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Stay safe around natural gas

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.

  • Choosing and installing natural gas appliances

    Choosing natural gas 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, and
    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 (Access Canberra 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, and
    report any leaks or potential hazards to Evoenergy by calling 13 19 09 as soon as possible.

  • Maintaining natural gas appliances

    Natural gas appliances, such as hot water systems or heaters should be checked and maintained annually by a qualified gas appliance service technician or gas fitter. 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.

    Sometimes there will be simple maintenance you can do yourself. For example, if your natural gas hot water goes off, check to see if your other gas appliances are working, and if they are, check the pilot light, and if it is out, try and relight it by following the manufacturer's instructions. If you are unable to relight it, call a qualified gas appliance service technician. For more complex appliance maintenance issues, always call a qualified gas appliance service technician or gas fitter.

    Maintenance requirements for property owners

    Each year, arrange for a qualified gas appliance service technician or gas fitter 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).

    Maintenance requirements for tenants

    Each year, contact your landlord, real estate agent or housing provider and request for your natural gas appliances to be serviced.
    Determine when your natural gas appliances were last serviced, when they will next be serviced, and work with your landlord to determine who will undertake the work and whether they are qualified to do so.
    Keep all natural gas appliances clean, ventilated and free from obstructions.

    Maintenance requirements for landlords

    Annual natural gas appliance maintenance checks should be organised with tenants to service, or where required, replace existing appliances. 
    Ensure that all aspects of the appliance are inspected by a qualified gas appliance service technician or gas fitter and retain a written report of the work undertaken.
    If there are any immediate concerns about the condition of an appliance, request tenants to turn the appliance off and obtain expert advice.

  • Operating natural gas 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 and operating your natural gas appliances on other gases or gas mixes 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 when you’re close to your gas appliances, and do not leave clothes, papers or any flammable material near burners.
    Do not tamper with safety valves or similar fittings on your appliances and do not use force to open taps.
    Keep a gas oven and hot plates clean and do not allow fat and burned food to build up.
    Turn gas heaters off when you leave the house or go to sleep.

  • Staying safe around your gas meter

    Natural gas has no odour, so to help you detect the presence of gas, a strong sulphuric smelling odorant is added. If you smell this odour inside the home:

    Ventilate the area by opening nearby doors and window.
    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 Evoenergy Faults and Emergencies on 13 19 09.

    If you smell gas outside the home:

    Contact Evoenergy 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), then ensure you keep yourself, your family and pets at least 8m away.

    Gas meter

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