GAS SAFETY ADVICE
Building and Energy Division - Safety Alert
A national safety alert has been issued regarding open-flued gas heaters. Please see attached media release from the Department of Mines, Industry Relation and Safety - Building and Energy Division.
Customer Safety Awareness Program (CSAP)
The CSAP outlines how EGDC informs the public of the potential hazards associated with low pressure gas distribution system. If you would like a copy please contact our office during office hours or view the PDF below.
Working near Gas Pipeline Systems
The document outlines the requirements for working near Esperance GDS mains and KEGP pipelines by third parties. If you would like a copy please contact our office during office hours or view the PDF below.
What is Natural Gas?
It is a colourless, naturally-occurring gas made up of methane and a small percentage of other gases. A very clean burning fuel source, it is found underground. Natural gas is most commonly used for heating and cooking. Rather than being supplied by a gas bottle (like LPG), your home is simply connected to the gas network. This means, similar to water and electricity, you have gas "on tap".
Its properties and characteristics are as follows:
• Natural gas is non-toxic before combustion, and the exhaust product from approved appliances is also non-toxic, provided equipment is properly maintained.
• Natural gas is comprised of mostly methane (approx. 85%-90%) and lesser amounts of ethane (5%-15%), carbon dioxide (2%), nitrogen (1%-2%) and propane (0.2%).
• The natural gas flammability range - air/gas volume ratio - varies between 5:1 and 15:1. For stoichiometric combustion the air/gas volume is 9.91:1
• Natural gas has an approximate auto-ignition temperature in air of 537°C - 680°C (dependent on air /gas composition and atmospheric pressure) and a flame speed of 0.4 metres per second. Natural gas has a relative density to air of 0.62.
Is Natural Gas Safe?
The natural gas industry in Australia is highly regulated. The way that natural gas is distributed and the gas itself must pass extremely rigorous safety standards. In the event of a gas leak, you would be able to smell the gas well in advance of it becoming dangerous. This is because of the artificial addition of an "odorant" that gives natural gas a distinctive smell.
Natural Gas Utilisation
• EGDC through its gas operator's (Esperance Power Station) Operations and Maintenance contractors, is a member of the Australian Gas Association (AGA) that has established standards ensuring safety and reliability of residential and commercial appliances.
• Natural gas is not the same as LP Gas and therefore LP Gas must not be used in natural gas appliances, and vice versa. Operating an appliance on the wrong type of gas can be hazardous.
• When selecting or installing appliances make sure they are made to an appropriate Australian Standard (e.g. certified by the Australian Gas Association, AGA), and are designed to run on natural gas.
• All industrial and commercial appliances that do not have an AGA label must still be installed in line with the AGA Codes: AS5601/AG 601-Gas Installation Code and AS3814/AG501-Code for Industrial and Commercial Gas Fired Appliances, and inspected by an AGA inspector.
Gas Appliance Conversion
If your LPG appliance is an Australian Gas Association (AGA) approved appliance, you should be able to convert easily to natural gas. Only a licensed gas fitter is permitted to carry out gas work and he/she will be able to advise you on this.
Gas Pipes and Appliance Installation
• Use only licensed tradespeople for the connection of natural gas, installation of gas pipes and installation of appliances.
• Ensure your gas pipes are protected from corrosive elements.
Appliance and Equipment Defects, Maintenance and Efficiency
Any appliance or equipment defects must be rectified by a competent tradesperson. Regular service checks are necessary as a safety-precaution to give you peace of mind that your appliance is in peak working condition.
Ensure all your equipment is in good working condition and use only suitably qualified personnel to service your equipment.
To ensure you operate your gas appliances efficiently:
• Make sure your gas hot water systems are not overheating the water and the temperature is right for the time of year to reduce risk of scalding.
• Check that you do not have any leaking taps and that your hot water system is not faulty.
• Cover heated pools when not in use.
• If you are planning to go away for a short period of time, turn the gas water heater to vacation if your heater has such a setting.
• Turn the gas meter or pilot light off if you intend to be away for an extended period of time so as to prevent gas being used unnecessarily.
For water heaters in bathrooms and kitchens, ensure that:
• the water heater is serviced by qualified gas appliance service personnel. Retain a written report of the work undertaken.
• unobstructed ventilation is continually present in your bathroom and/or kitchen.
• the flue pipe is free from all restrictions• there is no evidence of the burner creating soot deposits (look for signs of discolouration on and around the water heater).
• any exhaust fan within the bathroom is disconnected (when operating these fans can cause flue gases to re-enter the bathroom).
Before You Dig
To ensure a safe and reliable supply of natural gas you should be aware of where the gas service pipes are located on your property, as damaged service pipes can be disruptive to gas supply and also costly to repair. You should take the following steps to avoid any damage to service pipes:
• Plant trees away from the gas pipes.
• Make sure you know the location of your gas meter and any gas pipes.
• Contact EGDC if you area unsure about either the location or depth of the gas pipes in your property.
When an odorant is detected:
• Natural gas is odourless at low concentrations in air. EGDC adds an odorant to its natural gas at the point prior to its distribution, as a means of leakage detection. This odorant has a distinctive odour, similar to rotten egg.
• The odorant blend is added to the gas at a concentration of around 15 mg per cubic metre (at 15°C and 101.325 kPa), rendering the gas easily detectable by smell at one fifth of its lower flammability limit.
When a slight smell of gas is detected:
• Ensure that there are no flames or sparks. Never light matches or cigarettes if you can smell gas.
• Do not operate electrical appliances, light switches, gas appliances or mobile phones.
• Turn off all gas appliances. Check that all pilot lights are off on all gas appliances.
• Open all doors and windows to let the gas out. Do not light matches or turn lights or appliances on or off.
• Isolate the gas supply upstream of the gas escape. This can be either at any isolation valve before an appliance or along the customer piping system or if need be, at the meter.
• Telephone a gas fitter to fix the problem and remember not to use your own phone.
Should the smell of gas continue after the internal check, or if you believe your gas service main has been damaged, please leave the area and contact EGDC's Emergency Service immediately on 1800 010 272 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) for advice.