (ATA) has called on gas heater manufacturers to be more honest and transparent after a report found gas heaters used more energy than claimed on their labels.

The ATA believes many people will be spending hundreds of dollars more to heat their homes than gas heater manufacturers claim.

The report, Gas Space Heaters – Performance Testing and Energy Labelling – released today by the Federal Government's Energy Rating Program, said
claims made on gas heater labels "were found to be largely unreliable for consumer decision making."

The report found gas heaters did not perform to their star ratings, with ducted heaters among the worst offenders, but flued and flueless heaters were also labelled inaccurately. Only one of 13 tested flued heaters used the same amount of energy as the label stated, while none of the flueless units tested stated accurately their annual energy consumption.

Decorative gas heaters with visible flames could cost $1000 a year to run even if they were never switched on due to pilot lights and electric loads.

Craig Memery, the ATA's energy consumer advocate, said people were being ripped off by inaccurate labelling.

"Many consumers who have paid more for what they believe are efficient products will not be getting what they deserve," he said.
"When you add rising gas prices to the equation, some people face paying double the running cost that they expected when they purchased their gas heater."

Mr Memery called on gas heater manufacturers to improve the accuracy of their labelling and be more honest with consumers.

"Manufacturers aren't to blame for the gas price rises, but they need to lift their game in terms of informing consumers about the true cost of running gas heaters."

The ATA is Australia's leading not-for-profit organisation promoting sustainable living.