Gas Regulators and Gas Isolation Valves - What are they and are they necessary?
Many people who have gas appliances in their homes are not aware of the importance gas regulators and isolation valves, nor where they should be installed.
While gas appliances are seen throughout Melbourne and Australian homes, they are oftentimes overlooked and forgotten about.
It is extremely important to be aware and regulator check your gas appliances and to think about safety regularly.
This article will help you familiarise yourself with the regulatory equipment required in your home or rental property, as well as giving some simple tips on how you can stay safe around gas appliances.
What is a gas regulator?
A gas regulator is a device located on the gas pipe before it enters the appliance which controls the flow of gas going into your appliances.
It is there to ensure the correct amount of gas flows into the appliance without supplying too much or too little gas as the pressure required differs for each different gas appliance.
Particularly, regulators are there as mechanism to reduce the amount of gas pressure flowing into the appliance.
Regulators have an adjustable knob that allows you to control the flow of gas quite easily, although should only be conducted by a qualified gasfitter technician.
Relevant for rental properties, the Rental Tenancies Act 2021 has mandated that gas appliances and their components need to be accessible, serviceable, and adjustable.
The adjustment function and the testing function satisfies the requirements for gas regulators itself, but we must also consider its location.
Gas isolation valves are very simple devices that simply shut off the gas supply – a ‘means of isolation’.
Isolation valves provide you with a quick and easy way of switching off gas pipes in case of emergency or if maintenance work is required. However, they’re not required in every instance as per the table below from Energy Safe Victoria.
Where required, isolation valves need to be:
- Located upstream of all over controls and at the start of the gas line for the appliance
- In close proximity to the appliance
- Accessible to enable quick isolation of the gas supply
Where do gas regulators and isolation valves need to be located?
According to the Australian and New Zealand gas standards, gas regulators as well as isolation valves must be ‘accessible’ which is defined as:
Access can be gained without hazard or undue difficulty for inspection, repair, testing, renewal and operational purposes.
As an example, we oftentimes at Appliance Fixer find cooktop gas regulators/isolation valves located behind an oven underneath the cooktop.
It may initially make sense to put the regulator in this location as it’s neat and tucked away, however, the VBA (Victorian Building Authority) deem this inaccessible as ovens are heavy and cannot be moved easily.
As such, in these instances we opt with relocating the gas regulator in the adjacent cupboard as per below.
Side note: flexible gas hoses can only be installed through walls/fixtures in certain circumstances and with certain conditions. For example in this image, the aperture must be wide enough so that the gas hose does not rub on the side and hence wear out.
Why do I need a gas regulator and isolation valve?
Gas regulators and isolation valves are important elements of home safety.
Your gas regulator controls the flow of gas into your appliances to avoid any unsafe or dangerous levels. It also allows you to safely turn individual appliances on and off, giving you more control over your home environment. Finally, it acts as a check valve, allowing you to easily identify when your appliance is not operational.
Isolation valves, on the other hand, provide you with a quick and easy way of switching off gas pipes in case of emergency or if maintenance work is required. They also prevent anyone from tampering with the appliances while providing access for technicians looking to service them.
Safety precautions when installing these devices in your home
Although gas appliances are fairly safe, they do require installation by qualified technicians to ensure that all rental safety regulations are adhered to. By law, homeowners must have their regulator installed by a professional.
On the other hand, the location of your appliance isolation valve depends on factors such as where you need access to it and ease of access for technicians. In any case, you should never handle a gas regulator or isolation valve yourself – always have qualified technicians carry out the work so that you can be sure everything is installed correctly and safely.
When should I replace it?
The life expectancy of a gas regulator varies depending on the quality and specifications. For example, a good quality, high-pressure regulator is expected to last roughly the same time as the appliance itself.
Finally, don’t forget to have a qualified gas fitter carry out maintenance work or any other inspection services so that you can be sure your appliances are safe and secure at all times. This is particularly important if you have children in the home.
You can find a suitable tradesperson by searching online or checking the listings from your local hardware store.
How can my family stay safe?
If you have gas appliances in your home, everyone needs to understand how they work and the rental safety precautions.
It’s also beneficial for everyone to take the time to learn about emergency procedures in case of any issues with appliances.
When installing new appliances, make sure you use a qualified tradesperson to ensure that rental safety measures are in place.
It’s also important for everyone to educate themselves on the emergency procedures and keep emergency numbers stored where they can be easily accessed in case of an emergency.
Finally, make sure your gas appliances are regularly serviced by a professional to ensure that they’re safe and in good working order.
The Team at the Oven Fixer is committed to keeping this food culture alive and vibrant. Whether you’re a hopeful Masterchef contestant, trying to impress your new girlfriend/boyfriend or simply preparing a tasty family dinner – The Oven Fixer is here to be your fast, friendly and oven repair and installation partner.
Mon-Fri: 9am – 6pm Saturday and Sunday: Closed
Appliance Fixer, AKA Oven Fixer Pty Ltd
ACN 639 908 026
3/160 Hotham Street,
St Kilda East, VIC 3183
Mon – Fri: 9am – 5pm
Saturday and Sunday: Closed