Natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas [LP gas] are safe, efficient and environmentally-friendly fuels. But, like all fuels, they must be treated with care. Both of these gases are given an artificial odour to make them easy to detect in case of a leak.
Natural gas is a colourless, odourless fossil fuel consisting of a mixture of gases, mainly methane. It's lighter than air, it isn't poisonous and, at the right concentration in air [usually 5-15%], it can be ignited.
LP gas is produced during the oil refining process or extracted during the natural gas process. It consists mainly of propane and a small quantity of butane. It's heavier than air, it isn't poisonous and, at the right concentration in air [usually 2.5-10%], it can be ignited.
Here's what you should do if you smell gas: Avoid flames and sparks - don't light matches or cigarettes. Don't use electrical switches, appliances or mobile phones. Never light a gas appliance if you detect gas odour. Turn off all gas appliances, making sure the pilot light [a small flame that lights the main burner] has gone out. Open all windows and doors to disperse the gas. If you use LP gas, you should take extra care to ventilate confined spaces, basements and other low-lying locations where pockets of gas may collect before attempting to re-light your gas appliances.
This is important because unlike natural gas, which is lighter than air, LP gas is heavier than air and requires more ventilation. If you still smell gas or you think gas is escaping even after all appliances have been turned off, you should switch off the main gas supply tap and immediately call the Faults and Emergency Line on 13 13 52, 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week.
If the property owner is responsible for the damage to the gas main or service, they may incur the repair costs.
Important: First, you should turn off all appliance controls and pilot lights. Then, turn the main gas supply tap to the OFF position.
The main gas supply tap is located near the gas meter, usually in the meter box.
The diagrams on this page show the OFF positions for various types of gas taps. If you have a gate valve, turn the wheel clockwise to close the valve.
How to turn ON the main gas supply tap: Check that all appliance controls and pilot lights are turned off. Return the main gas supply tap to the ON position [see diagrams above]. If you have a gate valve, turn the wheel anti-clockwise to open the valve.
Re-light pilot lights, following the manufacturer's written instructions. Installing your gas appliances When you buy a gas appliance, you should make sure it's approved by the Australian Gas Association and bears an approval label. Installation of any gas appliance, including additional pipework, should only be carried out by a licensed gas fitter.
Once your appliance has been installed, read the manufacturer's instructions carefully to learn how to use your gas appliance correctly. Servicing your gas appliances Just like a car, your gas appliances need to be serviced regularly to make sure they continue operating safely and efficiently for many years.
Generally, you should have your appliances serviced every 12 months or as per the manufacturer's instructions. Servicing work on any gas appliance should only be carried out by a licensed gas fitter.