Gas Appliance Certification & Labelling
What is Gas Appliance Certification & Labelling?
♦ Gas appliances must be certified as safe for use in Australia.
♦ It is illegal to offer gas appliances for sale or hire unless they have been safety tested and certified.
♦ Gas appliance manufacturers have to submit each of their models for testing.
♦ Testing is done by independent test organisations.
♦ The tests must be completed successfully prior to any sales.
♦ The Australian Standards specifiy the testing criteria.
♦ Amongst the tested items are emissions and energy efficiency.
The Testing Organisations
Gas appliances used in Australia must be tested and certified by a recognised testing organisation.
The Australian Gas Association: www.aga.asn.au
SAI Global: www.standardsmark.com
IAPMO R&T Oceana: www.iapmooceana.org
Queensland Gas Association: www.qga.org.au
What Do They Actually Test?
The testing is based around compliance with the applicable Australian Standard for the type of gas appliance being tested.
It involves the product as a whole plus the individual components within the product.
This includes gas regulators and hoses.
How the Process Works
The testing organisations test products from manufacturers that submit their models for certification.
The manufacturers must pay for this testing and it can take many months to complete the process.
In addition, there is no guarantee that the product will pass.
If it does not, the manufacturer must redesign the product and repeat the certification testing.
The time and expense involved is why some importers try to cut corners.
Even products that are approved in other countries may not meet the requirements of the Australian Standards or be safe to use.
Some of the issues include:
Australia has strict standards on combustion emissions that may be generated by gas appliances.
Other countries requirements may not be as stringent or they may not have any at all.
In Australia, the standard valve connector is a POL fitting.
Other countries use other fittings like QCC and OPD.
The problem is that many of these may be incompatible with Australian gas fittings.
Some products that are available in other countries are simply not permitted in Australia.
Cabinet heaters are a good example. Cabinet heaters are indoor heaters fuelled by a 9kg cylinder inside.
While these are perfectly acceptable in NZ and various European countries, they are banned in Australia.
Minimum energy efficiency performance standards must be attained.
Unfortunately, many overseas products cannot perform at the required levels.
Differences in Gas:
The composition, quality and combustion properties of Australian gas may be different to gas used in other countries.
For example, LPG in Australia is Propane while, in other countries, it may be Butane or a Butane/Propane mix.
Insufficient User Documentation:
The appliance must be accompanied by comprehensive installation instructions.
The instructions explain the use and maintenance of the product.
In addition, it contain any required permanent warning notices, which must also appear on the packaging.
The instructions and warning notices must be in plain English and be supplemented by appropriate diagrams, pictures or drawings.
Almost everyone has experienced the difficulty that some overseas manufacturers have in writing coherent English instructions for even simple products.
While these can sometimes be humorous, there is nothing funny and no room for miscommunication when it comes to gas appliance safety.
What You Need to Do
The only way to ensure the safety of the gas appliance you are buying is to check for a certification label like the ones shown above.
You can also check the certification number against the testing organisation’s database using their websites.
Please take special care if you consider buying gas appliances from individuals or unknown companies found online at auction and shopping website.
We have seen any number of products being sold on these type of web sites that are uncertified and do not meet Australian Standards.
This is especially true if the seller is shipping the product to you from overseas.
There are no ‘Gas Appliance Police’, so it is up to each of us to be vigilant and check for certification prior to purchasing any gas appliance.
Comments, questions or feedback?
The information in this article is derived from various sources and is believed to be correct at the time of publication. However, the information may not be error free and may not be applicable in all circumstances.