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How to safely and legally install gas appliances in your home

Kitting out a kitchen or your home with gas appliances is a smart solution if there is going to be continued load shedding for a long time.

Were you aware of the fact that all gas appliances must be installed according to the Occupation Health and Safety Act? The installation of gas appliances as an alternative to electrical appliances has resulted in many homes being fitted with only gas appliances or a combination of gas and electric appliances.

The reason for this increase is glaringly obvious; load shedding is making it increasingly difficult for the average home to operate as a family unit should.

READ: Gas safety | How to switch to gas as a cheaper energy source

The Health and Safety Act requires that all gas appliances be installed according to health and safety regulations, mainly due to the fact that incorrect installation of these appliances can result in dangers that may result in damage to property or even death. It was too easy for the average person to simply install gas appliances without considering the implications if done incorrectly.

When gas appliances are installed in line with regulations certain guidelines remain as regards the safe use of gas appliances. You will find these guidelines under the SANS standard for gas installation and safe usage. Visit sabs.co.za for more information in this regard.

The installation procedure for all home gas appliances must receive a Certificate of Compliance (COC) from the installer and this installer must be an authorised installation agent that is registered with the LP Gas Association of South Africa (lpgas.co.za) or one that is qualified with the South African Qualification and Certification Committee (SAQCC).

READ: Is a compliance certificate required when solar energy is used?

What happens if you install gas appliances without a COC, you may ask?

In the event of damage to a property, your insurance will not cover this without a valid COC.

A home insurance company can refuse a claim for damage caused by gas appliances not installed by a registered installer and without a Certificate of Compliance.

If you still have existing appliances installed in your home, the onus is on you to ensure that they meet health and safety standards. The COC covers gas heaters, gas stovetops, hobs, or ovens, as well as gas grills and braais. Gas fireplaces and hot water systems must have a COC. If you are not covered make the soonest appointment to have a registered gas installer inspect gas appliances and issue a COC as there are strict regulations as concerns minimum distances for gas cylinders in relation to entry and exit points in the home, windows, drains and electrical / power outlets.

Gas appliances not correctly installed could result in a gas leak that will have major health and safety implications for you and your family, and that does not include the danger of damage to a property as a result of an explosion.

According to thegasman.co.za regulations apply to any existing or new gas installations and these regulations must be adhered to in order for a Certificate of Compliance to be issued. Copy and paste the link for full details on regulations relating to the installation of gas appliances in a home.

READ: Building vs Home contents | Know exactly what your insurance covers

Nirvan Brijlal, Acting Managing Director of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association of South Africa (LPGSA),it is extremely important that you make use of registered professionals to perform the installation and maintenance of LPG appliances and cylinders.

Used in accordance with safety guidelines, LPG is a clean, reliable alternative to other fuels. The following tips will ensure that you are able to use your appliance safely and effectively.  

General safety tips

  • Always consult the manual that came with the appliance for specific safety tips.
  • Keep LPG appliances and fittings in good condition via regular servicing.
  • LPG appliances should be serviced by licensed LPG installers or service companies only.
  • Check your appliances regularly for deterioration in performance, signs of corrosion and minor leaks.
  • Make sure that the area in which you use your LPG appliance is well-ventilated.
  • Do not detach cylinders, regulators or any connections while the LPG appliance is in use.
  • Do not leave appliances unattended while in use.
  • Ensure that the gas supply is turned off at the cylinder after use and while the appliance is unattended.

Refilling your LPG cylinder:

  • Check that your gas cylinder is correctly filled or exchanged in good time
  • When exchanging your empty cylinder for a filled one, make sure that your replacement cylinder has been legally and safely filled by checking that there is a shrink wrap seal covering the cylinder valve.
  • Do not accept the cylinder if there is no seal or if the seal is clear with no writing or branding.
  • If the seal only has the words LPG or LPGas printed on it, do not accept the cylinder – even if the seal is a coloured one.
  • The only acceptable seal is one that has the same branding on the seal as is on the body of the cylinder.

Connecting your new cylinder

  • Always make sure you are working in a well-ventilated area.
  • Roll-about heaters are connected to the LPG cylinder via an orange hose and a regulator – the regulator screws into the cylinder valve. - Always ensure that the cylinder valve is closed before loosening/removing the regulator.
  • Check that there is a rubber seal on the end of the regulator. The rubber seal is also referred to as a bullnose, O-ring or washer, and is the seal between the regulator and the cylinder valve.
  • Ensure that the rubber seal is located on the end of the regulator and is in good condition and not perished, cracked or damaged in any way. The seals can become brittle over time, may split or even become lodged inside the valve of the LPG cylinder.
  • A damaged seal is a prime cause of gas leaks. Seals should be checked regularly. - Remember, the regulator has a left-hand thread. So, to connect the regulator, you need to turn it in an anti-clockwise direction. To remove the regulator, turn it clockwise.

Checking for gas leaks

  • Once you have connected the regulator to the cylinder valve, open the valve one and a half turns only – it is not necessary to open it further.
  • Before igniting the heater, wait a half a minute or so to see if there is any smell of gas.
  • If there is a smell, immediately close the valve and take the cylinder and heater to an LPG dealer to check and, if necessary, service the heater.
  • You can also check for a leak by applying a soapy water solution on all joints. The soapy solution will create bubbles if the gas is leaking.
  • Once you have checked for leaks you should lift the gas cylinder into the housing behind the LPG heater and close the housing panel or backing plate.
  • It is important that the LPG cylinder is in the space at the back of the heater to prevent the cylinder being knocked over.
  • Make sure you use the correct size of cylinder for the heater you are using.
  • Once the cylinder is safely in place and there is no combustible material (e.g. Curtains, blankets, doily) close to or on top of the heater, ignite the heater. 
  • Contact today to do your gas installation with a Coc 
  • TEL: 083 592 5450