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print article042-E Gas


                                                                                           042-E GAS
Often the cheapest and most convenient energy source for cooking, water heating, and room heating is gas. Some housing estates or blocks of flats, especially in the Algarve, have communal piped gas from a central storage tank, these usually supply propane. However, some houses still rely on bottled gas. Both butane and propane are available, butane is the most commonly used and comes in both 11kg and 45kg bottles. 
Unfortunately gas appliances can be the cause of accidents leading to hospitalisation of about 300 people in Portugal a year (most of them in the big towns due to old and unsupervised installations). The Government strengthened the building regulations, creating a system for licensing gas installers and gas inspectors, and requiring regular inspections of accommodation.   The consumer is responsible for ensuring that their domestic gas system is properly installed and well maintained. This includes the pipe work, the appliances and the ventilation system. They consider gas not to be dangerous if it is used correctly and if the appliances are in good condition and are properly installed. However, in the study they found that the majority of houses visited were at risk because of incorrect installation of appliances or because of worn flexible rubber hoses. 
What are the main types of accident?  The most frequent type of accident is explosion. Domestic gas therefore has an odour added to it to warn of a leak. The other type of accident is carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, toxic gas. It is a component of town gas, but all the gases produce carbon monoxide when they do not burn completely. 
Authorised installers and inspectors  Gas installers are licensed by the Directorate of Energy (Direcção-Geral de Energia), and should carry a copy of their license. Only licensed installers should carry out installation and maintenance of gas systems and appliances.  The Direcção-Geral de Energia also appoints independent Gas Inspectors. These are technicians trained and licensed to carry out regular safety inspections of gas systems. They do not carry out installation or maintenance work. The issue of a gas certificate costs about €25. 
Inspections  Owners of houses used for domestic residence have a duty to have an inspection of the gas system every five years. There are stricter rules for houses used for short-term tourist accommodation.  Installations with piped gas supplies 
The supplier of piped gas will normally carry out an inspection of your system before providing a supply. They should also be able to supply you with the necessary safety information and access to qualified service technicians. 
Installations using gas bottles  Owners of gas installations using bottled gas should ask their supplier for safety information. At least one supplier now provides a free insurance package for domestic users. It is recommended that a house owner always has a certified gas technician to design and carry out the installation. Wherever possible keep bottles outside buildings, in secure, well ventilated, store rooms. Bottles must have a pressure reducing valve, reduction valves for propane are set to different pressures to those for butane and it is dangerous to use the incorrect valve. Flexible rubber tubes should be less than 80cm long, and be stamped with the numbers IPQ ET 1038 or NP 1038, and the date of validity. Each end of the tube must be properly clamped to the fitting.  Always keep gas bottles in an upright position, with the valve on top, and protect the reducer valve from damage. Always keep gas bottles above ground level, never place them where gas can accumulate in a basement or other low spot. Never let gas bottles get hot, keep them at least 1,5 metres from ovens and other sources of heat. 
What you can do.  Some practical hints on keeping an eye on your system.  Check the validity date on flexible rubber tubes, that they are properly clamped and do not show signs of cracking. Get them changed every five years.  Gas flames should be clear blue. A yellow tipped flame indicates poor combustion and the risk of carbon monoxide production. It indicates the need for a service.  If the flames on the stove burners go out when you turn the heat down quickly, it is a sign that they need cleaning or adjustment.  Regularly check that the main gas tap and the other taps in the system work properly and that the exhaust gases from water heaters discharge properly through the flue.  If you suspect a gas leak, never use a flame to look for it. Shut off the gas supply. Open windows and doors. Do not switch on or off electric lights or equipment. Call a gas technician urgently. 
Sources  • Direcção Geral de Energia   Gás de Portugal SA   Deco - Proteste


Date Inserted: 23 June 2007
Last Updated: 15 November 2017
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