Gas Safety Tips in the Home

A recent home fire in Lonehill, which started due to an explosion of a gas bottle, highlights the need for safety when using gas heaters and other gas appliances in the home. The gas safety tips outlined below will help to prevent accidents and fires when using gas home appliances indoors.

Gas Cylinder Safety

1.    Store gas cylinders upright in a well-ventilated area that is  situated away from open flames, power outlets and electrical appliances.
2.    Do not store gas bottles in a closed room or cellar, as gas is denser than air and will sink, resulting in a flammable mix of air and gas collecting in low points. 
3.    Never store gas cylinders in an area where they can get hot, as this causes the gas within them to expand. Keep gas cylinders clear of all heat sources and avoid storing in areas where they will be exposed to direct sunlight.
4.    Always ensure that a hose that is specifically designed to be  used with liquid petroleum gas (LPG) is fitted and that it does not exceed 2 meters in length, the hose should also have clamps fitted at both ends to avoid gas leakage. Gas hoses need to be replaced every two years as these perish over time.
5.    All gas cylinders need to be fitted with a regulator that is specifically designed for regulating the pressure of LPG at varying temperatures.     
6.    Connect the pressure regulator to the gas cylinder as per the instructions provided and refrain from opening either the regulator tap or gas cylinder valve before the pressure regulator has been securely attached.  
7.    Before connecting a new gas cylinder, check the washer and/or rubber o-ring of the pressure regulator or gas valve; if it looks perished or shows any sign of damage, have it replaced before using your gas appliance.
8.    Because gas is highly flammable and just requires an ignition source to ignite, refrain from smoking when connecting a gas cylinder to a gas heater or any other gas appliance, and never use a flame to check for gas leaks.     

Gas Heater Safety

1.    Always read the owner's manual before using your gas equipment, and follow the manufacturers instructions and guidelines carefully when fitting components or using the appliance.
2.    Ensure that your gas heater and all its components are in good working condition and have been serviced and maintained according to the manufacturers recommendations. 
3.    Never leave a gas heater unattended — ensure that it is turned off before retiring to bed or before you leave your home.
4.    Refrain from using flammable materials, aerosols or sprays anywhere near the gas heater. 
5.    Don't sit or stand too close to a gas heater when it is in use, as this can be hazardous or result in gas burns.
6.    Ensure that your gas heater is at least 1 meter away from any object that could ignite, such as curtains, furniture, books, etc. 
7.    Never hang towels, socks or garments over a gas heater to warm or dry them as this presents a fire hazard.
8.    Ensure that your gas heater is positioned away from pets and children when in use.
9.    To avoid carbon monoxide build-up, which can be fatal, ensure that there is adequate ventilation when using a gas heater indoors, especially in small spaces; and never use an outdoor gas heater that is designed for patio use, indoors.
10.    Refrain from moving your gas heater around when it is on; rather switch it off, giving it a chance to cool down, before you move it to another spot.
11.    Do not extend a hose from a gas heater through a doorway into an adjacent room; if a door closes on the hose it could result in a leak.
12.    Check that your gas appliance is certified by the Liquid Petroleum Gas Safety Association — check for their logo/sticker on the packaging or appliance itself, or check the safe appliance database listed on their website.

If You Smell Gas

1.    Should you smell gas, turn off the gas by turning the valve on the gas bottle clockwise — remember lefty, loosey; righty, tighty.
2.    Refrain from lighting a match, cigarette lighter, or any other source of flame or spark.
3.    Don't use telephones, appliances or light switches; and never try to use an electric fan to disperse the gas.
4.    Open windows and doors to ventilate the area, then leave, giving the gas sufficient time to disperse before returning. Bear in mind that because LPG is denser than air, it can sink and accumulate in lower areas where you may not smell it so readily.
5.    Get your gas cylinder and/or gas appliance checked by a certified gas technician before turning it on again.

Lastly, always ensure that you have the adequate Gas Compliance Certificate for your gas appliances such as a gas stove before you sell your property. 

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