Using gas is an easy and efficient way to heat your home and water. There are many benefits, so let’s look at a few Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) you may have if you’re a first time gas user.
What can you use gas for in your home?
You can use gas to heat your home and heat your water. Many appliances in your home are fuelled by gas, including:
- fireplaces and furnaces
- hot water cylinder
- continuous flow/instantaneous hot water system/califont
- gas stove/hob and oven
- clothes dryer
Gas is an easy-to-use and versatile way to safely heat your home and generate hot water.
Are there different types of gas?
In New Zealand, we use two types of gas:
- Natural gas – this is sometimes referred to as “mains gas”, “reticulated gas” or “piped-in gas”. It comes into your home via gas lines connected to the central gas lines, so you effectively have an unlimited supply. It is primarily made up of methane and is clean burning, producing no smoke, dust or ash. Because the gas lines run underground, you must take special precautions when digging or excavating around properties with mains gas.
- LPG gas – LPG stands for liquefied petroleum gas, and is sometimes called “bottled gas” or “cylinder gas”. It is stored in a metal container, such as a cylinder or gas bottle. In other countries like Australia or the US, LPG gas is sometimes referred to as propane. Having your gas in a cylinder or bottle means you have gas as an option even if you live in an area where you don’t have access to mains gas. You don’t, however, have an endless supply. You will need to monitor your gas levels by checking the regulator on the top of your cylinders. Most homes that use LPG bottles or cylinders use two so that when one runs out, you have a backup supply to use while you wait for your re-fill cylinders.
Does gas offer any benefits that make it better than electricity?
If you’re running out of hot water before everyone has had their shower, it might be time to look at upgrading your hot water heating system.
You might be running out of hot water because your household relies on a hot water cylinder for hot water. A hot water cylinder holds a set amount of water at a set temperature, so once all of that water is used, you need to wait for more water to heat up. How long this takes depends on the size of your hot water cylinder and your water use (how many showers and baths, whether you hand wash your dishes, if you leave the water running while shaving and brushing teeth, etc).
The best way to avoid running out of hot water is to use a gas continuous flow hot water system. This is sometimes also referred to as an instantaneous gas hot water system. Water is heated as it is used, so you do not rely on having a set amount of hot water available. It is, in effect, continuous flow. It’s also called instantaneous because the water is heated as you use it.
For this reason alone, many people find gas a much better hot water heating system. An added benefit is that you’re not paying to keep water in the cylinder hot when you’re not using it.
Gas can also provide financial benefits. Depending on the size of your household and your power use, gas can be an economical option for heating your home and hot water. Gas appliances heat up quickly, so there isn’t any “wasted” energy waiting for appliances to heat up.
Many people prefer cooking with gas. Everyone has unique preferences here, but often people find that it’s easier to control precise cooking temperatures with gas appliances and that they heat up faster.
If you have small children who are curious around flames, gas can provide a safer option than a wood stove or open fire. A gas fireplace provides warmth and the ambience of a fire without the risk of having an open flame. It is also quicker and easy to light instead of burning wood.
Is it easy to switch over to gas?
It’s very easy to use gas as a source of power and heat, but you cannot do this yourself. You must have a certified gas fitter install your gas system and inspect it regularly. The Sumich Plumbing & Drainage team are certified gas fitters and registered members of the New Zealand Plumbers, Drainlayers & Gasfitters Association.
Is gas a safe option?
When installed, maintained and used correctly, gas is very safe. Modern appliances must adhere to strict safe operating guidelines, including advanced safety features.
Here are a few tips to keep you safe when using gas:
- Always have your gas appliances installed, serviced and maintained by a certified gas fitter, like the team at Sumich Plumbing & Drainage
- Watch for gas leaks – if you smell gas when your appliances are not in use (or there is a strong rotten egg smell at any time, even when an appliance is being used), turn off all appliances and call Fire and Emergency by dialling 111
- Keep fire and flames away from gas appliances
- Install carbon monoxide detectors and make sure they are checked and maintained regularly
- Check before digging – if you’re doing any renovations, make sure you know where the mains gas lines are before doing any digging or excavating
If you are a first time gas user or you’re curious about switching over to gas, get in touch with the professional and friendly team at Sumich Plumbing & Drainage and we can help.