LP Gas Installation Regulator Failures
Recently, there has been several reported incidents relating to the failure of LP Gas installation regulators where the downstream piping, apparatus and appliances were exposed to dangerously high pressures.
Fig 1: Example of a 33 year old LP Gas installation regulator that does not incorporate over pressure protection.
Prior to 1999, most domestic and some commercial LP Gas installations were not fitted with over pressure protection. Without over-pressure protection the installation relies solely on the integrity of the installation regulator to ensure downstream apparatus and appliances are not exposed to dangerously high pressures.
The function of these installation regulators is to reduce the gas pressure from cylinder/tank pressure (750 -1100kPa) to the intended operating pressure usually 2.75kPa.
Since 1999, all installations have been fitted with over-pressure protection which, in the event of installation regulator failure will protect the downstream installation. Commonly the over-pressure protection on domestic and small commercial LP Gas installations is in the form of a twin series regulator combination. This combination includes the installation regulator with the required over-pressure protection (see images below).
It is estimated that there are in excess of 10,000 LP Gas installations operating without over-pressure protection and with ageing installation regulators of up to 40 years old.
Regulators are mechanical devices that have a limited service life due to operational wear, contaminants, corrosion and aging of components made of material such as metal and rubber. The environment and conditions of use will determine the safe service life. Some regulator manufacturers specify three yearly inspections with a service life of less than 10 years, whereby the regulator should be replaced.
Without over-pressure protection, there is the potential for:
- gas leaks;
- damage to apparatus and appliances; or
- fires and explosions.
All of which constitute a hazard to persons and or property.
- When working on existing LP Gas installations always check the age and condition of the installation regulator. Recommend replacement if they are deemed to be in poor condition or over 10 years old. Ensure any replacement includes over-pressure protection.
If you have an installation regulator the same as, or similar to, that pictured above ask your gas fitter to check and replace.
Provide a copy of this information to customers via:
- the local branch; and
- delivery driver’s where an installation regulator, the same as or similar to that pictured above, is identified.
Figure 2: LP Gas regulators that incorporate over–pressure protection
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