gas cylinder

STAYING SAFE WITH PORTABLE GAS BBQS AND COOKERS

We all love a BBQ. There is nothing quite like the ease of having a gas one either. It wasn’t too long ago that the NSW Fire & Rescue reminded us all about about the safe use of gas BBQs after a series of LPG BBQ explosions caused a number of serious injuries and a considerable amount of damage to property.

Whether you are at home using your portable cooker or portable BBQ, or you are out having an adventure, these tips are designed to get the most out of your cooking machine and staying safe.

Check out these great ideas and ways for keeping the barbeque working safely.

MAINTENANCE

You will need to replace your cylinders (the gas bottles) if they look like they have been damaged in any way. You can check for any leaks with soapy water. Simply spray or sponge it on. You will see bubbles if there is any gas escaping.

You should also check connections and hoses in the same way. Whenever you think of the cylinder, think of the whole setup in the same way. Generally speaking, hoses need to be replaced every 5 years. However, if you are adventure camping or fishing and dragging (or wheeling) your portable BBQ or portable gas cooking around a lot, you might want to replace them more often.

Always check your connections fit snugly. I use a bit of water to check my connections are not leaking every time I use it and especially any time I have set it up when camping and fishing.

CYLINDER CARE

Even small portable cylinders need to be tested. You are not allowed to refill a gas cylinder that hasn’t been checked with a test over the last 10 years. You also can’t refill a cylinder that has been damaged. If you are wondering how old your gas cylinder is, then take a look at the marking on the neck of the cylinder. There you will find the date of production. Getting your gas cylinder tested regularly is relatively easy. I do it once a year and when I know it took a bit of a beating when on extended camping and fishing trips. Gas bottle testing should include the replacement of all valves.

Always keep your gas cylinder upright, even the portable models have some amount of rounding on the bottom or top to cope with being moved about but that does not mean they should be put any way other than standing upright.

Always store your cylinder in a well-ventilated area. Ideally, you should always store your gas cylinder outdoors.

When transporting your cylinder, make sure it is well secured. You definitely do not want it rolling around. You can wedge it somewhere in your car so it cannot move and make sure it is securely tied down with tie-down straps if it is somewhere else. Never leave your cylinder in your car.

PORTABLE GAS BBQS AND COOKER CARE

From the get go, always make sure you are using the right type of fuel. Your BBQ or gas cooker will state what gas type is to be used with it. Some use LPG and others use natural gas.

Never use a gas BBQ or cooker in a space without ventilation, and that includes using one under a tent awning. These devices are designed to be used outdoors and in the open air. You risk being exposed to toxic fumes, not to mention the fact that you might melt something overhead.

Make sure you have plenty of space around your BBQ or cooker. That means more space that you standing there cooking. Always keep enough space so other people don’t have to try and get around you. That’s particularly important when there are lots of kids around.

Be careful when using your BBQ or cooker in windy conditions. The flames will often be blown out. BBQs or cookers with a windshield are an excellent choice for mildly windy conditions.

GETTING YOUR CYLINDERS REFILLED

Smaller cylinders are best taken to swapping centres to be refilled. You can choose to swap the whole thing. You can also have a gas bottle refilled at some petrol stations and many other locations, even some hardware stores provide this service. Even still, most people choose to use a gas cylinder exchange system.

Gas cylinder exchanges are the best way to go because the cylinder is checked at each refill by staff who are trained to refill gas cylinders. Gas cylinder exchanges have replaced those older refill-yourself operations.

Disposing of old gas cylinders is as easy as leaving them at an exchange centre. For larger non-portable gas cylinders, you should check with your local council for where you can recycle them properly because gas bottles for barbeques, camping stoves, lamps and heaters often end up being forgotten after first being stored. They sometimes end up in normal recycling systems, which creates a major hazard for Australian recycling companies. Explosions can be the result when gas cylinders end up in the wrong recycling systems and they slip through the normal safety precautions. Don’t let yourself be a part of endangering anyone and make sure you do the right thing.

 


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Martin White
martinw@dinga.com.au

Martin is huge on everything outdoors and is even bigger on driving and technology. He loves boats, new stuff and writing about it.