1.What is Liquid Petroleum Gas?
Gas cylinders contain liquid petroleum gas (LPG) in liquid form. This liquid evaporates very rapidly and consequently when the cylinder valve is opened, gas is released under pressure. The Liquiefied Petroleum Gas is colorless and weighs half the weight of water. In actual fact, this liquid is composed of a mixture of two other very flammable hydrocarbon liquids, which are propane and butane, in the proportion of 25% propane and 75% butane.The LPG is imported by Enemalta Corporation and is stored in large tanks under pressure, at its Installation at Qajjenza, limits of Birzebbugia.
Since LPG has no smell, prior to shipment, the refinery adds a chemical called mercaptan, which has a strong pungent smell. This smell is a sign showing that gas is present in the air.
When the gas burns with a sufficient quantity of air, the gas produces carbon dioxide and water vapour. However, if the gas does not have sufficient air to burn, as one encounters in gas water geysers with blocked chimneys, carbon monoxide is produced. This is a toxic gas and has no smell. When one inhales this toxic gas he\she falls asleep and if one remains in that state the consequences can be fatal. For this reason it is necessary that such appliances are serviced regularly.
One can contact the Liquigas for further information on the following numbers:. 2165661,21651662, 21651663, 21651664 and 21651665
Apart from the well-known fact that this gas is very flammable, it is also very dangerous when it turns to gas, due to the fact that this gas is twice as heavy as air. Thus, instead of dispersing in the air as happens with most gases, the gas remains at a low level and flows on the ground. Once this liquid petroleum gas encounters a trace of fire or spark, even if the source is quite a distance away from the gas leak, an explosion occurs.
As per Legal Notice 331 of the year 2002, gas cylinders imported into Malta have to conform to European Standards. Thus, since 2003, gas cylinders imported by the Corporation have been in conformity with this Legal Notice. Purchase of gas cylinders by the Corporation is done through a public tender.
All prospective suppliers have to submit a sample cylinder. Independent contractors are then appointed by the Corporation to evaluate the quality of the sample, which includes pressure tests to ensure that the cylinder is made to withstand the designed pressures. This ensures that the cylinders ordered are safe and are not dangerous for consumers.
The Corporation is in the process of standardising its cylinders. As such the 'old' 10 Kg and 15 Kg cylinders which are used in our homes are being withdrawn and replaced by 12 Kg cylinders. A 12Kg cylinder weighs 12 Kg when empty and has a capacity of 12Kg of gas. As such a full 12 Kg cylinder weighs 24 Kgs.
The 12Kg of liquid LPG in the cylinder evaporates to over 5,000 litres of LPG gas. For complete combustion of this gas, there is a requirement of no less than 150,000 litres of air.
The yellow colour of the gas cylinders has been chosen solely to indicate that the cylinders are the property of Enemalta Corporation. Cylinders, which have a red neck, are not suitable for home use as they contain only propane and not LPG and as such are to be returned to the gas distributor.
Prior to leaving the Installation in Birzebbugia, each cylinder is usually examined and also passed through a testing tank to ensure absence of any leaks. The gas distributor also certifies that the gas cylinders he receives for distribution are in good condition.
There are two reasons why a gas cylinder has a valve. The first function of the valve is to permit the cylinder to be filled with liquid LPG at a fast rate at the Installation. The second function is to permit the gaseous LPG to flow out of the cylinder at a slow rate when the cylinder is connected to a home appliance.
The 'old' valves are of the type known as 'screw valves' and operate when the wheel is turned. As such gas can leave the cylinder even when the cylinder is not connected to a gas appliance. To connect the regulator to the valve a spanner is needed.
Valves that started to be used during these last years are of the type known as the 'clip-on'. These do not require any spanners for connection to the regulator. With this type of valve, the gas leaves the cylinder only when connected to the regulator.
For an appliance to function correctly, it is of supreme importance that it receives gas at a constant pressure. This is the function of the regulator. The gas pipe is connected to the regulator by means of a pipe clip. The regulators which are used on 'clip-on valves' incorporate internal security features and do not require spanners or washers for connection to the valve. In fact, the regulator can be fixed to the gas cylinder very easily.
You may suspect that there is a gas leak either from an abnormally strong smell of gas, or from an observation that a gas cylinder is showing signs of frost/ice on its outside.
If you suspect a gas leak inside the premises, make sure you follow the steps below:
1. Open doors and windows to allow fresh air to enter the area.
2. Check whether any appliance has been left on and turn it off.
3. Turn the gas cylinder off by turning the regulator handle to the 'off position'.
4. If the gas cylinder is inside a premise, move it to the open air.
5. Never test for a gas leak with a flame. To detect a gas-leak use soap and water.
6. Contact Liquigas on 21651661 / 5 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
This Company responds to consumers requests for assistance in cas of gas leaks.
7.What one should not do when a gas leak is suspected?
· Turn any electrical switches on or off (not even a doorbell)
· Smoke, use matches or lighters, or naked flames.
· Use mobile phones in the area of the gas leak.
· Never change the gas cylinder in the presence of any flames.
Never store or make use of gas cylinders in a confined space or basement. Remember that LP gas is heavier than air and in case of leakage it descends to the lowest level.
Consumers should always ensure that they purchase good quality regulators.
A pipe clip is used to secure the pipe to the regulator and to the appliance, and no other material, for example string or wire should be used for this purpose. Appropriate tubing should be used for connecting the cylinder to the appliance, plastic or general use rubber tubing shouldn't be used. For connections in excess of one meter, it is always recommended to use copper or brass tubing.
One should never make use of gas appliances in places with insufficient airflow and gas appliances shouldn't be used or installed in areas liable to draughts.
One should be very cautious when using any gas heater at his/her own residence. First of all gas heaters must be serviced and well maintained by a qualified technician especially when it is going to be used for the first time after being stored for a long period. The connections of the regulator to the gas cylinder must always be checked prior to ignition. Another very important priority is to have good ventilation with an adequate circulation of fresh air into the room where the heater is being used. It is important to note that one-kilogram of LPG needs 12 cubic meters of air for complete combustion. Gas heaters should never be left unattended.
Before buying your first cylinder you must ensure that a qualified gas technician has inspected your home gas system. When you install the gas cylinder ensure you use good quality regulators and ensure also that all gas appliances are turned off.
It is also recommended to have a comprehensive safety check of all connections, gas appliances and pipe work periodically.