LPG & Natural Gas Safety
Natural Gas and LPG is an instant, reliable, efficient and safe form of energy. However, like any form of energy, it must be treated with respect to prevent accidents. To help ensure you get the most out of your gas supply we have included some safety information below.
Natural gas has a special odour added to it so that gas leaks can be easily detected. Gas leaks smell like sulphur. Kids can recognise this as: ‘it smells like rotten eggs’ or ‘it smells like Rotorua’.
Here’s what to do if you smell gas inside your home:
- Keep flames and cigarettes away from the area
- Do not operate any electrical switches
- Do not use your mobile phone in the area
- If it can be done safely, turn off valves to gas appliances
- Turn off the gas supply at the meter
- Open doors and windows to ventilate the area
If the smell persists, go outside to a safe place away from the building and call your energy or gas provider or a licensed/ certifying gasfitter. Sharp Plumbing services provide free after hours callouts for gas emergencies and are only a phone call away.
If you smell gas outside:
- Keep flames, cigarettes, vehicles, electrical equipment, and mobile phones away from the area
- Turn off the gas supply at the meter
- Leave the area
- Call your energy or gas provider
When natural gas is only partially burnt instead of being completely burnt, carbon monoxide can be produced. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that is colourless, odourless, and tasteless.
Breathing even low levels of carbon monoxide can cause:
- Headaches, nausea, flushed (red) skin, dizziness, a false sense of well- being and tiredness and vomiting.
- Prolonged exposure or high levels of carbon monoxide can lead to collapse, unconsciousness, or even death. If you suspect someone has been exposed to carbon monoxide, move them into fresh air and call an ambulance.
If you suspect carbon monoxide is coming from an appliance, turn it off and ventilate the area if you can do so safely. Don’t use the appliance until a licensed gasfitter has identified and eliminated the cause.
Signs an appliance may not be working properly include:
- A smell similar to a car exhaust
- Soot deposits in or around the appliance
- A change in flame colour from blue to yellow (although some flame effect fires are designed to burn with a yellow flame)
Never stand directly in front of the heater, especially when operating the controls. Cabinet heaters have a very high heat output and may ignite clothing that is too close.
Keep heaters at least one metre away from materials that can burn such as curtains, clothes, furniture and rugs. Never hang clothes on a heater to dry – this is a common cause of fires.
It’s also important to have some sort of protection around heat sources, such as a fire guard, to prevent any injuries. Having a fire guard will significantly reduce the risk of you or your family getting burnt.
Make sure vulnerable people such as children and the infirm are safe around your LPG cabinet heater. Using a fireguard around your heater will give extra protection.
If you have an external LPG bottle system it is very important to have it serviced annually by a qualified gasfitter to remove condensation from the regulator to avoid contamination of your LPG supply.
The legal requirements applicable in New Zealand relating to the safety of second-hand appliances that are offered for sale are contained in the Gas (Safety and Measurement) Regulations 2010. Among other things, a second-hand gas appliance cannot be sold; offered for sale; used or allowed to be used unless it is safe. The seller (or user) must take all practicable steps to ensure that the appliance is safe under all reasonably foreseeable circumstances.
Some heaters may have been converted to run on the opposite form of gas, and if converted they must have been changed over by a certified gasfitter as the only qualified person to do this type of work, and they will have also had their label changed accordingly.
A heater configured to run on natural gas will have an NG or Natural Gas sticker.
A Gasfitting Certification Certificate is required for all new gas installations and most alterations to existing installations in your home or business. Make sure your certifying gasfitter gives you a certificate to confirm the work was completed safely and in accordance with the gas regulations and manufacturer’s instructions. You should receive a certificate no later than 20 days after the work has been completed.
For tenants renting properties with gas they need to be made aware of the supply and how the appliances work. Sharp Plumbing Services recommend a gas rental check at the beginning of each new tenancy.
As the old saying goes, if in doubt- get it checked out. Especially for heaters over 4 years old, out of storage and even more importantly if it is second hand.
It is wise to have flame effect fireplaces, flueless gas appliances and LPG cabinet heaters serviced annually.
Other types of gas heaters and hot water heaters should be serviced at least every second year.
Call 06 343 6297 or 027 936 2247 if you require a service, safety report or safety check of your gas appliances by a certifying gasfitter or alternatively contact us via email if you are unsure about the form of gas your heater uses or if you have any concerns about the safety of your gas appliances or suspect a fault in your home.