Gas installations should be kept in a safe and good working condition by a combination of routine and periodic inspection and maintenance. This is a legal requirement in most countries with defined scope and frequency.
Failure to comply not only increases risks of incidents but may result in penalties and shutdown of Gas facilities by authorities.
Inspection and maintenance can be the responsibility of either the consumer or the Gas supplier depending on the signed contract stipulations. Whatever the case, only trained and competent personnel should be allowed to carry out work on the Gas installation.
Inspection and maintenance should cover LPG tanks, cylinders, piping and all other equipment that affects the integrity of the LPG system.
Where inspections reveal defects or significant deterioration, this should be recorded and the inspection methods used plus any remedial action taken should be detailed. The competent person should also assess the effects of such deterioration, defect or repair and either endorse or revise the safe working limits of the tank or equipment.
Routine Inspection and Maintenance
Frequency of routine inspection should be risk-based and recommended by a competent person. It should cover external inspection of visible parts of tanks and cylinders, pipe and pipe fittings, vapourisers if used, fire protection equipment and other equipment installed. It should be carried out by an appropriately trained person and should cover the following:
For Cylinder Installation
- Inspect the storage site and surrounding area for any flammable materials stored and sources of ignition. Inspect the cylinders and piping for signs of corrosion, damage and leakage
- Particular emphasis should be paid to the undersides of pipe and areas in contact with supports
- Check hoses for signs of cracks or leakage and if they are suitably clamped. They should be replaced when damaged or have reached the end of their recommended useful life
For Bulk Installation
- Inspect the storage site and surrounding area for any flammable materials stored and sources of ignition. Check tank and tank fittings for signs of corrosion, damage or leakage.
- Inspect the pressure relief valve for corrosion and if drain holes are blocked which can cause water retention leading to corrosion.
- Check if the thread on the filler valve is worn out and needs replacement.
- Inspect piping for signs of corrosion, damage and leakage. Particular emphasis should be paid to the undersides of pipe and areas in contact with supports.
- Check hoses for signs of crack or leakage and if they are suitably clamped. They should be replaced when damaged or have reached the end of its recommended useful life
- Check that the grounding cable is connected to tank and in satisfactory condition.
- Check the concrete piers and pads for damages and differential settlement.
- Cathodic protection system of underground installation if provided should be check if readings is still within specification.
- Vapourisers should be checked for signs of corrosion, damage and leaks. For indirectly heated type, check for sufficiency of water level and satisfactory condition of electrical connections.
- Fire extinguishers should be inspected if still in satisfactory condition and properly recorded. Test fixed water sprays of bulk installation if provided to check for blockage of nozzles and if water pressure is sufficient.
- All inspection and maintenance records should be kept on site.
- Aboveground piping should be inspected for signs or corrosion, damage or leaks with emphasis on the areas where pipe passes thru supports. Piping should be pressure tested.
- Buried piping should be tested for leakage by appropriate means i.e. pressure testing, gas detection, etc. In some cases the piping should be exposed by excavation to check for corrosion.
- Check for satisfactory operation of items such as level control, heat input controls, emergency valves (other than pressure relief valves), flame control devices, pressure controllers, etc. Safety devices such as solenoid valves and similar items should be given particular attention.
- Check for corrosion and damage. Flame impingement areas of direct fired equipment should be given special attention.
- Check for LPG leakage under normal operating pressure and with hydraulic test.
It is unavoidable for LPG appliances to not develop undesirable flame characteristics with constant use. Regular inspection and maintenance will keep it functioning safely and efficiently. Manufacturers usually provide instruction manuals accompanying their appliance on how to care of their product which should be followed.
Here are some simple tips on maintaining a typical LPG appliance:
- The best type of flame is shown by a bluish and evenly distributed halo of flame surrounding the burner. Flames showing yellow tip or lifting from the burner ports require maintenance. The air flow path should be inspected for any blockage and/or the air shutter adjusted to attain the bluish flame.
- Burners with difficulty lighting should have their spark igniter inspected and/or cleaned.
- Burner ports should also be cleared of any blockage from food debris, soot or other particles. Use only suitable tools to avoid damage to burner ports
- Exhaust kitchen hood if installed should be regularly cleaned to prevent accumulation of grease which is often the cause of fire
- Some ovens may require calibration of their thermostat to keep the settings accurate
- Always use genuine parts when replacement is needed
- Always use trained technicians to repair and maintain LPG appliances.