With outages expected every third day, is it time to get gas?

Santam has urged households to prioritise safety considerations of gas appliances, as many homes look for alternatives as means of dealing with loadshedding. 

Rowland Ramalingam, head of non-motor claims at Santam, says, “With load shedding wreaking havoc, the use of gas appliances has increased in many households over the last few months. Whether you’re considering buying a gas stove or have already purchased a gas heater in anticipation of the upcoming winter chill, there are several safety considerations you need to prioritise when you have your gas appliances installed. Generally, Santam’s most common claims during load shedding are related to power surges, damage to fridge contents, and possible burglary claims.

Although gas is safe to use if installed in accordance with the regulations, the most common types of hazards associated with its use include explosions and fire. There are a number of guidelines to take into consideration where gas installation is concerned.

The following top three tips regarding installation can be found in the South African National Standards (SANS) guide:

  • Gas bottles may not be installed less than 1 metre sideways from doors and windows.
  • All copper pipes going through a wall must be sleeved.
  • Your gas installation must be accompanied by a certificate of conformity for gas appliances.

Ramalingam provides the following further advice for homeowners regarding gas safety:

  • Gas equipment/systems must be installed in accordance with SABS’s (South African Bureau of Standards) requirements (SANS087).
  • When a property where a gas appliance is installed is sold, a certificate of conformity must be obtained for the gas system, and it must be provided to the purchaser.
  • Only gas bottles containing less than 19kg of gas may be stored inside a building.
  • When gas stoves are in use, ensure sufficient ventilation, do not open the gas flame too high, and make sure the gas is turned off properly after use.

Ramalingam adds that it’s imperative to choose a reputable gas installer and insurer, “Santam is South Africa’s largest short-term insurer, insuring risks of over R4 trillion. Over the past five years, we have paid R101 billion in gross claims. Unfortunately, loadshedding is a reality that’s here to stay. Most of us will need to seek energy alternatives, so it’s imperative to do so smartly and responsibly. It’s critical to install and maintain gas-fired appliances properly. A reputable insurer like Santam can help with both risk management and mitigation.”