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
• 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.
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
Put 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.
Bubbles 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
If 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.
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