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LPG, A Hugely Versatile Gas 0

Liquefied Petroleum Gas otherwise referred to as LPG or LP Gas, is a hugely versatile energy source.

Clean burning, LPG has a vast array of uses in the home, within industry, agriculture, on the roads – in fact everywhere! Discover for yourself how LPG is produced and stored – there’s even a chemical breakdown if you really want to know the subject.

Liquefied petroleum gas, or LPG, represents a simple and cost-effective alternative to coal-fired electricity. Many homeowners, industrial facilities, and even mining operations have made the change to LPG, simply because of its efficiency as a fuel source. But LPG is also currently one of the most effective ways to reduce carbon emissions from your facility and to reduce your home’s dependency on municipal electricity.

Coal-fired power plants are still some of the biggest producers of harmful carbon emissions and greenhouse gases. So anyway that homeowners can find to reduce their dependency on the power supplied by these plants is a move in an environmentally friendly direction.

Cooking is, of course, one of the most popular applications for LPG in the modern home. Anyone who uses their oven or hob to regularly prepare meals for a large family knows how much electricity these appliances can consume. With LPG, cooking is a gas. You’ll save money by cooking more efficiently, because, with a gas hob, you get instant heat. There’s no waiting for an element to heat up before you can start cooking. Once burning, a gas hob yields its maximum heat output within seconds and when using high-quality gas hob, you’ll have absolute control of the temperature, allowing you to cook your favorite meals to perfection.

For factory managers and anyone looking to optimize energy usage in an industrial environment, LPG offers the same benefits that it does in the home, only on a much bigger scale. Factories that make the conversion to LPG are not affected by blackouts or power cuts, electricity bills are significantly reduced and, because LPG releases less carbon dioxide when burnt, the carbon footprint of your business is significantly reduced.

If you have any questions or if there’s anything you’d like more information on don’t hesitate to contact us, our experienced team is always on hand to help – just get in touch.

Properties Of LPG

LPG vapor is heavier than air, which has important safety implications. Any leakage will sink to the ground and accumulate in low lying areas and may be difficult to disperse, so LPG should never be stored or used in cellars or basements.

Like mains gas, LPG has no smell and so a strong “stenching ” agent is added before delivery to help detection of any leaks. LPG is flammable in air and although non-toxic, large quantities could cause suffocation.

LPG is a high-performance fuel, but will only ignite if mixed with air in a gas: air ratio of between 1:50 and 1:10 (lower than the limit for mains gas). The low limit for flammability means that even small leaks could have serious results.

The ignition temperature of LPG in the air is around 500ºC – lower than that of mains gas but actually requiring more energy to cause ignition. This means that some gas lighters may not work with LPG.

The calorific value of LP Gas is about 2.5 times higher than that of mains gas so more heat is produced from the same volume of gas.

LP Gas is chemically reactive and will cause natural rubber and some plastics to deteriorate. Only equipment and fittings specifically designed for LP Gas should be used.

LP Gas exists as a gas at normal atmospheric pressure, only existing in a liquid form at very low temperatures, or under pressure. Normally, the gas is stored in liquid form under pressure in a steel container.

When the pressure is released (e.g. when the gas supply valve is turned on), the liquid will boil and form a vapor. It’s this vapor (gas) which is used to fuel appliances.

Heat is needed to convert the liquid to gas, known as the latent heat of vaporization. As the liquid boils, it needs to take heat energy from itself and its surroundings. This is why containers feel cold to touch and if there is a heavy gas off-take, frost may appear on the outside.

Pressure increases with temperature, so if the temperature around the tank increases, so will the pressure inside the tank as the liquid expands. Tanks are normally fitted with a pressure relief valve to release any extreme build up of pressure safely.

LPG is a mixture of two gases (propane and butane), which have similar properties but are very different in storage requirements. Propane has a lower boiling point than butane, so will continue to convert from a liquid to a gas even in very cold conditions. This makes it suitable for domestic and commercial heating, hot water and cooking, as well as a whole range of uses in agriculture and industry.

Domestic

LPG is the quick, clean, modern fuel for all of your household energy requirements both indoors and outdoors. And remember, there are no power cuts with LPG. At home, LPG can be used for cooking, grilling (braai), producing hot water and lighting.

Cylinders are also an option for a multitude of uses and applications. Available throughout South Africa, cylinders represent a big quantity of energy in a small package. Gas in cylinders is the ideal energy for domestic uses.

LPG Cylinders

Due to LPG’s physical characteristics, it needs to be stored in a high-pressure environment. This can be attained by cylinders or bulk tanks where particularly large quantities of LPG are required. LPG cylinders come in several sizes – 9kg, 19kg, 48g and a 19kg for fork-lift trucks.

Connecting your cylinder

To replace your cylinder, simply follow the guide below:

Make sure that the appliance switch (cabinet heater, cooker etc.) is turned off.

  • Ensure that the valve of the empty/used cylinder is also turned off.
  • Disconnect the empty cylinder.
  • Please take note that on the LPG cylinder connection has a left-hand thread (screw the regulator anti-clockwise)
  • Make sure that the valve of the new cylinder is closed.
  • Remove the shrink wrap and the safety seal – connect it to the appliance.
  • Check that the pressure regulator is correctly connected to the flexible hose and ensure that the pipe is in good condition.
  • Open the valve of the new cylinder and check with a soapy water solution for possible leakage at all the connections (never use a flame).

Cylinder Safety

  • Store cylinders in a well-ventilated place, away from open flames, electrical appliances, and power points.
  • Do not store in a cellar or in a closed area. The gas is heavier than air and will “flow” into low points and collect, causing a flammable mixture.
  • Never store the cylinders near to a heat source or in direct sunlight.
  • Always use a hose designed for use with LPG. The hose should have a maximum length of 2m with clamps at both ends. Hoses should be replaced every 2 years as they deteriorate over time.
  • When in use, all cylinders must be equipped with pressure regulators designed specifically for either propane or butane, which will regulate the pressure when temperatures change. Use the correct regulator for the type of gas.
  • Always follow the instructions supplied when connecting the pressure regulator to the cylinder and do not open the cylinder valve or regulator tap until the pressure regulator is securely attached.
  • Never smoke while connecting the equipment and do not check for leaks with a flame.
  • Look at the washer of the pressure regulator or valve before connecting each new cylinder. If the rubber looks worn or damaged, replace it or contact your supplier.

General Safety

  • LPG vapor is heavier than air. Any leakage will sink to the ground and accumulate in low-lying areas.
  • Do not store highly combustible material, ignition sources and hot surfaces at ground level or lower than the LPG vessel or anywhere adjacent to the vessel.
  • LPG vaporizes and cools rapidly. It can, therefore, inflict severe cold burns if spilt on the skin or if some types of LPG equipment are touched without protective gloves and goggles being worn.
  • LPG is non-toxic. It has, however, an anesthetic effect when mixed with air in high concentrations. The greater the concentration (as available oxygen declines), the greater the risk of suffocation.
  • LPG is odourless. A stench agent is added to allow for detection of LPG leaks. NEVER try to detect leaks with a naked flame or other kinds of ignitions!
  • LPG is flammable like all petroleum fuels. It must be stored away from sources of ignition and in a well-ventilated area.
  • LPG expands rapidly when the temperature rises. Storage tanks, pipelines, and equipment must be protected against the high pressure resulting from liquid expansion with rising temperatures.
  • LPG will cause natural rubber and some plastics to deteriorate. Only use hoses and other equipment specifically designed for LPG.

Emergency Procedures

Gas Leak Inside

If you smell gas:

Turn off the valve of the tank or cylinder.

  • Extinguish all naked flames immediately.
  • Do not operate any electrical equipment and be aware of any equipment, which may switch on or off automatically.
  • Open all doors and windows to ventilate the area.
  • Contact your installer or the technician who maintains your appliances.
  • If the leak is on a cylinder, move the cylinder to a well-ventilated outdoor area.

Gas Leak Outdoors

Turn off the gas at the main shut off valve of the tank or cylinder.

  • Extinguish all naked flames immediately
  • Restrict unauthorised access to the area.
  • If the leak is on a cylinder, move the cylinder to a well ventilated outdoor area.

Major Leak or Fire

Call the fire brigade, advising them it is a leak/fire involving LPG.

  • For a leak or a fire indoors, get everyone out of the premises. For a leak or a fire outdoors, evacuate all persons from the area and keep upwind of any leak.
  • When the fire brigade arrives, indicate to them all areas where LPG is stored (tanks or cylinders).

LPG 9Kg – R200-00

LPG 19Kg – R420-00

LPG 48Kg – R980-00

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