LPG cylinders and fittings
LPG is stored as a liquid under pressure in purpose-built cylinders. Gas appliances burn the LPG vapour that is released from the cylinder to produce heat.
It's important to check your LPG cylinders and fittings are safe to prevent injury to people, fires and damage to property.
LPG cylinders should be safety tested or replaced every 10 years.
Check LPG cylinder and fittings are safety tested and certified
All LPG cylinders sold in Australia must meet strict specifications before they can be certified as safe to use for ten years.
Portable cylinders can only be refilled legally if they have a valid ten-year stamp on the collar, neck or foot ring. The stamp indicates the last time the cylinder was tested and shows the letter T followed by the month and year.
If they are out of date they must be tested at an authorised test station or swapped for a newer cylinder. Tested cylinders will either be restamped for another ten years of use or be destroyed.
You should also check that hoses and regulators are certified to Australian Standards and have a certification number printed on them from a recognised certifying body. It's recommended that hoses are replaced every five years.
Storing and using LPG cylinders safely
Storing LPG cylinders:
- Always store LPG cylinders upright and in a well ventilated outdoor area. If stored incorrectly, they may release liquid gas that can ignite and flare up uncontrollably, creating a major safety hazard.
- Make sure cylinders are protected from excess heat and potential ignition sources.
- When the cylinder isn’t connected to a gas appliance, put a sealing plug in the cylinder valve.
Using LPG cylinders:
- Only use LPG cylinders with LPG appliances – it’s not safe to connect LPG cylinders to appliances designed to use natural gas.
- Ensure any appliance or hose connected to the cylinder is done up tightly so there are no leaks. Using a soapy water solution, spray the connection joint. If bubbles appear, there is a leak. Tighten if necessary and then retest. If bubbles still appear, immediately isolate the gas and have the fault repaired by a licensed gas fitter, or replace the faulty component.
- Never tamper with the safety valve, cylinder fittings or apply excessive force to the cylinder valve.
- Always shut off the cylinder valve before disconnecting the cylinder.
- If you are replacing a portable cylinder, such as on a barbecue, ensure the gas appliance is turned off.
- If you are replacing one cylinder from a pair of cylinders in a permanent installation, turn off all LPG appliances, unless an automatic changeover valve is fitted to the installation.
- A dew line that forms around the cylinder when an appliance is operating is not uncommon or dangerous and indicates the level of liquid inside.
- An ice build-up around the cylinder may occur in exceptional circumstances and indicates the demand for gas is exceeding the supply available. The cylinder will need to be refilled or replaced with a larger one.
Filling LPG cylinders
Most LPG retailers will swap empty cylinders for full ones. This ensures you receive a cylinder that is within the ten-year certification and has been filled appropriately.
Never fill portable LPG cylinders from autogas dispensers – this is both illegal and dangerous. Autogas is a mixture of propane and butane. Australian LPG appliances are designed only for use with commercial LPG, which is predominantly propane.
The maximum fill level for portable cylinders is 80%. This allows expansion room if the temperature of the cylinder increases. The empty weight is stamped on the cylinder so the amount of gas left can be estimated by weight. Some cylinders have a contents gauge fitted.
Transporting LPG cylinders
When transporting an LPG cylinder:
- secure it in an upright position
- use a sealing plug to prevent accidental gas leakage
- keep the cylinder cool
- don't carry it in the passenger compartment of your vehicle.
Don’t keep LPG cylinders in your car, especially in hot weather. If the cylinder overheats and exceeds its maximum pressure, the safety relief valve will release and fill the car with LPG vapour.
If you need to transport a portable LPG cylinder in a vehicle during hot weather, secure it upright and wrap it in a wet towel to keep it cool.
If an LPG cylinder is damaged, rusty or needs to be disposed of
If an LPG cylinder has been affected by fire or heat, has rust on it, or has any other obvious physical damage, it should be inspected at an authorised test station before your use or refill it.
Never dispose of old LPG cylinders at the rubbish dump or in the rubbish collection. They need to be disposed of through an authorised test station, LPG supplier or filler.
Visit Which Bin to find your closest hazardous waste drop-off centre to help you dispose of your unwanted chemicals in an environmentally safe way. Your local council may also offer disposal services.
Finding an authorised LPG cylinder test station
Search online or check your local business directory (eg Yellow Pages) for 'gas cylinder testing' to find a test station near you. Alternatively, ask your LPG supplier or retailer about where you can find an authorised LPG cylinder test station.