Thousands of families all over the world rely on LPG when it comes to cooking and heating. LPG offers clean and environment-friendly flames which do not pollute the air. However, though LPG is an excellent alternative to electricity and most other fossil fuels when it comes to cooking and heating, proper care should always be taken when handling LPG cylinders. This is because improper care of these gas cylinders might cause fires or even explosions which can lead to death.
Here are a few guidelines to safely using LPG.
Connecting the Cylinder
Since many tests have been done on the gas cylinders before being sold to you, you shouldn’t worry much about the physical features of the LPG cylinder unless they are flagrant.
When connecting a cylinder, it is possible that some gas may leak out. At this point, there are two things you can do to curb this problem.
- If there’s a “prolonged odd smell” when you’re connecting the cylinder, you definitely have a leak. You should immediately turn off the cylinder valve, and move it to an open area away from any sources of flame or sparks.
- A hissing sound is usually produced during the connecting process. However, if this sound continues for more than three seconds, there’s a problem with the connection. Ensure the cylinder valve is in good condition and the connection to the regulator is secure before trying once more.
- It is always advisable to do a “soapy water leak test” once you have connected the cylinder and turned it on. This test basically works by indicating if there’s a leak on any joint on the cylinder. If a bubble is noted upon bathing the gas cylinder with the soapy water, a leak is present, and the cylinder should be inspected before being connected again.
Using the LPG cylinder with a BBQ
Connecting the cylinder to your gas cooker might be fairly easy, but that doesn’t guarantee you that all the risks are gone.
When connecting or disconnecting the gas cylinder to the BBQ make sure to always turn the BBQ off at the gas cylinder first and then the burners, this insures that there is no gas leak through the burners.
You should always check for leaks periodically, especially if you don’t often replace the LPG cylinders. Additionally, never use a flame when checking for leaks since you might end up getting injured in the process.
A good way of taking care of the leakage problem is by getting used to the smell of LPG which some people have compared to the smell of rotten cabbages. You can easily pick up its smell whenever you’re closing or opening the cylinder valve.
Though the major component of LPG is odourless, ethyl mercaptan is added so that it can give LPG a distinctive smell which enables us to detect a leakage.
However, you shouldn’t always rely on the smell so that you can tell if you have a leakage. By closing the cylinder valve every time you’re done cooking, you can also prevent leakages as well.
Taking proper care of the LPG cylinder
While many of the safety measures focus on leakages, the cylinder itself has to be treated with care so that these leakages will be fewer.
LPG cylinders should always be retested and reapproved after every ten years, but even so, you should desist from laying down the cylinder or even tampering with the gas valve. This is because you’ll not only be putting your home at risk, but yourself too.
The cylinders are specially designed to tolerate a certain amount of pressure. Keeping the cylinders in hot places tends to make the liquefied gas to expand more and cause leakages. The LPG cylinder should thus be kept in a cool and dry area. The room in which you place the cylinder should also be well ventilated so that a leakage can be quickly diluted.
If worst comes to worst and there’s a fire, remember to only use dry chemical fire extinguishers and ensure that removing the cylinder away from the heat source is the major priority.
It is important to remember to practice LPG gas safety at home for cooking and heating to help keep your family safe. By properly connecting cylinders and valves you can avoid leaks and avoid putting yourself and home at risk.