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Gas and LPG safety outdoors

Outdoor appliances should never be used inside.

Gas safety outdoors

As Victoria’s safety regulator, ESV’s principal role is to ensure the safe and efficient supply of energy to all Victorians. This includes providing the community with information and resources on the safe use of electricity and gas, including Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).

Portable outdoor appliances such as gas heaters and barbecues are ideal for use outdoors. They are usually fuelled by LPG as it is easy to transport and may be used in various appliances. It is most commonly used for cooking, heating, water heating, refrigeration and lighting on boats, in caravans, in campervans and when camping.

Outdoor LPG-fuelled appliances present a danger of carbon monoxide poisoning if used in areas with insufficient ventilation, and should never be used inside. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a silent killerExternal Link – it is an odourless, colourless gas and it can be fatal or cause serious and long term health conditions.

Using LPG safely

As Victoria’s safety regulator, ESV’s principal role is to ensure the safe and efficient supply of energy to all Victorians. This includes providing the community with information and resources on the safe use of electricity and gas, including Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is easily transported and a popular energy source for cooking, heating, water heating, refrigeration and lighting on boats, in caravans, in campervans and when camping.

Outdoor LPG-fuelled appliances present a danger of carbon monoxide poisoning if used in areas with insufficient ventilation, and should never be used inside. Carbon monoxideExternal Link is an odourless, colourless gas and it can be fatal or cause serious and long term health conditions.

What is LPG?

Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) is a combination of propane and butane gases. Generally, refillable cylinders contain propane while disposable cartridges contain butane. LPG is stored as a liquid under pressure and gas escapes can lead to explosions and fires.

LPG is heavier than air. It can therefore pool in low places and may not disperse easily or quickly. It is also highly flammable and easily ignited. Breathing high concentrations of LPG could cause vomiting, headaches and nausea. Always take care when using LPG.

Using LPG cylinders

Reduce safety risks when using LPG cylinders

  • Only use LPG cylinders which have been tested within the last 10 years. The cylinder should be marked with the test date.
  • Fill LPG cylinders at authorised filling stations staffed by trained personnel.
  • Carefully read and comply with the connection instructions supplied with the LPG cylinder.
  • Regularly check cylinder fittings are clean and tight. You can use soapy water to check for leaks – Know the drill before you grill.External Link
  • Use a regulator between the LPG cylinder and the appliance being powered by the LP gas, unless the appliance is a portable type designed for high pressure gas.
  • Turn the gas off at the cylinder if you suspect a leak.
  • Only use LPG cylinders in well ventilated outdoor areas – never indoors.
  • Keep the LPG cylinder upright with its relief valves clear and facing away from combustible surfaces.
  • Place the LPG cylinder on a firm level base of non-combustible material.

Do not

  • attempt to fill an LPG cylinder unless appropriately trained
  • Connect LPG cylinders to appliances designed for natural gas, or
  • Use leaking, damaged or corroded LPG cylinders.

Camping with LPG

Cylinders used in boats, campervans and caravans are typically smaller than those fixed outside the home and are generally 9 kg capacity or less. Automotive gas should not be used to fill LPG cylinders. Exchange cylinders are readily available.

Portable camping stoves and lamps may be designed to operate directly on cylinder pressure or some use disposable canisters. Manufacturers instructions should be followed when using such appliances.

Gas cylinder safety

  • Check all washers and O-rings on appliances and cylinders regularly
  • Never interfere with or remove the valve on any LPG cylinder
  • Do not turn the gas on until you are ready to light the appliance
  • Close the cylinder valve when appliances are not in use
  • Never use a flame to locate a leak – use soapy water,
  • Always replace the dust cap on cylinders when not in use,
  • Regulate the burner to your needs – flames should not go beyond the edge of the cooking utensil
  • Dispose of disposable canisters safely at a waste centre – do not incinerate them. Contact your local council for disposal details.

When camping

Gas safety and bushfires

Gas-fuelled cars and other vehicles

Natural Gas and LPG are used as an automotive fuel throughout Australia and around the world. In Australia, compressed Natural Gas is used on transit buses passenger vehicles and forklifts. LPG is commonly used in forklifts, passenger vehicles, vans and trucks and also supplements diesel in some large trucks.

Gas-fuelled vehicles and their refuelling stations are not under the jurisdiction of Energy Safe Victoria.

Date: 08/02/2023 8:49

Controlled document

The currency and accuracy of this document cannot be guaranteed once printed or saved to a storage device. If in doubt, please check the ESV website for the current version.

Reviewed 29 January 2023

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