Safety when heating with gas

By Arrive Alive.

During the cold of winter, our first responders are often attending to incidents of fire and burn! May is Burn Awareness Month and the perfect time to share some safety advice on how to safely use gas for heating.

The Arrive Alive website has developed, in partnership with Afrox, a rather comprehensive section on safety with gas. There are numerous benefits to using Gas/LPG and we would like to ensure that these can be enjoyed with careful consideration to safety. The Liquefied Petroleum Gas Safety Association offered very important guidance on what to do and to avoid when using gas for heating:

Safety with gas heaters

  • It is essential to first take the time to make sure that we know our safety tips and that our gas heaters are safe to use.
  • Always follow manufacturer guidelines carefully – it is a good idea to re-read the instruction manual when you get your heater out of storage for use when that first cold snap hits.
  • Most manufacturers suggest a periodic inspection or service of the appliance or installation. Two years is the most common recommendation.
  • Always check that the bullnose/O-ring/washer is located at the end of the cylinder before attaching the regulator to the cylinder valve. This is the seal between the regulator and the cylinder valve.
  • Check that it is not brittle, cracked or perished.
  • Check that the hose is also in good condition (not brittle or cracked).
  • Do not use outdoor gas heaters indoors. Outdoor gas heaters may create carbon monoxide.
  • Once your gas heater is securely connected to your gas bottle and ready for use, it is important to make sure that it is operated safely.
  • If somebody else is going to be operating the heater, make sure they know how to do so safely.
  • When lighting your appliance, always first light the match or lighter and then turn on the gas supply.
  • Always ensure that the room in use is well-ventilated. If it becomes stuffy, open windows and doors to allow fresh air in immediately.
  • Unvented heaters shouldn’t be used in small-enclosed areas, especially bedrooms because of the potential for a build-up of carbon monoxide.
  • Always turn your heater off before going to bed or leaving your property.
  • Always shut off the gas at the cylinder first – not just at the on/off switch on the heater.
  • Never unscrew/remove the regulator while the heater is still burning.
  • Do not move your unit while it is in use. First turn it off and wait for it to cool down a little before moving it around.
  • Always turn your heater off (at the cylinder first) before going to bed or leaving your property.
  • Do not sit or stand too close to your gas heater.
  • The best bit of parenting advice we can give you is to keep children and pets away from gas heaters – those tiny fingers or paws might just wander into the wrong place.
  • Never place clothes or other items like towels over your heater.
  • Never store household chemicals or combustible materials near gas appliances.
  • Keep gas heaters at least one metre away from all flammable objects including furniture, curtains, books and boxes.
  • Portable gas heater hoses or power cords should not be extended through a doorway into other rooms. A door could accidentally be closed and cause a leak in the hose.
  • With roll-about heaters always ensure that the cylinder is located in the space (cabinet) provided. A cylinder may not be placed outside or alongside the heater.

“The best bit of parenting advice we can give you is to keep children and pets away from gas heaters – those tiny fingers or paws might just wander into the wrong place.”

Connecting an LPG Cylinder and Regulator to a Roll-about Heater Safely

Safety instructions

  • Before connecting the LPG regulator to the gas cylinder, ensure that the rubber seal on the end of the regulator is in place and is in good condition.
  • NB: The cylinder valve thread is a left-hand thread and the regulator hand-wheel must be turned in an anti-clockwise direction [when facing the cylinder valve thread opening) to engage the regulator thread correctly into the cylinder valve.
  • Always make sure that the regulator is fully engaged with the cylinder valve threads and that the hand-wheel is tight. Hand tighten only. Do not use excessive force.
  • When connecting the cylinder, always check for leaks by opening the cylinder valve and then apply a soapy water solution to the joint between the cylinder valve and the regulator. If you find a leak, close the cylinder valve and contact the LP gas dealer who sold you the appliance.
  • When using the heater do not fully open the cylinder valve. Only open it one and a half turns to prevent the possible jamming of the cylinder valve in its open position.
  • The only way to turn off a roll-about heater is by closing the cylinder valve. To do this, turn the cylinder valve control knob in a clockwise direction. If you find that you cannot close the cylinder valve or if the heater will not shut down, carefully wheel the heater outside and away from any flammable materials and let it burn until the cylinder is empty.
  • Please “never” unscrew the regulator from the cylinder valve while the cylinder valve is open or if the heater is alight.

The above information is required by law to be provided on a swing-tag attached to the regulator of all LP-Gas roll-about heaters. If you have purchased a heater which did not have this information on a swing-tag at the time of purchase, please contact the retailer and request the information.