There is an increase of enquires from consumers and installers regarding the purchase of gas appliances (stoves and water heaters in particular) that are suitable for use with Natural Gas and whether the appliance has an permit.
To date, very few suppliers have recognised the interest for these products and made no effort in testing their products for use with Natural Gas.
It does not necessarily mean that a full retest of the appliance is required, if the appliance has already been tested for use with LPG and for which a permit has been issued. Further information on the test requirements regarding costs and timing can be obtained from Novida Testing Services.
By means of a Memorandum of Understanding between the LPGSASA and SAPGA, the LPGSASA issues the permits for both LPG & Natural Gas appliances. SAPGA does not issue permits for gas appliances that fall within the scope of SANS 1539.
All gas appliances where the gas consumption is less than 10 kgs per hour fall under the LPGSASA Safe Appliance Scheme. This includes those running on Natural Gas.
SANS 1539 was originally for LPG appliances only but it now also covers Natural Gas appliances.
The permits for Natural Gas appliances are only issued where the test report issued by the test house states that the appliance has been tested for Natural Gas.
All test reports are only valid for the condition in which the appliance was submitted for test and for the gas with which the test was carried out. An appliance that was only tested for LPG may not be used for Natural Gas (or vice versa).
A serious concern is that there is conversion of appliances taking place by dealers and installers.
The conversion of an LPG appliance to use Natural Gas constitutes an unauthorised modification of the appliance unless the conversion kit is supplied by the manufacturer and the supplier has been issued with the required LPGSASA Safe Appliance permit covering both LPG and Natural Gas.
The unauthorised modification of an appliance by a dealer or installer invalidates the Safe Appliance Permit and also makes invalid the CoC that an installer issues for an appliance involving such a modified appliance.
It effectively becomes illegal to supply, sell, install or use such modified appliances.
There will be no guarantees when a problem occurs with a modified appliance and insurance companies will refuse to settle any claims. The installer will be held responsible for damages or injuries and will be at risk of losing his or her license.