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How to Safely use a Gas Water Heater

14 June 2020
A gas water heater can be a great alternative energy source, but if installed incorrectly the consequences can be dire. Here are some easy-to-follow pointers from LPGas on getting your gas water heater properly set up.
gas bottle

Hire the services of a Registered LPGas Installer

Always hire a registered LPGas installer to install your water heater. This is essential because the registered installer has received training on how to install LPG appliances in accordance with standards, rules and regulations set out by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS). It is the installer’s job to ensure that the water heater is installed safely and is compliant, thereafter issuing you with a Certificate of Conformity (CoC). A registered LPG installer will have a SAQCC Gas registered licence card. It details the installer’s scope as well as the expiry date of the licence. To check if your installer’s registration is up to date, you can insert their details in the text box on the SAQCC Gas website. Their credentials will be displayed if they are legally permitted to install gas equipment.

Permitted Appliances

Another important point to take note of is to ensure that the LPGas appliance that you have purchased has been manufactured as per the safety standards set out by SABS. All LPG appliance permits can be checked on the Safe Appliance website by entering the appliance’s model number, available on the data badge, into the search tab.

Water Heater Type and Installation Requirements

There are several types of LPG water heaters that deliver differing quantities of hot water. Broadly speaking, LPG water heaters are described as being suited for either indoor or outdoor installation. Always consult with a registered installer for advice regarding the best type of LPG water heater to install. The installer will advise on the sizes, types, gas consumption and safety features of units available to the market.

Permanent Ventilation

Permanent ventilation when installing an indoor LPG water heater is vital. Ventilation requirements are to ensure that oxygen in the room does not fall below critical and dangerous levels, for the protection of human life and the effective performance of the water heater. Ventilation must NEVER be ignored. User manuals will specify the size and location of vents required for the appliance. The user must ensure that ventilation is not obstructed or blocked in any way. Balanced flue/sealed water heaters do not require permanent ventilation as they draw oxygen from outside and push combustion gases through a different pipe to the outside.  

Valid Certificate of Conformity (CoC)

Once the registered installer has completed installing the water heater, they must sign and handover the Certificate of Conformity (CoC) to the homeowner. The signing of the CoC is to signify that the installation was installed as per the relevant safety standards and that the installation has been tested and is compliant.

What to Do if You Smell LPGas

Upon smelling gas and suspecting there may be a leak, close the valve on the supply cylinder. If the cylinder is installed indoors, take it outside. Immediately contact a registered installer to carry out a leak trace & repair on the system. Only once the leak has been repaired by a registered installer is it safe to once again use your LPG appliance.

Purchase Legally Filled Cylinders

Consumers of LPG in South Africa must ensure that they are purchasing legally filled LPG cylinders. Consumers can recognize legally filled commercial cylinders through the plastic seal that covers the valve (tap mechanism) on the cylinder. The logo that is found on the plastic seal must match the logo on the cylinder. If there is no logo on the plastic seal, if it is just clear plastic or merely has LPG printed on it, it is a strong indicator that the cylinder may have been illegally filled.

~ Submitted by LPGas.