Gas fitting and appliances explained
First thing to know about installing gas appliances, piping, and regulators, is that all work on gas systems is regulated and must only be performed by a licensed gas fitter. Completed work on gas systems require the gas fitter to provide a Gas Compliance Certificate for the work they have done.
Checking for Gas Leaks
The safest way to check for gas leaks is to use soapy water on the joins. If you have a leak, small bubbles will start to appear. The other is detecting an odour.
Did you know that Gas in its natural state has very little or no smell, for safety a gas called Mercaptan is added so that it can be detected if in the event of leakage.
What Gas types are there?
In Australia the two main types of gas are (LPG) Liquid Petroleum Gas and Natural Gas.
Installing your Gas Appliance
Common mistakes made during installations are mostly in the kitchen and the first one is the clearance over your cook top and/or stove. Often kitchen manufacturers install the overhead cupboards and rangehood too low. The minimum clearance above a stove is measured from the highest point being the trivet where your pots sit on is 600mm, and the minimum horizontal distance from the burner to a combustible surface is 200mm.
Note: If your benchtop is combustible the stove will need to be 10mm higher than the bench .
Warning: A trap for new players, just because the minimum standard says 600mm its not always the case. In the event you have a higher output burner, the manufacturer can override the minimum Standard up to 650mm or more.
How do you know what is the correct clearance is for a Gas Appliance?
If your gas type is LPG, and you have just bought a new appliance, in most cases it comes setup for natural gas, so this means your gas fitter will need to convert it to use LPG. From experience in the field 1 in 3 appliances have parts or jets missing or they have been lost. You need these parts for the conversion. In every case, the client calls the supplier and informs them they were not in the box. My best advice is not to open the box when you bring it home. Don’t show the family – please wait for the gas fitter, as there are small part which can be easy to lose.
In most cases when we go to install an appliance from a well known supplier, the install proves to go well. The opposite is true of appliances bought at auction, secondhand, or from a non-reputable source (ebay or gumtree).
Its very important to know that before a gas fitter installs a gas appliance in Australia, it must be proven to be certified in Australia. This means if you buy a unit without correct certification, it can not be legally installed.
Over the past decade, Gas Hobs from China have found a new home in the rubbish tip. They are simply not safe and legal.
Just to add to that, if you buy a second hand unit, even if it is certified with a brand name on it, it must clearly have the numbers visible. If the numbers are not visible, the appliance cannot be installed, unless it can be proven in another manner to be compliant.
Some of the Gas certifiers in Australia are:
- AGA Australian Gas Association
- SAI Global
What Gas Appliance brands are good?
In gas stoves some of the best units are:
- Fisher & Paykel
In hot water services, the following brands are high on my list:
|Rinnai instantaneous 26B||Bosch instantaneous B||Rheem Stellar 330|
|Priced From $900||Priced From $850||Priced from $1250|
Maintenance on Gas Appliances
In many cases a call out to repair a unit is only a matter of cleaning it or adjusting the jets. One thing to be careful of is the jets. If you remove the burner and clean underneath its most likely that you will block the small hole in the jets. You will know if this happens as there will be very little or no flame from that burner.
Another thing that is common to fail is the thermocouple when units are a little older. A thermocouple is a safety device to make sure the pilot light is running. It will turn the gas off if it is not running as a safety net.
How Does a Thermocouple work
There is different metals in a little rod that sits just inside the pilot flame. When its heated, it creates a small electrical current that goes to the other end of the thermocouple and charges a small magnet. When operational, this magnet holds a valve open to main burner. If the pilot light goes out, the thermocouple magnet will release and close the valve to the burner shutting off the gas. A thermocouple sitting in a flame all the time when the unit is running will eventual burn out and will need replacing .
You’ll know it needs changing when the unit starts to drop out while in operation or you are unable to keep the pilot light on at all.
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