WITH large parts of the country recently in the grips of sub-polar weather conditions, many homes and workplaces turned to gas heaters to keep warm. But how many users checked them out properly first to make sure they were safe after months of storage?
ASP Fire CEO Michael van Niekerk shared these tips for the next time you fire up your heater.
- All gas appliances have rubber or fibre washers to seal the gas tightly at the point of connection to the gas cylinder. It is important to always check that these washers or seals are in place and in good condition.
- When connecting a gas appliance to the gas cylinder, always ensure that the connection is correct and gas-tight – a smell of gas will occur if the connection is not tight.
- It is essential to keep the gas jets clean. Inspect these for dust and dirt before any appliance is connected to the cylinder.
- When turning the LPG on, turn the valve only one-and-a-half times. When lighting gas appliances without automatic ignition, first light a match or lighter, hold it to the gas burner and then open the gas. The gas will ignite immediately.
- Even on the coldest winter nights, it is important to always have a window slightly open in any room where a gas appliance is being used to ensure that fresh air is readily available.
- When turning the appliance off for the night, shut off the gas supply at the LPG cylinder, which should always be placed on a firm and stable surface.
- Store and transport gas cylinders upright with a sealed protective cap to prevent any damage and potential leaks if they fall over; secure gas cylinders in a clearly demarcated and protected area.
- Use gas containing an odour-causing substance that can be detected in the event of any leaks; install a gas detector.
- Another critical safety factor in terms of gas cylinders is to protect these from any external heat sources. Pressure and temperature have a direct relationship in terms of the fixed volume. As the temperature increases, so does the pressure. If you exceed the maximum temperature that the cylinder is rated for, there will be an explosion.
- Although homeowners do not require certification in order to operate gas cylinders, any gas system must be installed by an accredited company.
- Lastly, and most importantly, take care when using a gas heater: Do not place it too close to items like furniture, curtains or bedding that can catch fire. If you have an electric heater follow the same rules when using a gas heater, but remember to unplug it from the wall socket during load shedding so that it does not come on when the power is restored if the switch is accidently left on.