LPG Safety – If you smell it, switch it off!

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LPG Cylinders

LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) is a convenient, affordable and safe Australian fuel. Gas bottles are tested and inspected to make sure they’re safe to use. Suppliers make LPG smell as an extra precaution, to help people detect gas in the event of a leak. The smell is a strong and disagreeable odor that resembles rotten eggs.

If you smell gas, you should switch off your gas bottle immediately as LPG is flammable. Sometimes gas can lose its smell so it’s important that you use common sense when using LPG and don’t rely on your sense of smell alone to warn you of leaking gas. The loss of smell is known as odorant fade. Suppliers follow strict procedures to lessen the chances of odorant fade occurring. You can also help to prevent odorant fade by using and storing your LPG cylinders correctly.

Click on the drop down boxes below to find out more.

Personnel

The Proprietor is all about the business which sits behind the Autogas installation, signing up to the installer Code of Ethics, ensuring that proper business processes are in place including work procedures and insurances. 

Are conversions expensive?

The cost of an LPG Autogas conversion depends on the type of car that is being converted and the type of gas system that is best suited to it. Most conversions cost between $3000 and $4000.

Most people find that an LPG Autogas conversion quickly pays for itself through fuel savings. For example, a person driving 500 kilometres per week will save around $880 per year.

The Australian Government also offers grants for conversions through the LPG Vehicle Scheme. Grants of $1000 are available for the LPG conversion of registered cars, and grants of $2000 for the purchase of new factory fitted LPG-powered cars or the conversion of previously unregistered cars.

The Scheme ends on 30 June 2014.

Premise

The premise is the workshop where the Autogas work takes place and that this workplace meets the requirements of state workplace health and safety laws and the industry standard for a workshop for gaseous fuelled vehicles AS 2739.

Proprietor

The Proprietor is all about the business which sits behind the Autogas installation, signing up to the installer Code of Ethics, ensuring that proper business processes are in place including work procedures and insurances.

Who do I contact if I want to learn more?

If you would like to learn more about LPG safety, get in touch with your LPG supplier or contact Gas Energy Australia on +61 2 6176 3100, or at mail@gasenergyaustralia.asn.au.

Should I get a gas detector at home?

If you know that you can’t smell gas, believe you have problems with your sense of smell, or would simply like an extra layer of protection, you should consider installing a gas detector.

Gas detectors sound an alarm when gas is detected, much like a smoke alarm.

Contact your LPG supplier for more information.

What can I do to help keep the smell in LPG?

People who use LPG can also help prevent LPG from losing its smell, and maximise safety, by storing and using LPG cylinders correctly.

• Always turn your LPG cylinder off when it’s not in use. Do not leave your gas bottle valve open, even when you have run out of gas. This allows air to enter the cylinder and could cause oxidation to occur;

• Do not store your LPG bottle indoors or in an enclosed space. In the rare event of a leak, LPG could pool without being detected and pose a fire hazard;

• Only use LPG cylinders, fittings and hoses from reputable suppliers; and,

• Do not use damaged LPG cylinders, fittings or hoses, or try to repair them yourself.

An easy way to check if your gas bottle is leaking is to perform a soapy water leak test on the gas bottle connection. If bubbles appear where the soapy water is applied to the connection, you should turn off your gas bottle immediately and have it inspected before any future use.

Watch the video below to learn more about gas bottle safety.

What does the industry do to help keep the smell in LPG?

Australia’s LPG suppliers follow strict procedures to lessen the chances of adsorption, absorption and oxidation occurring and potentially causing odorant to fade.

This includes:

• making sure the correct amount of odorant is added to LPG;
• monitoring the levels of odorant throughout the supply chain;
• conditioning cylinders; and,
• making sure storage tanks and cylinders are clean and purged of air and other substances prior to use.

Will I always be able to smell LPG?

Some people cannot smell the odorant added to LPG, either due to illness or continued exposure to the smell.

LPG can also lose its smell altogether. This is known as odorant fade. It’s caused by adsorption, absorption and oxidation.

Adsorption involves the odour ‘sticking’ to the inside steel walls of the gas bottle.

Absorption refers to the odour being absorbed by another substance such as water.

Oxidation occurs when the inside of a gas bottle is exposed to air, causing a chemical reaction which can result in LPG losing its smell.

No odorant can provide an absolute guarantee of no odorant fade.

Why do we make LPG Stink?

Odour is added to LPG because it is naturally colourless, odourless and is also flammable. This helps make LPG easier to detect should there be a leak.

The unpleasant ‘rotten eggs’ smell associated with LPG is achieved by suppliers adding Ethyl Mercaptan to LPG.

While this odorant usually produces a distinctive smell, not everyone can smell it. Some people cannot smell this odour at all, due to illness or continued exposure to the smell.

LPG can also lose its smell altogether. This is known as odorant fade.

Is LPG Autogas safe?

Yes, LPG Autogas is one of the safest fuels on the market. In Australia, the LPG Autogas industry is controlled by rigorous national standards and additional state regulations.

Autogas tanks and refueling infrastructure are inspected and tested on a regular basis to make sure they are in good working order.

Odorant is added as an extra precaution to help detect leaks should they occur.

One-way safety valves are fitted to refueling pumps to prevent spills when filling up your car.

Can any car be converted to LPG Autogas?

Most car makes and models can be converted to LPG Autogas. Contact a licensed installer to find out if your car is suitable for a conversion.

Can I put my car onto straight Autogas or does it have to be dual fuel (gas/petrol)?

Most installers recommend a dual fuel system to allow you more flexibility. By simply flicking a switch, you can change between running your car on LPG Autogas or unleaded petrol.

How much will I save in fuel costs?

LPG Autogas is around 60 per cent of the price of unleaded petrol. Therefore, a person who drives 500 kilometres per week will save around $880 per year.

Use the calculator on the left to find out how much you could save in fuel costs.

How green is LPG Autogas?

LPG Autogas produces 10 to 16 per cent less Green House Gas emissions than unleaded petrol and diesel, depending on the engine.

Will LPG Autogas affect my fuel consumption and vehicle’s performance?

While some LPG Autogas systems slightly increase a car’s fuel consumption, this is easily offset by the cheaper price of Autogas compared to petrol.

Current advanced Autogas vapour and liquid injection technologies now match, and often surpass, the power and drivability of petrol systems.

How often do I need gas services done after my car has been converted?

The first gas service is done at 1500 kilometres. From then on, it’s recommended that they are serviced at every 20,000 kilometres or yearly.

Is there a warranty on the new fuel system?

The new LPG Autogas fuel system comes under your installer’s warranty. Ask a qualified installer for more information.

Will LPG Autogas harm my engine?

No. Running your car on LPG Autogas can actually increase the life of your engine as it’s a clean burning fuel that doesn’t contain acids or leave carbon deposits behind.

Will an Autogas conversion affect the resale value of my car?

Converting your car to LPG Autogas could actually increase the value of your car, as Autogas reduces engine wear and tear. Motorists are also attracted by the fuel cost saving benefits that Autogas provides.