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Using gas safely

Information about gas energy and appliance safety at home.

Gas safety at home

One of ESV’s roles is to educate and inform the community about safety issues with gas and electricity, to improve overall safety outcomes for people, property and the environment.

Gas and electricity are inherently dangerous and it’s illegal and potentially fatal for unlicensed and unqualified people to undertake any gasfitting or electrical work.

Homeowners and consumers must always use a licensed or registered gasfitter. If you’re looking to hire a gasfitter in your local area, it’s important to make sure they are registered or licensed to do the work you need. To verify a gasfitters registration / licence please visit VBA - Find a practitioner.

Gas appliances

Your home is a place where you and your family need to be safe – taking care of your gas appliances is important to ensuring your family’s health and well-being.

Servicing gas appliances

ESV and the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) recommend that all gas water heaters, space heaters and central heaters are serviced once every two years by a qualified gasfitter to ensure they are working properly.

Find a registered or licensed gasfitter by searching online or via VBA’s database.

Gas appliances need regular servicing as:

  • burners in water heaters or space heaters can become blocked with dust or lint and then soot up the heat exchanger and flue passageways
  • air filters, air ways and fans can become blocked by lint and dust, leading to overheating and burner problems, and
  • safety controls can wear out and fail.

Any of these issues can increase the risk of your gas appliance spilling carbon monoxide.

As part of a comprehensive service, a gasfitter must use a Carbon Monoxide (CO) analyser to test for carbon monoxide spillage. Only use a registered or licensed gas fitter who has completed the VBA / Master Plumbers CO training course.

Ask for a service report (e.g. VBA Gas servicing record optional template) and keep a record of the date of service.

Operating gas appliances

Use gas appliances only for their intended purpose and according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

  • Never tamper with safety valves or other fittings and do not use excessive force to open or close gas control knobs.
  • Never use an oven to heat a room or as a clothes dryer.
  • Turn off your radiant gas heater when you leave the house or go to sleep – never leave your gas heating on overnight.
  • Always supervise young children near heaters or any gas appliance.
  • Clean your oven, grill, cook top and rangehood regularly to prevent the build-up of spilled fats and burnt foods and reduce the risk of fire
  • Remove clothing and paper from around gas appliances.
  • Don’t get distracted in the kitchen – read more on Cooking safely with gas.

Buying safe gas appliances

Read more on what to look for when buying gas appliances and equipment in store.

Before you dig

Take the guess work out of excavating and lodge a free inquiry with Before You Dig Australia.

Take care when using lawn mowers, brush cutters or digging in the garden so you do not damage gas pipes or your gas meter assembly.

Using flammable products

  • Do not pour petrol near a gas appliance or flue outlet – petrol fumes may be ignited by the appliance flame.
  • Do not fill your lawn mower with petrol near a gas appliance or flue outlet.
  • Do not spray aerosols near operating gas appliances – the flammable gas in aerosols pressure packs can be a fire hazard.
  • Do not store chemicals or pressure packs on or near a gas appliance – heat may cause them to react or explode.
  • Never use or store flammable materials such as petrol, mineral turpentine, paint or combustible cleaning solutions near a gas appliance.
  • Turn off any pilot burners before using tile adhesive or solvents near a gas appliance.

Energy efficiency

Using gas efficiently in your home can help reduce your energy bills and your household’s impact on the environment.

The Australian Government’s Energy.gov.au website provides information and tips on reducing household energy consumption and various other actions you can take to reduce household greenhouse emissions and your energy bills.

Most energy in Australia comes from burning non-renewable fossil fuels like coal, gas or oil. Producing energy from these sources releases harmful greenhouse gases into our environment, including carbon dioxide.

As well as the environmental impact, energy usage costs money and Australian households account for almost 20 per cent of our national greenhouse gas emissions. By choosing efficient appliances and making simple changes to the way energy is used in your home, you can play an important role in helping Australia meet its overall greenhouse gas reduction target.

One way to save energy is to choose Natural Gas or LP gas appliances.

Identifying energy efficient appliances

Appliances can account for up to 30 per cent of your home energy use.

New gas appliances display an Energy Rating Label (ERL). The annual energy consumption is shown in MJ (megajoules) per year. The label provides an incentive for manufacturers to improve the energy performance of household appliances they supply to the market. Always used a licensed gasfitter to connect, repair, test or maintain your appliance.

A Gas Energy Rating label, showing star shapes at the top to denote rating in a gas gauge-style graphical element. Beneath the star shapes reads 'Gas Energy Rating', with the Australian Gas Association logo (outline of Australia with a pilot light element) to the right of the text. Below is fine print and a bold white-on-red metric showing energy consumption for the device this label would be attached to.
Gas Energy Rating label

Gas appliances that carry energy rating labels are:

  • Space (room) heaters
  • Ducted heaters (central heating)
  • Water heaters – storage and instantaneous.

Understanding the appliance energy rating scheme

When buying an appliance compare the size, features, price and running costs of different models.

For gas appliances the energy rating label shows how efficient the appliance is and how much gas it uses each year.

  • More stars on the label means it is more efficient than other models in that category.
  • The lower the energy consumption figure, the more efficient it is.
  • Sometimes high star-rated models can cost more to buy, but choosing a cheaper product with fewer stars could end up costing you more in the long run, as the running costs over the product’s lifetime can easily add up to more than the original purchase price. Consider the running costs as a“second price tag” to help you decide which appliance to buy.

More information

Further information about Energy Rating Labels (ERLs) and Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) can be found on the Energy Rating website.

Gas safety for people with disabilities

ESV recognises that some members of our community need additional assistance with their gas appliances. These people, their family and carers should consider the use of appropriate additional safety devices.

There are safety measures and devices designed to ensure gas appliances are operated correctly, protect impaired persons from an appliance malfunction or alert them to an emergency.

People with a reduced sense of smell may not detect the odorant in gas, while others may have difficulty using gas appliance controls and safety features.

Annual servicing and appliance checks

ESV recommends annual appliance servicing and safety checks by a licensed gasfitter for those who have impaired abilities.

Gas safety devices

Gas safety devices include:

  • Gas alarms that emit a loud noise or shut down the gas supply when unburnt gas or carbon monoxide are detected,
  • Gas shut-off systems that are activated by a loss of flame or the presence of un-burned gas,
  • ‘Passive’ devices such as additional guards, easy-grip or marked knobs, and devices that remind that cooking is in progress, and
  • Manual shut-off valves operated by carers to prevent appliance use.

Contact us

If you have any queries in relation to gas safety for the elderly or people with disabilities, please contact ESV on 03 9203 9700 or by email on info@energysafe.vic.gov.au.

Date: 12/07/2024 17:20

Controlled document

The currency and accuracy of this document cannot be guaranteed once printed or saved to a storage device. If in doubt, please check the ESV website for the current version.