When it comes to things that need to be done on your home, sometimes we like to get our hands dirty and do things ourselves. Although, there are times where this isn’t possible due to legislation. One instance is when performing work involving a home’s gas system. Legislation specifies that any gasfitting work needs to be done by a licensed gasfitter.
Gas in your home
The days of wood-fuelled boilers and stovetops are long gone, and with electricity prices soaring, we are finding that a large number of kitchens today are being fuelled by gas.
In our homes, gas is commonly used for cooking our food, heating our rooms and providing us with warm water for cleaning. The common element fuelling these items is a flame which is used to burn an incredibly combustible resource – natural gas.There are many different ways gas can be used in homes including:
- Hot water systems
- Ovens and cooktops
- Pools and spas
All works involving a home’s gas system MUST be performed by a licensed gasfitter in accordance with the Gas Supply Act of 1996.
What is gas plumbing?
All work related to gas connections and gas appliances including installation of appliances, repairs and regular servicing, or replacing an old system come under gas plumbing (or gas fitting). Any work that requires disconnecting or reconnecting a gas connection should be done by a licensed gas fitter.
The difference between a plumber and a gasfitter
A licensed plumber can offer gasfitting services as well as their other water plumbing duties.
A gasfitter can undertake gas system work, but cannot complete plumbing work unless it is installation and maintenance of appliances.
In addition to installing and maintaining gas fixtures and appliances, gasfitters also install gas meters, burners, valves and gas regulators. Their work involves:
- Reading installation plans, measuring locations and installing gas appliances.
- Installing gas pipes and flues for appliances.
- Installing gas detection systems and pressure regulation devices.
- Installing and repairing gas hot water systems.
- Installing or relocating gas meters.
- Testing, maintaining and servicing gas pipes and appliances.
- Installing gas systems (LPG) in boats and caravans.
- Converting barbecues to natural gas.
When searching for a licensed gasfitter, ensure they offer 24 hours a day, 7 days per week services. The reason for this is incase of those unexpected gas emergencies. An emergency that could arise could be a gas leak which will need to be repaired as soon as possible as it can be extremely dangerous.
Maintaining Your Gas Plumbing
As with any component in your home, there is a maintenance component to go alongside with your gas plumbing that will not only keep everyone safe and sound, but will also help to keep your running costs down. Sections of plumbing can break down over time leading to leaks within the system. This can be either a connector or coupling, or a crack in the pipework in an inaccessible area.Only a licensed gas plumber has the skills and technical expertise to quickly identify the source of the leak, and how best to rectify it safely. Whether that be tightening a connector or replacing an entire length of plumbing, your gas plumber should not only help you with your repairs but devise a cost effective maintenance program to minimise the risk of future failures. They will ensure that your gas fixtures are running as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
The importance of using a licensed gasfitter
While the installation of gas appliances may appear straightforward, if they are improperly installed the effects can be catastrophic for a home. This could lead to not only property damage but potentially the loss of life. Not only is gas combustible, but it is also an incredibly toxic substance which can lead to asphyxiation.
On top of the damaging effects that gas can have, if your insurer discovered that the works that led to an insurance claim were not completed by a licensed gasfitter they have the right to refuse to pay your claim. This can put the homeowner into financial hardship, as well as the potential for criminal charges to be laid against them or the person that completed the works.
With all of these factors in mind, the risk is far too great to simply ignore the law to save a few dollars. The question then has to be “what should I look for when choosing a licensed gasfitter?”
License and certifications
The most obvious thing to look for when searching for a licensed gasfitter is proof that they have a licence. This not only ensures that the tradesperson you want to use has completed the right training and successfully demonstrated their skills over a number of years, but that you are engaging the services of someone that will do the job correctly from a functional and legal point of view.
According to the Fair Trading website:
In NSW, you must be licensed to complete any gasfitting work as defined in the Home Building Act 1989. Gasfitting work means any work involved in:
- the installation, alteration, extension or repair of a gas installation, or
- the installation, alteration, extension, removal or repair of any flue associated with a gas installation, or
- the connection or disconnection of a gas container, gas regulator or gas appliance to, or from a gas installation except where it is designed to be readily detachable from the installation. Replacing worn pigtails or changing over cylinders is exempt from the definition of gasfitting work.
Checking a license
The NSW government offers a free online service which allows you to check not only whether or not a tradesperson is licensed to complete the works, but also how long that licence has been valid for and any compliance issues that may have been raised throughout the contractor’s work history. Should all this information check out, then you can look into local reviews and comments regarding aspects such as price, promptness, efficiency and the behaviour of the contractor and their team on the job site.
Online License Check
Certificates issued to the homeowner
Once the works have been completed, a licensed gasfitter will issue either a Certificate of Compliance or Certificate of Inspection.
The Fair Trading website tells us:
A Certificate of Compliance is issued when:
Gasfitting work is carried out on a gas installation connected to a gas network.
A Certificate of Inspection is issued when:
Gasfitting work is carried out on a gas installation not connected to a gas network.
These certificates are issued to confirm that everything has been completed in accordance with the relevant standards and regulations. These are critical pieces of documentation, as they protect the homeowner against any faulty works.
Peace of mind
By using the services of a licensed gasfitter, homeowners can be assured that works will be carried out safely and following the industry standards.
Installing gas appliances and performing repairs on the home’s gas system carries a high risk if done incorrectly, and the potential for the loss of life far outweighs any potential savings that could be made by taking on the project yourself. Remember – any gas works in and around the home, including repairing leaks, MUST be completed by a professional licensed gasfitter.
JEDI Plumbing is licensed and experienced in all areas of plumbing and have a real passion for the trade. If you are on Sydney’s North Shore or Northern Beaches, we invite you to contact us on 0411 774 381 for any emergency or planned plumbing services. You can feel confident that you’re working with trusted professionals.