LP Gas... the convenient standby for power outages
The use of LP gas in the home is a popular choice for many as we look for options during power outages and to cut down on the monthly electricity bill.
LP gas is liquid gas available in pressurised cylinders and, other than gas supplied via municipal gas lines, is the most convenient form of gas for use in the home. LP gas offers an alternative for households when used properly.
There are guidelines that should be followed to ensure the safe use.
Buying cylinders and gas
Gas cylinders work on an exchange system - unless you own your own smaller gas cylinders - usually 3kg, 4,5kg or 7kg size, in which case you can refill as and when required. However, whether rented or owned, it is important that you only purchase gas at an authorised dealer, such as specialist gas suppliers, hardware stores or retail outlets. Many service stations also offer a refilling or swap exchange service for gas cylinders.
The in-situ method is the best option for larger or whole house cylinder installations. Upkeep and maintenance of the cylinders and valves remain the responsibility of the accredited installer / supplier and they perform the necessary tests and maintenance to ensure that these components remain safe. An installer / supplier will also undertake proper fitting and installation of the cylinders.
GOOD TO KNOW:
In its natural state the gas is odourless. For safety reasons a chemical agent is added to the gas to give it its distinctive odour - allowing for detection of any leaks.
Gas cylinders are fitted with a regulator and these differ according to the size of the container. Smaller, domestic containers are fitted with a 3/8th thread, while larger cylinders (from 9kg up) have a 5/8th thread. Your local Builders stock both types of regulators if you are buying your own, smaller cylinder.
Re-filling gas cylinders
Gas cylinders are never filled to capacity to allow for gas to expand and contract. To test when a cylinder is empty you can give it a shake and be able to hear how much liquid is still inside. Overfilled gas cylinders are a known source of fire risk, which is why it is important to only have cylinders filled or exchanged at an authorised dealer.
Before transporting tightly close the valve on the gas cylinder and remove the regulator. Keep the container upright during transport and repeat this when returning and fitting a full container. Should you detect any odour it is important to act immediately. Check that the valve is closed and take the cylinder outdoors. Ventilate the inside area to prevent any gas build up.
Check for leaks in the valve, regulator and pipe by using a soapy solution, such as dishwashing liquid. The soapy solution will bubble if there are any leaks.
GOOD TO KNOW:
◊ - When using gas allow some ventilation to prevent a build up of carbon monoxide in the home.
◊ - Gas cylinders should be kept at least one metre away from any sources of heat. Store in a cool,dry place when not in use.
◊ - Cylinders should be stored upright.
◊ - Only allow an accredited agent to install gas cylinders for fitted appliances.
◊ - Use a lit taper or ignite an electronic lighter before opening the gas flow.
For more information on the safe use of LP gas visit www.lpgas.co.za