When is a Gas Certificate required?
The higher cost of electricity has prompted many South African home-owners to utilize gas installations in their homes. There are however specific regulations homeowners must comply with when installing gas equipment in their homes to ensure their insurance policy remains valid.
According to the regulations that were introduced in 2009, all gas installations must have a Certificate of Compliance (COC) according to the Pressure Equipment Regulations that have been promulgated under the Occupation Health and Safety Act (No 85 of 1993) - effectively stating that the installation has been properly inspected and is determined to be safe and leak free.
According to the regulation, any home-owner who has a liquid gas installation installed in their home must have a Gas Certificate of Conformity issued by an authorized person who is registered with the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Safety Association of Southern Africa (LPGAS). The onus is on the homeowners to ensure that they have this certificate in their possession - not the installer. In the absence of a valid gas certificate, the insurance company would be well within their rights to repudiate a claim if a defective gas appliance caused a homeowner property damage.
It is also important for homeowners to know that if they wish to sell their home and they have a gas appliance installed, they are required to obtain a gas certificate and deliver a copy thereof to the new purchaser. The types of gas installations that require this certificate include gas fires or braais, gas stoves and ovens, as well as hot water systems. It is vital for all home-owners to realize that such an inspection is not just essential for their insurance policy to remain valid, but even more importantly, that it is conducted to ensure that the installation is safe and their family is not put at risk. If a gas appliance has been incorrectly installed and results in a gas leak this could have major health implications for a family, not to mention the huge danger involved of an explosion.
What is checked during a Gas Inspection?
As with all the different Compliance Certificates there are certain items that must be, or made, compliant before the Compliance Certificate can be issued. While we cannot list the entire regulation book here, for lack of space, we can list some of the more pertinent items.
Gas is a potentially explosive substance so it makes sense that performing a leak test to ensure the gas installation is leak free is the number one priority. It is important to ensure that SABS approved equipment is used, the correct valves are used and that equipment is not placed in illegal positions, as per the below examples.
Windows – gas bottles must be at least 1m from any window and door.
Gully - gas bottles must be at least 2m from any gully.
Tap – if tap does not have a gully under it, the gas bottle can be right next to the tap.
Power point - gas bottles must be at least 5m from a power point.
Size of gas bottles outside – 2 x 48kg max
Size of gas bottle inside – 9 kg max, and if in a cupboard, it must have adequate ventilation.
Gas bottle next to braai or fire place is allowed if installed correctly.
No gas bottles permitted in a garage.
No switch socket outlets allowed under a gas hop or in the same compartment.
Gas bottle must be more than 1 meter sideways from doors and windows.
Gas bottle may not be less than 2 meters from drains and air vents.
Gas bottle may not be less than 3 meters below windows (unless a non-combustible roof is installed).
Gas bottle must be more than 1 meter from the property boundary wall (unless it is a fire wall).
Light bulbs cannot be less than 1.5 meters above a gas bottle.
LPGAS provides the following useful tips regarding gas safety:
• Always use a registered gas installer.
• Always use a qualified gas dealer.
• Always use a verified and tested gas product.
• Always check the seal on a gas cylinder matches the brand of the cylinder.
• Always check gas appliances before use.
What is NOT covered by the Gas Certificate?
The primary concern of the Gas Compliance Certificate is SAFETY and the inspector report is not concerned with non-compliance issues such as:
The inspection is limited to the gas installation only and the gas certificate does not cover the actual gas appliances, stove, heater, braai, hop, geyser etc.
What is the procedure in obtaining a Gas Certificate?
Selling your home? If you have Gas appliances installed in your home then you will probably require a Gas Certificate.
You, your Estate Agent, or even your Transferring Attorney can submit the request for a Gas Inspection.
It is recommended you have your gas installations checked by a registered gas installer on an annual basis.