Gas is used widely across Australia and is generally safe, convenient and affordable if you understand a few basic principles. Gas appliances have to be well ventilated - if there is not enough fresh air circulating in the room where a gas appliance is being used, carbon monoxide gas may build up with potentially fatal effects.
For that reason, appliances that do not have a flue to remove fumes must not be used in small rooms like bedrooms and bathrooms - in kitchens, a rangehood serves as a flue for your gas cooktop.
If you do have flued gas appliances, you need to make sure that the flue is working properly, and that it doesn't ever become blocked or obstructed. Carbon monoxide is odourless, and a leak can easily kill you without you realising what's happening.
Regular servicing and inspection of gas appliances, particularly wall and floor heaters and gas ovens and cooktops is something you should have done regularly.
Take note of these gas safety tips:
- Installation and service gas appliances may only be done by a qualified, registered plumber or gasfitter
- Always ensure LPG and natural gas appliances are used with the appropriate type of gas
- Always ensure gas meters and pressure regulators are in a safe condition and free from damage
- Different regulators/burners are needed for LPG and natural gas – so don’t think you can easily convert your LP gas fired BBQ over to natural gas
- Light a match or press the ignition button BEFORE turning on your gas burner
- If a gas burner will not light, turn off the gas and wait at least five minutes for the smell to clear before trying again. Never turn the gas up to maximum before igniting it.
- Your gas burner should produce a blue flame. Call a technician if the flame is yellow, black or red
- Store any flammable items well away from your gas appliances - especially those with an exposed flame like a cooktop
- Switch gas heaters off when sleeping or leaving your home
- Keep outdoor gas appliances outside, never use them indoors
- Unflued heaters require permanent ventilation. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions in regard to ventilation.
- Use only appliances and equipment approved by the Australian Gas Association (AGA) – look for the appropriate Approval Certification Badge on the fitting or appliance before you buy.
- Never allow children to operate gas appliances
Safety should be followed inside and outside the home. Here are some more tips to help you safely use your gas products.
How to tell if your gas appliances have a problem
There are a few hints that may indicate that your gas appliances may not be operating as they're supposed to. Things to look for include:
- Gas burning with a yellow rather than a blue flame (apart from some flame effect heaters)
- Soot deposited in or around the appliance
- Flames not burning irregularly or in the wrong directions
- Unpleasant smells
If you notice any of these problems, stop using the appliance and contact a gasfitter immediately. Even if it doesn't appear that there's a problem, you may be at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- SA/QLD/NT 1800 808 526
- NSW 1800 676 300
- VIC 13 27 71
- TAS 180 2111
- ACT 13 19 09
- WA 13 13 52