Need to Know: LPG Tanks and Home Safety

Most Kenyans are adopting to the use gas range stoves when cooking. Modern cooking appliances such as electric induction cookers are costly and much higher than the country’s LPG price. Kenya is therefore susceptible to a fire caused by leaking LPG tanks and open gas range stoves.

Homes are also unsafe from the reported 6 million 6 and 13-kilogram LPG cylinders that aren’t in good condition. These cylinders are in the market and, like time ticking bombs will cause a lot of damage to properties and lives if mishandled.

It’s best to get ahead and know the important things to remember when buying and handling LPG cylinders. Below are some details that mustn’t come amiss:

Buying LPG Cylinders

  1. Transact with authorized dealers and sellers only.
    Dealers have to post certificates and permits from Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority and county council papers in a place visible to the public. Always look for them before proceeding with the transaction.
  2. Inspect the cylinder thoroughly.
    LPG tanks locally manufactured have Kenya Bureau of Standard (KBS) mark while imported ones have the import commodity clearance (ICC) mark. The marks guarantee that the tank underwent safety and quality testing. Look for the marks to make sure you are taking home a safe and tested cylinder. Beware of any dents at the bottom and watch out for excessive rust spots. Also, do not accept half-empty or defective tanks. To make sure that it doesn’t tamper, ask the resellers to weigh it using a required weighing scale. You have the right to request for a cylinder that is accurately weighed, clean and free from any defects.
  3. Never buy an unbranded LPG cylinder.
    Tanks are marked with the name of the company that sells it. Check the markings. The name of the original manufacturer is embossed on the collar of the tank, including the serial number and manufacturing date.
  4. An LPG tank is only qualified for consumption within ten years of manufacture.
    After ten years, it is requalified to check its safety for use. Thus the tank should also bear the date of requalification. After that, the tank is requalified every five years.
  5. Ask for a receipt upon purchasing the LPG cylinder.
    A receipt ensures you are buying from a legitimate source. It also allows you to return the tank if it isn’t in good condition. You can also report the supplier to authorities if the cylinder they sold you is of substandard quality.
  6. Double-check the seal of the LPG tank if it is indeed original and intact.

Handling

  1. Tank installation or repair must be done by trained and qualified LPG service providers.
    Do not try to fix the cylinder or remove the hose connection from the stove or regulator by yourself. It is better to leave the work to the experts.
  2. Upon installation, turn on the gas range and observe the color of the flames. New LPG tanks give out BLUE flames and not yellow.
  3. When cleaning the gas stove, also check the condition of the LPG hose. Pure LPG doesn’t give off an odor when it leaks, so manufacturers incorporate traces of foul odorant to signify a leak as stated by Ricky Catalan of Metal Industry Research and Development Center (MIRCD). Do not light a match, candle or open fire to test for leaks.
  4. Place the cylinder in a well-ventilated area and not inside a cabinet.
  5. Always position LPG cylinders upright.

Taking note of these will minimize the risk of LPG leak related incidents. With the bill ‘LPG Industry Regulation and Safety Act,’ ownership of and accountability for the LPG cylinder and will grant the government the power to confiscate scrap, dilapidated and substandard cylinders. There will also be penalties and sanctions to those who violate consumer safety regulations.

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