WOODSTOCK GAS is BIG on GAS SAFETY.
LPG is a clean, safe, modern fuel that brings comfort to tens of millions of consumers worldwide. However, as with any fuel, safety in operations and handling is imperative for consumers and for the industry. The resources and tips on this website outline the simple guidelines and industry regulations that should be followed when using LPG equipment.
Woodstock Gas is a member of the LPG Safety Association of South Africa (LPGSA) and safety initiatives supported by LPGSA include technical LPG training, consultation and communication regarding industry standards, maintenance of the Safe Appliance database and Cylinder Verification database, as well as incident investigation in partnership with the Department of Labor – all to ensure the safety of you, the consumer.
Gas Stove Safety Tips
- Managing the Flame
The flames on a gas stoves can easily be controlled by turning the knob - and it can be changed between low, medium, and high. The flame should never reach out from under the cookware placed on the burners as that may expose your fingers to the heat.
It is essential that the burners are turned on only for the duration of cooking. Leaving the flame unattended or while not cooking may lead to accidents and fire hazards. If the spark does not light up as soon as the burner is turned on, you must turn it off and wait for a few seconds.
If there is a recurring delay in the flame lighting up, the burner might be blocked and may need to be cleaned.
- Taking Care of the Gas Stove
The gas stove is widely used, and it lasts for a long time. But for it to provide a long and hassle-free useful life, it must be maintained in a certain way. The most significant cause of safety concerns with gas stoves is carelessness and improper maintenance.
It is crucial that you clean your stove on a daily basis – take out the burners and heavy grates, and wash them with soapy water. If the burner’s holes are blocked by food debris or other waste, use a toothpick or other sharp object to clear it. You must ensure that the burners and grates are not removed right after cooking but give it time to cool down.
- Using the Right Utensils
An essential prerequisite to ensure safety while using gas stoves is to use the right utensils or cookware. A necessary check is that the bottom of your cookware or utensil must cover the flame when it is turned to high, in essence, the fire should not escape from the bottom to the sides of the cookware. So choosing the right size of utensils is of utmost importance.
The material of the cookware should be anti-corrosive and non-flammable. Do not use any plastic, melamine or glass utensils with your gas stove. The utensils should be properly cleaned and dried before putting them on your gas stove to cook.
- Monitoring Carbon Monoxide
Using a gas stove, it emits harmful carbon monoxide. Being colorless and odorless, it is impossible for you to detect carbon monoxide emissions unless you experience the detrimental effects of it.
Exposure to carbon monoxide emissions can lead to dizziness, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. If you experience any of these symptoms while cooking, it is highly likely that you are inhaling toxic carbon monoxide being emitted from your stove. Purchasing an audible carbon monoxide detector and installing it in your kitchen is the best way to monitor this harmful gas and prevent it from adversely affecting your health.
- Proactive and Careful Cooking
The kind of attention you pay to small details when you are cooking can make a huge difference on safety with using a gas stove.
Keeping the handles of cookware to the side or using the back burners to prevent the handles from protruding beyond the counter-top eliminates the risk of knocking the utensils over and spilling hot food.
Turning off the burners immediately after use, paying attention to the flame, and not leaving the stove unattended while it is in use are some of the essential points to be kept in your safety checklist for proactive and careful cooking.
- Preventing Gas Leaks and Fire Hazards
Being aware of your surroundings and observing even slight signs of probable mis-haps are the key to ensuring safety while using a gas stoves. The most significant cause of concern for gas stoves is the highly flammable nature of gas and the potential for devastating fire hazards.
If you feel that the gas is leaking and you can smell gas, turn off the burners as well as the valve on the gas tank - and do not turn it back on until the gas smell is fully expelled out of your home. If you still face issues and feel the gas is leaking, check the burners, pipe connection, and the gas cylinder.
If, after all this, you are unable to find the leakage source and fix it, do not use your gas stove unless you get an expert to come and fix the problem.
- Keeping Flammable Objects Away
The heat from a gas stove burner can burn flammable objects that are held close to it. Plastic utensils or jars, foil paper wrappings, and air-tight glass containers must be kept at a safe distance from the gas stove, and more so when it is being used.
A common mistake most of us make is placing things on adjacent burners that are not being used. The safest option is to keep absolutely nothing on the burners and keep flammable objects far away from the stove.
Only utensils and cookware that is safe to be used on a gas stove should be kept near it, to avoid careless and unintentional use of flammable materials.
- Access to Emergency Equipment and Services
Keeping a fire extinguisher handy is a must in kitchens that have a gas stove. It is a widely believed myth that water should be used to put out (gas) fires. However, in case of a fire hazard in your kitchen, water is not the best way to put out the fire. You should only use a fire extinguisher should the need ever arise.
Keeping a fire extinguisher and ensuring that you know how to use it is crucial. Getting expert help in case of gas leaks is always advisable, so keeping emergency contact numbers noted down on your refrigerator door is a good way to go about it. Emergency numbers should include; Fire Department, Ambulance Service, nearest Hospital Trauma Unit, the Nearest Burns Unit, LPG Safety Association, SAPS and the local neighborhood watch.
- Personal Information
One needs to take a few simple precautions to avoid mis-haps. Ensure you do not wear clothes that are too loose or made from a material that can quickly catch fire. Women should tie their hair while cooking to be on the safe side.
You should keep children out of the kitchen while cooking and teenagers should not be allowed to cook alone. Taking these steps are not enough to ensure total safety, but they guarantee that you do not experience an accident that you may regret afterwards.
- Installing a Smoke Alarm
Most of the newly built homes come equipped with smoke alarms and in-built fire safety mechanisms. In case your home was not purchased or constructed in recent years, you might need to get these safety features installed, and they are definitely worth the cost.
A smoke alarm is ideal to prevent fire hazards, especially in the kitchen. In case of occasional cooking for long hours to prepare food for a party or at a festive time, it is possible that you leave the stove burning longer than you should.
As soon as the flames start cooking the food, the smoke will trigger the alarm and help avoid a fire catastrophe in your kitchen. Although it may not be used at all, a smoke alarm adds a stable layer of defense.
- Choosing the Right Range Hood
Gas stoves use LPGas or propane to ignite flames on the burners. The fire releases fumes when it comes into contact with the cookware. It is vital that the fumes are vented outdoors immediately. If the kitchen does not have ventilation and windows in strategic places, it can be difficult to ventilate the fumes and smoke.
Installing an efficient range hood chimney that is as large as your stove is an ideal way to ensure the outward ventilation of the fumes and smoke. Nobody wants to cook in a kitchen that gets filled with smoke while using a gas stoves - the right chimney will ensure that the kitchen is not filled with smoke.
Store gas cylinders upright in a well-ventilated area that is situated away from open flames, power outlets and electrical appliances. Also, if the ventilation of your room is hot, endeavor to open windows.
The many benefits of using a gas stove makes it a must-have in almost every kitchen. Following basic safety tips will allow you to enjoy these benefits for many years.
Get an annual gas safety check - Get a Woodstock Gas registered gas technician to check all gas appliances once a year. We also do a visual inspection of the gas pipework and a pressure test to confirm there are no gas leaks.
Look out for gas appliance warning signs - If your appliance isn’t working as it should be, there are certain signs to look out for like floppy yellow flames, extra condensation and black marks around the appliance.
Ensure adequate ventilation - This is essential for gas appliances to burn properly. You’ll want to make sure that no air vents or chimneys are blocked.
Only use gas appliances for their intended purpose - Don’t use an appliance for something it wasn’t meant for - for example, using a cooker to heat a room.
If you smell gas or suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, it’s important to contact your emergency service provider straight away. Keeping the emergency number at hand is a good idea.