A warm and safe winter

Online since 31.05.2017 • Filed under Industry news
A warm and safe winter

Based on the latest United Nations estimates, the current population in South Africa is 55,318,397,  and most South African citizens rely primarily on electricity supplied by ESKOM. Eskom's mandate is to generate, transport, and distribute electricity to the entire country. For a while now, South Africa has been having problems with electricity supply, the demand for electricity has far off exceeded the possible supply. As a result, load shedding or load reduction has been a measure placed to protect the electricity power system from a total blackout, especially during peak periods where demand is higher, such as winter time.

As an alternative energy source, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) presents a solution to reduce reliance on the national electricity grid.  The use of LPG has seen a significant increase over the last few years due to the manufacturing of cost-effective and reliable Gas-powered appliances. LPG is used by both businesses and households, where it is mainly used for cooking, water heating and space heating. The use of LPG powered appliances has become a trend in South Africa as Load Shedding becomes uniform.

"The market for gas-powered appliances and technologies is growing fast, Sales of gas heaters at Makro have grown steadily in recent seasons and a huge spike is anticipated in sales this winter"

- Gary Lindhorst, Makro Merchandise Manager. 

The use of gas is a helpful substitute that a lot of South African households have moved to and the affordability of LPG means even the poorer households can make use of it. However, when proper precautions have not been taken, accidents are prone to happen. For a safe, warm winter this year, consider the following;

Gas Equipment

Consumers are advised to only purchase an appliance that has a Permit Verification Number displayed on it. Between them, the LPGas Safety Association of South Africa (LPGSASA) and the South African Gas Association (SAGA) have established the Safe Appliance Scheme (SAS) and the Safe Gas Equipment Scheme (SGES) in order to ensure that all appliances and equipment installed in South Africa have been tested and are in compliance with an internationally or nationally acceptable standard that is safe and fit for intended use. Any equipment that has not been manufactured according to that standard can be a health hazard. Only equipment that has been awarded a Safe Appliance or Equipment Verification Permit may be used.

Equipment installation

Before an LPG appliance can be used properly, it has to be installed properly. Consumers should never attempt to install LPG appliances themselves. Amateur installations have caused numerous accidents in the past, such as fires and gas leakages, which can be hazardous. As per South African law, only a registered Gas practitioner may install gas appliances or equipment. A comprehensive list of registered installers is available on: www.saqccgas.co.za

The winter season is a peak time for Gas consumption as the need to keep warm is immense due to the cold weather. As a result, many fires occur at this time of the year as many of us have our heaters on. Take note of the following safety precautions with regard to the use of Gas heaters;

  • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines carefully.
  • Always turn your heater off at the cylinder valve before going to bed or leaving the room or your property – in fact, at any time when the heater is not in use.
  • Ensure all the components of your unit are well maintained e.g. the heater, regulator, hose and hose connections.
  • When changing the cylinder, first close the cylinder valve and then remove the regulator.
  • Always check that the rubber “O-ring” (washer) on the end of the regulator is not worn, brittle or damaged in any way. Replace it if it is.
  • Test any gas appliance or heater for possible leaks by spraying a soap-water solution on all connections. Leaks will show in the form of bubbles and must be repaired immediately.
  • Do not use aerosols or flammable, cleaning liquids or sprays close to the heater.
  • Avoid sitting or standing too close to your heater– a safe distance would be approximately 1 metre.
  • Always ensure that the room in use is ventilated so that there is a continuous supply of fresh air (oxygen).
  • Ensure that your heater is positioned away from any flammable materials and is not blocking any escape route.
  • Never place clothes or other items on or near your heater.
  • Do not move your unit while it is in use.
  • Educate children on the safe use of gas appliances and never leave them without supervision in a room where an appliance is located.
  • If you suspect a gas leak, turn off the gas cylinder immediately and, if possible, take the heater outside.
  • Only use LP gas appliances that are permitted to be sold in South Africa. A complete list is available on www.lpgas.co.za. Click on the ‘Safety’ button and then on ‘Find a Safe Appliance’.
  • Have your heater serviced regularly

 

General Household Safety 

  • Unplug electrical appliances if they are not going to be used for a long time.
  • Use electric heaters with great caution and unplug them before you go to sleep or leave the area where they are used.
  • Place heaters away from materials such as curtains, bedding, clothing and wooden furniture and ensure adult supervision if children are around.
  • Switch electric blankets off at the wall plug once you leave the bed.
  • Never run electric cables under carpets, as this might cause a short and start a fire.
  • Turn off all electrical appliances if a power failure occurs in your area. 
  • Use paraffin appliances in a well-ventilated area and switch them off after using them.
  • Store flammable liquids in a cool, ventilated area to avoid explosions.
  • Ensure that the chimney in your house is cleaned regularly and covered with a safety shield.
  • Avoid having unnecessary waste or compost heaps if your home will be left unattended for a long time.
  • Extinguish an open fire before you leave it.
  • Take special care when you use open fires for barbequing or heating, and extinguish all fires before you leave the area. 

For more information on the safe use of LPGas, visit the website of the LPGas Safety Association (www.lpgas.co.za) or contact the association on 011 886 9702. 

Emergency numbers

10177

012 3106300/6400

 

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