Gas Safety-Gas safety tips from Gas Service Lake Macquarie

 

Gas safety flamesGas safety

The safe use of gas and general gas safety are vital for the safe use of gas installations and gas appliances. The following information was provided by the NSW Fair Trading. Click here for more details

Call Gas Service- gas fitting and Gas Plumbing on

02 4972 0885 for all enquiries

Always treat any gas leak as a potential lethal risk.

If you smell gas in your property:

  • exit the building immediately, call 000 and ask for the NSW Fire Service
  • if safe to do so, turn off the gas at your gas meter or cylinder
  • turn off all appliances (including electrical) and pilot lights
  • open all doors and windows for ventilation – only if safe to do so
  • extinguish all naked flames and ensure cigarettes are not lit
  • contact a licensed gasfitter
  • contact your gas supplier, their phone number can be found on your gas bill.

LP gas safety alert

It is absolutely essential that consumers be aware of the safety issues surrounding all LP gas cylinders, including small cylinders.

LP gas is widely used for barbecues and camping. It is heavier than air, so it will accumulate in low areas rather than dissipate. It can generate an explosive mixture with air if the cylinder or attached equipment leaks.

Explosions and fires have occurred when cylinders of LP gas (propane) or acetylene have been carried or left in closed vehicles, such as vans or cars.

Spark sources in a car’s electrical components such as remote locking systems, electric motors (starter motor, wipers, aerial), ignition systems, radios and sound systems, cigarette lighters, and possibly light switches can ignite the flammable gas mixture. Lighting a cigarette in a vehicle which is carrying flammable gas may also ignite the mixture.

Consumers must ensure that LP gas cylinders are transported in the upright position and are appropriately and firmly secured.

Filling LPG cylinders Gas safety tip

Refillable gas cylinders for use with appliances such as barbeques and gas heaters must only be filled if they have a current, legible test mark of a certified gas cylinder test station which is not more than 10 years old.

Gas cylinder filling stations must only fill gas cylinders that have a current (not more than 10 years old), legible test mark from a certified gas cylinder test station. If a gas filling station, as part of a cylinder exchange, accepts any cylinder that is not appropriately marked, they will have to either:

  • ensure the cylinder is inspected and test station-marked in accordance with the appropriate Australian standard before filling or refilling, or
  • dispose of the cylinder.

Purchasing a new or used refillable cylinder gas safety

Before purchasing a new or used refillable LP gas cylinder, ask the retailer to show you the current (not more than 10 years old), legible test mark and ensure they confirm for you that the cylinder can be legally filled in NSW.

If there is no current legible test mark, the cylinder may not be safe to fill and without the test mark cannot be legally filled in NSW.

If you decide to purchase a cylinder without a current, legible test mark, the cylinder will need to be inspected by a certified gas cylinder test station and stamped with a test mark prior to filling. The test station may charge a fee for inspection and stamping.

Gas water heaters gas safety

Gas water heaters that have not been properly maintained have been responsible for deaths and serious injuries. If you have a gas bath heater or flued instantaneous water heater in your bathroom or a flueless water heater in your kitchen like any of the appliances shown here (see diagram) it could be a source of danger.

Gas Safety water heaters The following advice applies to both natural gas and LPG water heaters.

Flued water heaters gas safety tip

Flued water heaters, using natural or LPG gas, were often installed in bathrooms. They were designed to operate with a flue that vented harmful fumes outside – just like a chimney. If the flue pipe leaks or becomes blocked problems can occur.

Bathrooms are particularly tough on water heaters. The moist environment speeds up corrosion, which causes leaks. Lint, hair, fluff from towels, talcum powder, shampoo and aerosol residue can accumulate within the heater. This can block the airflow needed for the gas burner to operate safely.

Flueless water heaters gas safety tip

Flueless water heaters, also using natural or LPG gas, were designed to work without a flue pipe. However, they still need permanent unobstructed ventilation to operate safely. They were sometimes installed in the kitchen, often in cupboards below the kitchen sink.

If you are uncertain about the type of water heater you have in your home contact the NSW Master Plumbers Association on 1800 424 181 (toll free).

The potential risk gas safety tip

If ventilation is obstructed in either a flued or flueless water heater, poisonous fumes such as carbon monoxide can be forced back into the room contaminating the air you breathe. As carbon monoxide is colourless, odourless and tasteless, you will be unaware of its presence.

If you are renting your home, it is important to bring this safety message to the attention of the property owner, real estate agent or the landlord.

WARNING – Carbon monoxide can cause death or permanent injury if you inhale it in sufficient quantity.

Reducing the risk

The easiest way to reduce the risk is to replace the heater with a new, safer and more energy efficient heater, located outside the building. If you decide to do this, use an authorised gas service agent to carry out the work.

Make sure your water heater (indoor or outdoor) is serviced once a year by a licensed gas fitter.

If you have a water heater in your bathroom disconnect the exhaust fans to avoid circulating poisonous fumes.

Important gas safety tips

Here are some important safety tips to remember:

  • Make sure your water heater is serviced once a year by an authorised gas service agent.
  • Make sure your bathroom and kitchen heaters have unobstructed ventilation.
  • Keep a written report of any maintenance work undertaken and be sure you receive a Certificate of Compliance from the authorised gas service agent.
  • Look out for any signs of discolouration of the water heater or the walls near the heater, as this can indicate dangerous problems with the heater or its flue.
  • Make sure heater flue pipes are free from all restrictions and holes.
  • Disconnect exhaust fans in bathrooms with gas water heaters.
  • Make sure that all new and replacement gas water heaters are installed outside the building.

Need more information or gas safety tips?

For further information contact your gas retailer or the NSW Master Plumbers Association on 1800 424 181 (toll free) or NSW Fair Trading.

This information was produced in conjunction with the Australian Gas Association and NSW Master Plumbers Association.