Natural gas safety tips

Natural gas is a reliable source of energy but care still needs to be taken when handling it. We've got some useful tips that will help keep you safe when you're using natural gas.

Is your gas meter clear?

Is your gas meter clear?

Choosing appliances

Natural gas appliances that are appropriately certified, installed and regularly maintained will provide safe and efficient use for many years to come.

Always ensure the appliance you choose is approved by an Australian certifier, such as the Australian Gas Association (AGA), and made by a well-known manufacturer. Check for warranty agreements and look for built-in safety features such as:

  • anti–tilt switches
  • automatic ignition systems for fast, simple and safe lighting
  • a flame failure device to cut off the natural gas if the flame is accidentally extinguished
  • adjustable temperature control to reduce the chance of scalding.

All appliances should be installed according to the Gas Installation Code — AS5601–2004.

Installing appliances

Our natural gas is produced, piped and delivered using rigorous environmental and safety standards. The safety and integrity of a customer's natural gas installation (beyond the meter) is the responsibility of the customer. You must:

  • use a licenced gas fitter to carry out work on your natural gas installation
  • ensure that your gas fitter supplies you with a certificate of compliance and lodges a copy of it with the relevant local inspection authority (ACT Planning & Land Authority in the ACT, and Jemena in NSW), when any work is carried out on your installation
  • check that it is safe to dig before undertaking any work by contacting Dial before you dig
  • report any leaks or potential hazards to ActewAGL as soon as possible.

Maintaining appliances

Regular maintenance

Natural gas appliances, such as hot water systems or heaters should be checked and maintained annually by qualified gas appliance service personnel. Annual service checks in accordance with the manufacturer's guidelines are necessary as a safety precaution and to ensure appliances are working in peak condition.

Hot water breakdown

If your natural gas hot water goes off check to see if your other gas appliances are working.

If they are working do the following:

  • Check the pilot light. If the pilot light is out, try and relight it, following the manufacturer's instructions if you are unable to relight it, call a qualified gas appliance service technician.

What to do if you are concerned about the condition of your natural gas appliance

Owners/occupiers

  • Arrange for qualified gas appliance service personnel to replace or service the appliance and retain a written report of the work undertaken.
  • Make sure unobstructed ventilation is continually present near or around the appliance.
  • Ensure flue pipes are free from restrictions.
  • Check that there is no evidence of the burner creating soot deposits (look for signs of discolouration on and around the appliance).
  • If there is a gas hot water heater in your bathroom disconnect the exhaust fan within the bathroom (when operating, these fans can cause flue gases to re-enter the bathroom).

Tenants

  • Contact your landlord, real estate agent or housing provider and ask when the appliance will be replaced or serviced.
  • Confirm that arrangements are in place for service of the appliance if there is a delay in its replacement.
  • Determine when it was last serviced, when it will next be serviced, who will undertake the work and whether they are qualified to do so.

Landlords

  • Have the appliance serviced or replaced immediately.
  • Ensure that all aspects of the appliance are inspected by qualified gas appliance service personnel and retain a written report of the work undertaken.
  • If you have any immediate concerns about the condition of an appliance turn it off and obtain expert advice.

Operating appliances

Below are some tips you should follow when you are near or operating natural gas appliances.

  • Make sure you have good ventilation around your gas appliances
  • Never let children play near gas appliances when they are operating and be careful that they do not turn knobs or dials on those appliances even when the appliances are not switched on
  • Ensure all appliances are regularly serviced in accordance with the manufacturer's guidelines
  • Different gases are not interchangeable — doing this can be dangerous. Only use the fuel specified by the manufacturer of your appliance
  • Never store or use flammable chemicals (including aerosols) near an operating appliance and never keep flammable materials, such as paper or clothing, near an appliance that is turned on
  • Before turning on a gas burner, light the match or press the ignition button. If the burner will not light, turn off the gas and wait for the gas smell to clear before trying again
  • Take care with your gas appliances. Do not leave clothes, papers or any flammable material near burners
  • Do not operate natural gas appliances on any other type of gas. Operating an appliance on the wrong type of gas can be extremely hazardous
  • Do not tamper with safety valves or similar fittings on your appliances. Do not use force to open taps
  • Keep a gas oven and hot plates clean. Do not allow fat and burned food to build up
  • Turn gas heaters off when you leave the house or go to sleep.

Gas meter safety - what to do if you smell gas

Natural gas has no odour. To help you detect the presence of gas, a strong odorant that smells like rotten eggs is added.

If you smell this odour inside:

  • Ventilate the area by opening nearby doors and windows.
  • Evacuate the area and turn off the gas supply (if safe to do so).
  • Do not use a source of ignition such as matches or cigarette lighters.
  • Seek expert advice by calling ActewAGL Faults & Emergencies on
    13 19 09
    .

If you smell gas outside:

  • Contact ActewAGL Faults and Emergencies on 13 19 09.
  • Remove all ignition sources from the area.
  • If safe to do so, turn off the gas supply.

In the event of an emergency, such as a gas leak or bushfire, turn off your natural gas supply by turning the yellow valve lever on your meter so it runs perpendicular to the pipe. (see image below)

 

Natural gas meter pictured above shows the valve in both the opened and closed position