Different countries have vastly different regulations. If you leased a property with gas appliances in London, the landlord would be required, by law, to maintain the pipes, appliances and flues. Additionally, he or she would be required to have a gas safety check every year and supply you with a record of such within 28 days of it being performed.
Those Londoners are pretty smart cookies considering that gas problems can kill, and then there’s the massive property damage or even destruction that may occur.
Whilst we do not have that regulation in Australia, it pays to be safety conscious. Anytime you smell gas, it’s an emergency. But odour isn’t the only sign that there may be a gas leak. Australian Gas Networks and Utility companies suggest that you call 1800 GAS LEAK (1800 427 532). Lines are open 24 hours a day.
Call them if any of the following occur:
- Whistling or hissing sounds.
- Damage to the connections to gas appliances.
- Dead or dying vegetation over or near pipeline areas.
- Exposed pipeline (typically after an earthquake).
Yes, you can prevent gas emergencies
Your first line of defense in preventing a gas emergency is to know what to look (and smell) for. A rotten egg smell is the most common sign of a gas leak.
If you suspect a gas leak, don’t touch anything, especially light switches. But, touching anything may cause a spark, so quickly and gently leave the home immediately.
Once you are a safe distance away, call the gas company, the number above (or 000 if you can’t reach them).
Maintenance of your property may help prevent the most serious gas problems. Tasks include:
- Maintain gas pipes to prevent corrosion and leakage. Have the gas pipes inspected periodically for signs of corrosion and leakage.
- Have your gas appliances inspected and cleaned periodically by an authorized service technician. Most appliance manufacturers recommend having their products serviced every one to two years.
- A gas stove will produce a red or yellow flame only when it requires service. If pilot lights frequently blow out, the stove requires service.
- Clogged dryer lint traps cause fires. They need to be cleaned out before each use.
- If you have a gas fireplace, have the chimney inspected annually. Blockages, such as birds’ nests, can create inadequate ventilation of combustible fumes.
- Have your heating system inspected annually to ensure that it is clean and properly vented and replace worn parts.
- Replace the furnace and return air filters every 90 days unless there are pets on the property. In this case, filters should be replaced every 60 days.
Failure to perform maintenance not only presents a real danger to you and your family but to your pocketbook as well.
Gas furnaces cost anywhere from a few to many thousands of dollars, depending on the scope of the job.
A new gas water heater will cost from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars but then you will need to consider the installation costs.
On mains pressure gas storage heaters, it is advisable to test the Temperature & Pressure valves every 6 months or so.
Take care however as one discharges very hot water, the other has cold water.
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