EnergySafe Magazine Summer 2018, issue 49 - Page 6

06 Latest news Butane safety this summer By Jason Treseder, Senior Gas Engineer, Type A Gas Appliance and Component Safety It is that time of the year, where we can enjoy the outdoors and often make use of portable gas appliances. A common portable appliance is the butane cooker. Butane cookers are small, portable gas cookers that are reasonably priced and popular to use when camping and outdoor activities. While most butane cookers used around Australia go without issue, if used incorrectly an incident can at best spoil a day, and at worst result in serious injury and/or damage to property. ESV has recently investigated a number of incidents where portable butane cookers used in an unsafe manner caused exploding cartridges. In one case, the cooker was used to heat a basket containing charcoal briquettes. The intense heat generated by the charcoal overheated the butane cartridge and it eventually ruptured. In a separate incident, two cookers were used side by side with zero clearance. The pot from one cooker was oversized and overlapped the cartridge compartment of the adjacent cooker. The reflected heat from both cookers caused Charr-coal-ed: how not to use a butane cooker. the cartridge to overheat and explode. Butane cookers are fueled by disposable butane cartridges installed in a compartment below the burner. The cookers have internal, built-in safety devices that will shut off gas and disengage the cartridge if the cartridge overheats. However, if a cooker is used in an unsafe manner, or is exposed to a separate heat source, it still can overheat the cartridge. Always » Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions when setting up and operating the cooker. In particular, ensure the surface is stable and the area is well ventilated with appropriate clearances. » Ensure the cartridge compartment is not exposed to any external heat sources. This includes providing adequate clearances and using an appropriately sized cooking vessel that does not overhang the cartridge compartment. » Check that the cooker and the cartridge are in good condition and there is no damage or corrosion that will affect the safe operation. » Check for leaks using soapy water solution when connecting the cartridge, and ensure the soft seals are still in good condition before lighting the burner. Butane cookers have a history of being involved in incidents, In 2015, an investigati