14 Home Gas Appliance Maintenance & Service Tips
Gas Appliance Maintenance & Service
Summary of the important issues:
Use qualified technicians
Regularity - every one or two years
Consult your owner's manual
Watch for the warnings signs of problems
Keep the burners clean and unclogged
Air filters need to be kept clean
Hoses & connections should be inspected and leak tested
Flue pipes should be maintained
Gas regulators have a limited life span
Checking for correct gas pressure and adjusting, as required
Fluctuating water temperature needs attention
Pressure relief valves on water tanks
Periodically check for leaks
Malfunctioning units may generate carbon monoxide
Please continue reading for an in-depth explanation of each of these issues…
Gas Heater Service
Gas heaters need to be serviced every one or two years, depending on the manufacturer's recommendations.
Gas heater servicing is important for safety, to avoid any issues with carbon monoxide.
A properly running gas heater will also save gas and money.
Rinnai Gas Heater Service - Gas Heater Repairs
Rinnai is the most popular brand of gas heater in Australia.
1st Care is their national service network.
They offer factory authorised service or you can choose to use an independent gas fitter or service technician.
Rinnai Australia can be reached on 1300 555 545.
Gas Appliance Services & Repairs
All gas appliances require periodic maintenance.
This includes stoves and hot water heaters, as well as gas heaters.
You should consult your owners manual to find out how often you should have them serviced.
Important for Safety & Saving Money
1. Qualified Personnel
2. Service Frequency
Manufacturers typically recommend that their gas appliances be serviced every one or two years.
3. Read Your Owner’s Manual
4. Warning Signs
5. Burner Operation
6. Air Filters
7. Hoses & Connections
All hoses and connections should be inspected and leak tested.
Flue pipes should be checked for damage, corrosion and blockages.
10. Gas Pressure
11. Fluctuating Water Temperature
12. Storage Tank Hot Water Heaters
These units have a Pressure Relief Valve.
- Turn off the gas at the source. At the meter for natural gas or at the cylinders for LPG gas users, but only if safe to do so. Avoid contact with any visible gas cylinder leak, as the gas stream can cause cold burns.
- Extinguish all flames and do not smoke or strike matches.
- Do not operate electrical switches or devices, including mobile telephones.
- If the leak is inside of your home, open doors and windows to ventilate the area, but only if safe to do so.
- Keep people away from the affected area until the gas dissipates.
- Call your gas supplier or gas fitter, from a safe area, for repairs.
14. Carbon Monoxide
Combustion and Carbon Monoxide (CO)
All gas appliances, domestic and industrial, produce water vapour, Carbon Dioxide and heat, and usually very small amounts of Carbon Monoxide.
If installed and maintained correctly, the operation of the gas appliance provides quick and efficient heating, cooking, hot water and more, and the products of combustion do not create any hazardous situations.
If an appliance is not correctly installed and maintained or has been modified, the products of combustion might change, and become hazardous to the people around the appliance.
Something as simple as a ventilation change (getting fresh air to the appliance to sustain complete combustion) may cause a gas appliance to malfunction, and create a hazardous situation for the people around.
Sometimes it is obvious when a gas appliance malfunctions.
Sooty smoke, red or yellow flames or poor performance are indicators, but sometimes no indicators are obvious.
If Carbon Monoxide (CO) is produced and escapes the appliance into the surrounding air, it will not be obvious (no smell and no taste) but will be very dangerous.
It is essential that gas appliances are correctly installed and serviced every two years, to maintain good combustion and safe, efficient operation.
Be Safe & Save Money
The Smell of Safety – Odourised Gas
In their natural state, LPG (Propane and Butane) and Natural Gas (Methane) are all odourless gases.
The distinctive smell that people associate with these gases is actually added to them as a safety measure.
History of Adding Odourant to Gas
For many decades, the gaseous fuels industry has added odourants to LPG and Natural Gas so that people can detect gas leaks with nothing more than their noses.
Without the addition of an odourant, leaking gas could collect without being detected.
This would create a dangerous condition that could lead to an explosion or fire.
Much research has gone into the science of odourants and Ethyl Mercaptan is almost universally recognised as the best choice.
As a result, it is the most commonly used odourising agent.
The smell of Ethyl Mercaptan is often compared to rotten cabbage.
The strength of the odourant has caused some people to refer to the process of adding the odourant as “stenching”.
How & When it Gets Added
In the case of LPG, the Ethyl Mercaptan is added to the gas as it leaves the main storage terminals.
The amount added and the process are both carefully controlled.
The terminals themselves have gas detectors that can identify gas leaks without any odourant having been added.
Special Cases with No Odourant
There are certain applications where the odourant is not added.
Facilities that use odourless gas must have the same gas detection equipment as the gas terminals.
For example, Butane is commonly used as an aerosol propellant.
Needless to say, we wouldn’t want things like hair spray and deodorant to smell like rotten cabbage!
Ethyl Mercaptan is not a perfect odourant.
Under some circumstances, it can fade away and be replaced by a gentler smelling odour that might not be recognised as a gas leak.
Odourant fade is rare but it can happen.
While very few instances of odourant fade have been recorded in Australia, it has happened in other countries.
The presence of rust or moisture within an LPG tank could cause this fade.
To prevent this, new cylinders are filled with dry and inert nitrogen gas, to prevent both rust and eliminate the presence of moisture.
Once filled with LPG, the risk is virtually eliminated.
What You Can Do
LPG users can also assist in avoiding odourant fade by making sure that all disconnected gas cylinders have their valves closed, even when completely empty, to stop air (oxygen) and moisture from getting inside the cylinder.
This helps prevent the possibility of internal rusting.
Rust and moisture are also one of the things that are looked for when gas cylinders are periodically re-inspected.
The presence of either is cause for condemnation of the cylinder.
So, now you know why gas smells the way it does and why it is the ‘Smell of Safety’.
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.