Installing a gas appliance safely

Whether you’re putting in a gas heater, fireplace, water heating, oven, cooktop or heating system, you must always hire a licensed gasfitter. The experts will make sure it is connected correctly, flued and vented, working properly, and most importantly safe to use.

Get your gas appliances regularly serviced.

All authorised tradespeople must carry their authorisation card issued by the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board. Sanitary plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying are regulated trades in New Zealand and it’s illegal for anyone to do this work unless they are authorised by the Board to do so.

Get your gas appliances regularly serviced

So, how do you know whether your gas appliance is working safely? As a start, get your gas appliances regularly serviced.

  • If you own or use a gas appliance, make sure you’re clear about who’s responsible for maintaining it. A regular service will keep it running safely and efficiently
  • Decorative gas fireplaces and LPG cabinet heaters should be serviced every year. Other appliances should be serviced at least every two years
  • When a licensed gasfitter carries out work in your home, ask them to double check that all your appliances are properly installed and in good working order
  • If you are considering replacing old gas appliances with newer, safer ones, avoid buying second-hand gas appliances
  • Watch out for appliances that are faulty or poorly maintained, and check that ventilation inlets are not blocked or restricted. Poorly maintained appliances or blocked flues or ventilation can produce carbon monoxide, which can be fatal
  • If you’re a landlord you must ensure that your gas appliances are correctly installed, and maintaine

Gas appliances must be properly ventilated 

Gas appliances need fresh air to operate safely and efficiently. Only use unflued appliances in areas that are well ventilated.

  • Never use an unflued gas appliance in small spaces like a bedroom, bathroom, cabin or caravan.
  • Don't use outdoor gas appliances like patio heaters and barbecues indoors.
  • Camping appliances like lanterns and cookers must never be used in unventilated areas like caravans and sealed tents.

Look out for the danger signs

  • Turn off your appliance and contact a licensed gas worker of any of these danger signs occur which might indicate it might not be operating properly, causing incomplete combustion of the gas and emitting toxic carbon monoxide and other unpleasant gases, which in some cases could lead to a dangerous situation
  • The flame burns yellow instead of blue, which could be a sign the appliance is not operating properly. (Note: some flame-effect gas fireplaces are designed to burn with a yellow flame.)
  • There are soot deposits in or around the appliance, which could be a sign the appliance is not operating properly
  • You smell an unpleasant odour which is similar to car exhaust, which means that the appliance is likely not operating properly
  • You feel unwell with flu-like symptoms when a gas appliance is being used, which could mean the appliance is not operating properly.

Who should install a new gas appliance? 

Never try to install a new gas appliance yourself. Whether you’re putting in a gas fireplace, water heating, oven, and cooktop or heating system, you must always get a licensed gasfitter on the job (it’s illegal for anyone else to carry out gasfitting work). They’ll ensure it’s connected correctly, flued and ventilated properly, and in good working order, and most importantly safe to use.

[image] Sample authorisation card.
Sample authorisation card

All authorised tradespeople(external link) must carry their authorisation card issued by the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board. Sanitary plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying are regulated trades in New Zealand and it’s illegal for anyone to do this work unless they are authorised by the Board to do so.