Problems That Make You Use More Gas
As the years go by, does it seem like you are using more gas than in previous years?
The problem is most likely something called incomplete combustion.
The good news is you can fix it, conserve gas and save money, too!
What Would Make You Use More Gas?
I recently read a question by one of our Facebook readers (thanks, David!).
In it he ask how it can be that he has less people in his home but he appears to be using more gas than he did in the past?
These are some of the causes:
♦ Incomplete combustion
♦ The causes of incomplete combustion
♦ Tell-tale signs that there is a problem
♦ Undetected leaks
♦ Quality & quanitity of the gas supplied
♦ How different appliances use different amounts of gas
Your gas appliances need to be functioning at their optimal level to get the most out of the gas you buy.
This applies to natural gas as well as LPG appliances.
One of the most common problems with gas appliances, as they get older, is incomplete combustion.
Incomplete combustion occurs when a portion of the gas does not burn.
It is usually caused by an imbalance in the ratio of gas and air required for a proper flame and full combustion.
So, instead of providing heat, it is simply expelled up the flue.
The end result is that your appliance generates less heat and requires more gas to do the same amount of work.
This is typically what causes your gas bottles to become empty more quickly or your meter readings to be higher.
Incomplete combustion equals wasted gas.
What Causes Incomplete Combustion?
Lack of regular maintenance for your gas appliances is the most common cause.
Things like clogged burners and gas jets, that adversely affect the appliances’ performance, are corrected during a service.
Most gas appliance manufacturers recommend servicing the appliance every one or two years.
Consult your owner’s manual for the recommended service interval for your particular appliance.
Are There Other Tell-Tale Signs?
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
♦ 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.
It is possible to have a slow leak in your gas system that is difficult to detect by smell alone.
Even a small leak, over time, can result in a lot of wasted gas.
Your gas fitter has gas detection equipment that can be used to find leaks or to rule them out as the problem.
Quality & Quantity of the Gas Supplied
All LPG sold in Australia must meet the Australian Standard for LPG.
So, the quality of the gas should never be an issue.
The same applies to natural gas, which must also comply with its respective Australian Standard.
Most LPG suppliers use very accurate digital scales to make sure they supply the right amount of gas.
Aside from being illegal, a supplier would be very foolish to risk their reputation and customers’ trust by short filling bottles.
Natural gas meters are also very accurate.
So, the problem is almost assuredly not the quality or quantity of the gas supplied.
Different Appliances Consume Different Amounts of Gas
If you replace old appliances with new ones that have a higher Mj rating, they will consume more gas.
Megajoules per Hour (MJ/hr) ratings on appliances actually indicate the gas consumption of the appliance, not the heat output.
It is often expressed as just MJ.
For example, a higher capacity hot water system would typically have a higher Mj rating.
An even more obvious example is upgrading to a larger heater.
You should always compare the Mj ratings of your old appliances with new appliances if you are thinking about making a change.
Comparing MJ could save you money.
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.