Elgas LPG Gas Blog

14 Home Gas Appliance Maintenance & Service Tips

Home gas appliances need to be regularly checked and have routine scheduled maintenance. 
This is important to maintain proper function and safety.

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 Cleaning & Service

Gas heaters need to be cleaned and serviced every one or two years, depending on the manufacturer's recommendations.

Gas heater cleaning may need to be done more frequently in dirty or dusty environments.

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

Having your gas appliance inspected and cleaned periodically by an authorised service technician will benefit performance, help ensure safe operation, minimise any potential down time and extend the life of your appliance.  
The following are some points to keep in mind:

1. Qualified Personnel

It is important that your gas appliances are only service by qualified technicians.  
In most cases, this means a licensed gas fitter or a factory technician. 
Never attempt to fix a gas appliance yourself or allow an unqualified person to attempt to fix it for you.

2. Service Frequency

Regular Home Gas Appliance Maintenance

Manufacturers typically recommend that their gas appliances be serviced every one or two years. 
For example, both Rinnai and Bosch generally recommend 2 year service intervals while Rheem and Paloma recommend annual servicing. 
You should always refer to your owner’s manual for the recommended maintenance schedule that is applicable to the make and model of appliance you own. 
A 'tune-up' just before heating season is ideal.

3. Read Your Owner’s Manual

It is very important that you understand the correct and safe operation of your gas appliances.  
Improper use can result in safety hazards.  
If you don’t have the owner’s manual, most gas appliance manufacturers have them available for downloading on their web sites.  
If not, contact them directly to request a copy.

4. Warning Signs

Yellow flames are a warning sign

Key warning signs that your gas appliance requires servicing are a yellow or red flame, a flame with a yellow burning tip, the accumulation of yellow/brown soot around the appliance, pilot lights that frequently blow out or an acrid smell and eye irritation. 
The exceptions to this are gas fireplaces and gas log fires that are designed to have yellow flames.
The above signs may be indications of incomplete combustion. 
The result is that you could be wasting gas and/or generating carbon monoxide
The latter is a serious safety problem, if it occurs with an indoor appliance. 
If you observe any of these warning signs, you should schedule a service ASAP.     

5. Burner Operation

The burner should be cleaned and checked for proper operation. 
Burners blocked with dirt can result in improper combustion, leading to soot build up inside the appliance.

6. Gas Heater Cleaning - Air Filters

Air filters and fans can become blocked by lint and dust. The result can be overheating and burner combustion problems. 
Depending on the make and model of gas heater, you may be able to do the gas heater cleaning yourself. 
Please consult your owner’s manual to see if this is recommended and how to do it.

7. Hoses & Connections

gas bayonet connection

All hoses and connections should be inspected and leak tested. 
Hoses on portable heaters should be carefully and frequently inspected, as they can become damaged or deteriorate with age. 
The bayonet connectors should also be examined for damage.  
Have your gas fitter replace any faulty hoses or connectors before use.

8. Flues

Damaged flue

Flue pipes should be checked for damage, corrosion and blockages. 
Holes, punctures or loose fitting joints require immediate attention.  
If a flue needs servicing, call your licensed gas fitter to have it cleaned or repaired.

9. Regulators

Gas regulators have a limited life span.
They need to be inspected for proper operation and replaced when necessary. 
Your gas fitter will tell you if and when this is required.

10. Gas Pressure

Part of the regular service should include the checking for correct gas pressure and adjusting, as required.
Incorrect gas pressure can affect the amount of oxygen drawn into the burner with the gas.  
If this happens, it can cause improper combustion.  Excessive pressure could also create a safety hazard.

11. Fluctuating Water Temperature

If you have a tankless continuous flow hot water heater and the temperature keeps fluctuating, you should call for a service.  
It is normal for a gas hot water storage tank to experience a gradual temperature change, as you use up the available hot water.

12. Storage Tank Hot Water Heaters

Hot Water Pressure Relief Valve

These units have a Pressure Relief Valve. 
This valve relieves excessive temperature or pressure build up that may occur inside the tank.  It is normal for the valve to release a little water.
A continuous leakage of water from the valve and its drain may indicate a problem. 
If you notice this valve frequently venting or continuously leaking, you should contact your plumber/gas fitter to check the entire water heater.

13. Leaks

If you smell gas take the following gas safety precautions:
  • 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

Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning
Properly functioning gas appliances are quite safe. 
However, malfunctioning units may generate carbon monoxide. 
If you experience any signs of carbon monoxide poisoning while operating your indoor gas appliance, you should stop using it until it is serviced by your gas fitter.

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.

Gas Stove and Cooktop Maintenance & Repairs

Because of the splashing around of food from the pans, gas stoves and cooktops have their fair share of maintenance and cleaning requirements.

How to Clean Gas Stove Top - Cleaning Gas Stove Burners

The most important thing is to keep dirt and soot away from the burners.

Your owner's manual should provide easy to follow instructions for cleaning gas stove burners.

Clogged burners waste gas and can create a safety hazard, with carbon monoxide generation.

How to Replace Gas Valve on Stove

If you need to know how to replace gas valve on stove, it's simple.

Just call your gas fitter!

In fact, that is the only thing you should do, as working with gas is not a DIY project.

Gas Water Heater Troubleshooting - Gas Water Heater Problems

Gas water heater troubleshooting is best begun by referring to your owner's manual.

There is typically a section titled "Troubleshooting" or similar.

Often there is a simple fix to problems that do not require a plumber or significant expense.

If not, you may need to call a plumber, expecially if it involves that gas works.

Gas Hot Water Not Working - Gas Hot Water Heater Problems

If your gas hot water is not working the same advice applies.

If you have gas hot water heater problems, start with the troubleshootig section of your owner's manual.

Gas Water Heater Keeps Going Out - Gas Water Heater Pilot Light Keeps Going Out

If your gas water heater keeps going out it may be:

  • Gas water heater pilot light keeps going out

  • The flame sensor needs adjustment or replacement

  • You have a problem with your gas supply, such as your regulator

In all three cases, it's best to call your plumber.

Gas Hot Water Heater Leaking from Bottom - Gas Hot Water Heater Troubleshooting

A gas hot water heater leaking from bottom could be the sign of a serious problem.

It might be a rusted out tank, a cracked glass liner or other vessel integrity problem.

Once again, it's best to call your plumber.

Gas Hot Water Boiler Troubleshooting

If you are having problems with your gas hot water boiler, troubleshooting is once again the first course of action.

Gas Water Heater Repair

Once you troubleshoot your problem and determine the cause of the malfunction, you can arrange for your gas water heater repair.

There are any number of problems that can be repaired without replacing the entire unit.

Thermostats, burners and valves are the most common items that may need replacement or repair.

Be Safe & Save Money

You need to schedule regular servicing for your gas appliances.  
If you notice anything damaged or abnormal in the operation, look or smell of the appliance, it is best to call your licensed gas fitter right away.  
It is always better to err on the side of safety with gas appliances. 
You keep your family safe and you could save money on gas, too.

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

odourised LPG

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.Smells like rotten cabbage 

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!

Odourant Fade

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’.

 

 

 
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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.