After a series of accidents were reported involving gas cylinders, which are still being investigated, TVM has looked into what could be causing these incidents and how they can be avoided.
An official from the Civil Protection Department, Anthony Pisani, explained that consumers need to ensure that the regulator which is attached to the cylinder is LPG and not one which belongs to some other gas. They also need to ensure that the regulator is changed after it has been there a long time, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. He also insisted that the installation must be done properly when the cylinder is changed.
”If the regulator is loose on the pop-on, that shows you that it has not been attached properly. Therefore there is a chance that some gas might leak out, it can find a source of ignition and can catch fire.”
Like the regulator, the pipe might also become worn and needs to be changed. ”The pipe has a period when it needs to be changed, in other words, every five years, especially if it is in the sun.”
Mr Pisani warned that the suspicion of a gas leak should never ever be checked by lighting a match. ”You check by using a paintbrush which has been dipped in some soapy water and going over all the joints.”
If a soap bubble bursts, that is confirmation that you have a gas leak, and there are precautions you can take immediately.
”If the electricity is on, don’t turn it off. If it is off, don’t turn it on. Not even mobiles. You should never take a mobile with you when you smell a gas leak. Keep it far away. The first thing you need to do is open a window for fresh air. It is very important to open the windows,” he explained.
Last year, the CPD assisted in over 30 gas leak cases.
”The pipe was not connected properly to the regulator, there was no jubilee clip and the regulator may not have been suitable for the cylinder as such.”
Mr Pisani urged the public to keep gas cylinders out in the open as much as possible.
”If you cannot do this, and your gas cylinder is inside the kitchen counter, it is important to install a gas leak detector. Don’t place this detector too high, but keep it low so that if there is a leakage you will immediately hear the sound it makes.”
TVM is informed that in the last 6 months, the Malta Consumer and Competition Affairs Authority carried out 40 surprise inspections at establishments which sell regulators and at gas distributors.
MCCAA official, James Spiteri said, ”the law says that a cylinder need to be tested every ten years and we monitor gas companies to ensure that these cylinders are actually being tested.”
He added that people need to check how often they need to change the regulator. “It is usually between 5 – 10 years. It is not a case of buying it once and continuing to use it for a lifetime.”
He said that the Authority will continue to carry out inspections and if defective regulators are found they will be withdrawn from the market.