LPG (Liquid Propane Gas) cylinders are a versatile means of powering heating and cooking equipment. In winter they enable portable cabinet heaters to provide instant warmth to cold rooms, and in summer they fuel that great Kiwi pastime – the backyard barbecue.
To keep these useful appliances safe they need to be adequately cared for and maintained – they are, after all, pressurized containers of a flammable liquid.
In New Zealand LPG cylinders are required by law to be certified by an authorized LPG testing facility once every ten years. Your cylinder should have its current test date displayed on the collar around it’s valve assembly.
Your cylinder should also show a “diamond” dangerous goods label and a “Dangerous Flammable Gas” warning sticker.
LPG cylinders should not be exposed to excessive heat.
The hose used with a LPG cylinder should be kept free of kinks and splits and should be made from material specifically designed to for LPG use. LPG can rot some natural rubbers and hoses which are not marked “LPG” should not be used.
Liquid Propane Gas is not the same as Natural Gas and LPG cylinders should not be connected to appliances which have been set up for Natural Gas.
Never attempt to interfere with or remove the cylinder fittings or safety valve. If something isn’t working properly, take the cylinder for professional assessment and repair.
Always close the cylinder valve completely before disconnecting the cylinder from any appliance.
Transport and Storage
Transport and store your LPG cylinder in an upright position so that the safety valve remains in contact with the vapour space and not with the liquid LPG.
During transport cylinders should be secured so that they can’t move about. Cylinders should also be disconnected from any appliance while they are being transported.
Store your cylinder in an area with good ventilation and away from excess heat and sources of fire.
Never leave an LPG cylinder in a hot car for long periods of time.
If you suspect your LPG cylinder is leaking test with soapy water – the bubbles will show you the location of the leak.
If you can stop the leak by shutting off the cylinder valve, do so. If you cannot, place the cylinder in a safe outdoor location away from people and sources of ignition. Position the cylinder so that gas, rather than liquid, escapes. Keep your face and body clear of the leak while doing this and ensure your safety by avoiding contact with any escaping liquid.
If the leak occurred while the cylinder was inside your house, ventilate the room thoroughly.
When the cylinder is safe to transport i.e. when the gas has been exhausted, take the cylinder for evaluation by a professional.
Regular Safety Checks
Regular safety checks will ensure that your LPG cylinder doesn’t become a threat to your family. Add a little maintenance and some commonsense and your LPG cylinder should be safe to use for many summer barbecues to come.LPG Gas Cylinders – How to Keep them Safe,