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LPG Cabinet Heater Safety in NZ

Cabinet heaters are a great and handy source of heat.

To enjoy your heater safely, please observe the following advice.

Tips for Using an LPG Cabinet Heater

LPG Cabinet Heater• Get your heater and cylinder checked every year by an LPG service agent – the start of winter is the perfect time to get this done. 

• When you connect gas cylinder, the connection between the cylinder and the heater by applying soapy water – bubbles indicate a leak.  See instructions below.

• Check for obvious signs of damage to hoses and the appliance.

• Connection fittings may have small rubber O-rings – check these for damage regularly.

• Children or infirm people should always be supervised around LPG heaters.

• Keep grills and vents clear of obstructions, and free of lint and dust.

• A maximum of 20 kg of LPG can be kept indoors and no cylinder can exceed 10 kg.

• Use your nose. If you smell gas, turn off the heater and cylinder immediately, and don’t use it again until you have had it checked by an LPG service agent.

• Because they’re unflued, portable gas heaters need to be treated with special care.

• If someone in your house has asthma, avoid using an LPG heater, the flue products can be irritating.

Please see 25 LPG Gas Heater Safety Tips

How to Do the Soapy Water Test

When to Test

The gas bottle, regulator & hose assembly should be checked for leaks, using the soapy water leak test, every time you reconnect your regulator to the gas bottle.

You should also test after any long period of non-use, such as at the beginning of heating season.

No Ammonia

Your BBQ valve and fittings are made from brass. 

You must never use any soapy water solution that contains ammonia, when you do your testing.

Ammonia can cause brass to become brittle and crack.

Be aware that ammonia is found in many pre-prepared glass and surface cleaners, so make sure you read the label before use.

How to Do a Gas Leak Test

soapy water spray testPut some soapy water in a spray bottle or a dish. 

Turn on the LPG gas bottle without turning on the BBQ.  This pressurises the system. 

Next, spray the entire valve, regulator and hose assembly with the soapy water. 

Alternatively, you can apply the soapy water with a paint brush, basting brush or it can even be sponged on.

Soapy water bubblesBubbles will form if there is a gas leak and you may also smell the gas.

You need to test the entire assembly from the gas bottle valve all the way to where the gas hose attaches to the BBQ. 

When done, rinse with clean water to remove the soap solution.

Remember to always test the lot every time you re-connect your gas bottle.

If you find a leak, turn off the gas bottle immediately! 

Do not turn back on or attempt to use the heater until the problem is rectified.

Cabinet Heater Placement & Ventilation

Don’t use in a small space – remember not to use LPG cabinet heaters in a confined space like a bedroom, bathroom, cabin or caravan.

Keep your distance – keep your heater at least one metre away from anything that could catch fire and put up a safety guard if you have young children or pets, or the area has a lot of foot traffic.

Ventilate – allow fresh air to circulate through the room – by keeping a window ajar you remove carbon dioxide emissions and reduce condensation.

If You Smell Gas

smelling gasIf you smell gas indoors, get out of the house immediately.

If you can smell gas this means there is a gas leak which can cause a fire or explosion.

Once in a safe spot – call your gas supplier or a gasfitter.

Don’t turn any electrical appliances or switches on or off – a flick on or off could cause a spark and ignite the gas. This includes your phone or other mobile device.

Keep flames and cigarettes out of the room and away from the area.

Only if it’s safe to do so, also:

• Turn off all gas appliances.

• Turn off the gas supply at the meter or LPG cylinder.

• Open doors and windows.

Maintain Your Heater

Gas heaters are great for keeping warm but they can be deadly if not maintained properly.

If gas heaters are faulty or poorly maintained, or don’t get enough air to operate, they won’t burn the gas properly.

In extreme cases that means they will emit toxic carbon monoxide and other unpleasant gases.

Carbon monoxide can be lethal as it can’t be seen and has no smell. It can cause death or chronic illness.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen in any home or building that uses gas heating, including newer ones.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide poisoning

Properly functioning gas appliances are quite safe when used as intended. 

As discussed, outdoor units may generate carbon monoxide, typically due to incomplete combustion. 

This is why they require unrestricted ventilation.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include persistent tiredness, shortness of breath, headaches, nausea, vomiting and loss of consciousness. 

If you experience any signs of carbon monoxide poisoning while operating any gas appliance, you should stop using it immediately, move to an area where you can breathe fresh air and seek medical attention.

 

 

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The information in this article is derived from various sources and is believed to be correct at the time of publication. However, the information may not be error free & may not be applicable in all circumstances.

Partial Source & Copyright: WorkSafe NZ

NZ Gas Bottle Installation Regulations - Location

It is important that new LPG installations include the proper placement of the cylinders to meet the applicable New Zealand Standards.

An additional consideration is the method of filling. 

Installing the cylinders so that they are suitable for either tanker filling or cylinder exchange gives you more options and may save you money on the delivery of your LPG, with tanker filling.

Whenever possible, the cylinders should be installed to conform to the in-situ filling requirements. 

In addition, tanker deliveries require an unobstructed line-of-sight between the cylinders and the tanker. 

In most cases this means that the cylinders will need to be on the side of the home or commercial structure and not on the backside of the building.

You will appreciate this extra bit of planning and care when you site your new cylinders.

NZ LPG Gas Bottle Location Regulations

45kg gas bottkesIn summary:

1. Gas bottles must be placed safely away from ignition sources — primarily electrical devices and flames — in the event of a leak.

2. Gas bottles cannot be placed close to wall openings, including windows, doors and vents, to preclude possible entry and collection of gas in enclosed spaces.

3. Gas bottles must be a safe distance from openings to below ground spaces, for instance drains and pits, to prevent any possible build up of the heavier than air LPG.

4. Gas bottles must be placed in well ventilated locations, avoiding alcoves and enclosures, to prevent possible accumulations of gas.

5. Gas bottles must be placed on a solid base that is not subject to the accumulation of water.

6. Line of sight must be maintained for in situ tanker deliveries.

Please read more for additional information and the required safe distances for placement…

Why You Need to Know

In addition, homeowners need to understand the requirements if they install other devices, such as air conditioners, after the gas installation is already complete. 
Tradesmen, other than gas fitters, would not necessarily understand the required clearance and placement restrictions when they install other gear on your home.
Adding LPG to your all-electric home? See How To Add LPG Gas to Your Home 
While your gas fitter will be well versed in proper gas cylinder placement, you should also be knowledgeable regarding the requirements:

Wall Openings and Drains

In the unlikely event of a gas leak, you want to minimise the chance of gas entering any enclosed area, so a safe distance must be maintained from all wall openings. 
Drains and pits are also an issue, as LPG is heavier than air and can collect in low set places. 
The graphic below shows the minimum distance clearance to be maintained from various wall openings and drains:

 

For installations of less than 100kg of gas:

 

 

For installations of greater than 100kg of gas:

Line-of-Sight to Tanker

You will also note the reference to tanker line-of-sight in the graphic above. 
Tanker delivery requires that the driver has a clear line-of-sight between the cylinders and the tanker while he is filling your cylinders. 
Automatic tanker delivery eliminates the need to check gas bottles or order gas, so it is wise to make sure your placement allows for this convenient delivery option.  
It is best to advise your gas fitter of your desire for tanker delivery, as he may not necessarily consider this.

Ignition Sources

A light switch can be an ignition sourceIgnition sources must also be kept a minimum safe distance clearance from the LPG gas cylinders. 
This includes all electrical gear like electrical switches, power points, air conditioners, compressors, pumps, lights, movement sensors, bug zappers, etc. 
Basically anything that can potentially spark. 
Of course, it also includes your gas hot water heater, pool heater, barbecues, patio heaters or anything else with a flame.
The distance also varies based on whether you have tanker delivery or gas cylinder exchange
On site filling does require a larger exclusion zone but it should be used, if possible, so you can enjoy the advantages of automatic tanker delivery.  

NBN (Internet) Connection Boxes

NBN Internet Connection BoxRegarding the National Broadband Network (NBN) installation, the comms boxes used (see image) cannot be installed inside the exclusion zone of an LPG cylinder, as per AS/NZS 1596.
While considered no, or very low voltage, the current standard - AS 60079 - prohibits the installation inside the LPG cylinder exclusion zone.

NZ Regulations

We must design installations which will satisfy external regulations and to ensure that they do, we construct them to principles laid out in a number of Codes and NZ Standards.

The most obvious one is AS/NZS 1596 “LP GAS STORAGE AND HANDLING” covering tank systems, components, installation of both above-ground and under-ground tanks, cylinder installation, cylinder filling setups (i.e. depots), autogas sites, operations and fire safety.

Perhaps not so well-known, but also very important, is AS 2430.3.4, “CLASSIFICATION OF HAZARDOUS AREAS” which defines hazardous zones and distances from sources of ignition. 

An Industry Standard which we apply and the standard predominantly used by gasfitters is AS5601, “GAS INSTALLATION” which defines acceptable materials, installation methods and locations, specific appliance installation requirements and pipesizing. 

It covers mainly domestic and commercial installations whereas industrial installations are installed to the requirements of AS3814 “INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL GAS FIRED APPLIANCES”.

Cylinders under and inside a building and minor storage

Prohibited Locations

Cylinders should not be installed in the following locations:

(a) In an inaccessible location;

(b) Under a stairway;

(c) In a location where there would be no air movement across the cylinder;

(d) Under a building, other than permitted in section 4.5 of of AS/NZS 1596:2008

(e) In a position that would obstruct egress from a building;

(f) Buried in the ground, unless the cylinder and gas installation have been specifically designed for such a location; or

(g) Where damage is likely to occur, unless adequate protection is provided.


Cylinders under a building supported by piers

Where a cylinder is under a building that is supported by piers, the following requirements apply:
(a) No part of the cylinder shall be more than 800 mm within the perimeter of the building‟s walls (see Figure 4.5 Sec 4 of AS/NZS 1596:2008).
(b) The area between the piers shall be:-
(i) open on at least three sides; or
(ii) enclosed by a construction through which cross-ventilation can occur (eg slats or battens) on at least three sides; or
(iii) a combination of Items (i) and (ii) above.
(c) Where the area between the piers is walled in so as to be vapour-proof, the limitation of Item (a) still applies.

 

Cylinders on a verandah


See AS/NZS 1596:2008 Sec 4.4.7


Cylinders in use within buildings


The use of LP Gas cylinders and the retention of reserve or exhausted cylinders indoors shall be avoided, wherever practicable.

 

For information regarding regarding single cylinder installation and multiple cylinder installations, please see: https://lpga.co.nz/aboutUsPractice.php

 

 

 

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Comments, questions or feedback? Please Email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The information in this article is derived from various sources and is believed to be correct at the time of publication. However, the information may not be error free & may not be applicable in all circumstances.