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By Citizen Reporter


Daily hacks: How to use gas safely when cooking and heating your home

Some people believe gas is an affordable and reliable alternative to electricity but it can pose safety risks when used incorrectly.

Gauteng recently experienced the coldest night of the year thus far and other provinces seem to be following suit. As a result, people are breaking out the heaters, both gas and electric, and they are also turning to a number of other ways to keep warm.

One of the most popular ways people keep warm is through the use of gas heaters.

Gas is believed to be an affordable alternative to electricity when cooking and heating the home, and it is also more reliable than electricity in a country plagued by load shedding. 

However, gas poses some risks when used incorrectly.

Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind when using gas to cook and keep warm this winter.

Place your cylinder correctly

The Liquefied Petroleum Association of South Africa (LPGSA) states that it is important to store gas containers in designated compartments to ensure safety.

When using a container with a heater, ensure that the container is the right size – usually 9kg in most indoor heaters – and placed inside the compartment in the heater.

Only use approved refillers

“To refill your gas cylinder, make sure that it is being done from an approved refiller. When refilling the cylinder, you have the right to ask the dealer to show some form of identification that proves that they are an authorized dealer,” advises talk radio station 702 after a chat with LPGSA MD Gadibolae Dihlabi. 

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Dihlabi explained that this matters, because it is important that the cylinder goes through a safety check every time it is refilled.

To check if a refiller is authorised, you can contact the cylinder’s company to see if they are an authorised dealer. Unauthorised dealers can be reported to LPGSA on  011 886 9702. 

Don’t dispose of the plastic wrap around your gas valve

“It has to be an Easigas bottle with an Easigas wrap on it but to go further, there must be a serial number on it. Keep that plastic wrap when you get home. Don’t dispose of it until you have finished your gas for in case something goes wrong,” Dihlabi told 702’s Bongani Bingwa.

Gas bottles refilled and exchanged at official traders are supposed to have a plastic shield wrap on the valve and that wrap is supposed to clearly feature the brand’s name match as well as a unique serial number.

“If it is a plain wrap or simply written LPG or LPG Gas, it is unauthorized and should not be purchased.”

Check and service your heater regularly

Australian state government website Better Health advises having your gas heater serviced and tested by an appropriately trained and licensed gasfitter at least once every 2 years.

Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure

“Health problems that seem worse or only occur when the heating is on may be caused by carbon monoxide from a faulty gas heater. Be aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure and seek medical attention if necessary,” advises Better Health. 

You can also buy a carbon monoxide alarm which would be able to alert you in the event that you can’t immediately detect an issue.

Keep the room ventilated

You may be tempted to want to close all your windows and doors to keep the cold out and the heat in, but that is ill-advised. 

Have plenty of ventilation – ventilation is very important as it allows fresh air to come in and fumes to go out.

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Compiled by Kaunda Selisho

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