Refilable Gas cylinders - SAFETY ISSUE

Mar 14, 2005
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No garage Fourcourt is insurred to allow the refilling of these tanks. New Post as this issue is an important safety issue.

Sorry to widdle in everyone's cornflakes but refillable cylinders are a NO-NO - check with the ABI (Association of British Insurers) The reason being that their integrity can only be confirmed at the point of manufacture.

Thereafter you could drop them, play football with them, or even run over them. The point being their integrity can easily be compromised. As such NO PETROL FOURCOURT OR LPG OUTLET IN INSURED IF THEY ALLOW REFILABLE CYLINDERS TO BE REFILLED.

The situation for properly fitted internal system as per motorhomes which can be fitted to a caravan is the same as for an LPG system in a car - you get a certificate of conformity and this covers the siting and safety of the tanks - usually fitted in some kind of safety cradle.

With ordinary calor gas metal tanks you pay for the integrity checks carried out on the tanks at re-fill. Who checks the refillable tanks when YOU fill it? - Would you recognise a "problem" cylinder? Would you want to put you and you family at risk for a few £'s?

My advice if you see anyone refilling a portable gas cylinder on a forecourt is to run like hell!

If you feel charitable - let the forecourt manager know as drive screaming past his window.

Think about it - Do not even go there. There are better ways to save money - believe me - this is NOT one of them.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Agreed, CliveV,and yet refillable cylinders are the norm in Souther Ireland.In fact, one pump attendant near Killarney wouldn't fill my car,cos he said it was only for cylinders.He still looked sceptical as I filled it myself!
 
Aug 28, 2005
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If refillable cylinders are so bad how come the whole of Australia uses them, in fact they have over 15000 refilling points?. Surely refilling a Gaslow type cylinder is actually safer than filling a petrol car because the vapour is locked in !!

Also as its sitting exactly where a 7kg bottle would sit in the front locker it's probably less subject to stress than a bottle/tank on a gas powered 4 x 4 particularly one that is subject to going off road ?.

It would be interesting to get the view of a leading caravan insurer or club technical department on this matter.

Regards MH
 
Dec 16, 2003
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No doubt Clive only has our interests at heart.

But do Calor or Camping Gaz really check cylinders before they fill. If they do I guess it is a basic visual check and no more.

Sounds like a little bit of a long lunch job between insurers and the big boys in the gas world.

Every refillable container be it gas bottle or beer keg increases a companies wealth. They don't want you buying the darn things and filing them cheaper for sure.

For every refillable container you use there are a number more waiting for exchange and refiil and in transit. Its something to do with company assets tax and profits, all the financial stuff is a mystery to me but somebody in finance will be sure to explain that the contents are only part of the fiscal story!
 
Jul 15, 2005
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Hi Cris,

Each time a LPG bottle goes back to the main depot, each bottle is purged of old gas, stripped of paint and visually checked.

If there is any concern over the condition, it's then ultrasonically checked for damage, any dents are removed, checked again and if passed fit, it's then repainted.

Each bottle is then pressure tested and passed for filling or declared unfit for use.

Other checks on the bottle date stamps trigger different inspection tests.

Robert
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Anybody who has doubts can read all about Calor gas in the C.C mag Feb 03. (Also available on the website under " practical" section of archived articles.)The author states his suprise at the amount of checking and expense involved to maintain very high safety levels.Commercial rip off ? Make your own mind up but I am more than happy sticking with Calor for the time being.Dave
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I have emailed the moddie to suggest that PCV look into this - as for technical back up for what I say - you do not have to look far.

The points about what Eire and Australia are interesting but I doubt your insurance company will be impressed if you quote that in the event of a claim. When in Malindi, Kenya, our boat was filled with petrol from an old open can that had seen better days - it worked ok but I would not want that safety standard in the UK.

I also have experienced filling up with LPG in Spain and having a lot of problems because the gas in my tank was at a higher pressure than the LPG in the garage forecourt tank. Only when I had ran the tank almost totally empty could we fill up and then the amount my tank would take was substantially less than what I can get in it in the UK. - The reason Spanish LPG systems run on a lower pressure than UK ones. So maybe the refillable cylinders are within acceptable safety parameters in some countries but not others - it would be worth checking.

BUT rather than fish for info on such a website as this - why not do the sensible thing and contact the LPGA association, your insurer and your local fire safety officer to get the proper information.

I am certain that having researched this myself some years ago I am correct in urging extreme caution and for people NOT to do this - i.e. go the refillable cylinder route. The savings amount to nothing in reality and why put yourself and your family at the risk of being uninsured as well as the risk of using an unregulated gas system?

But I have to ask the question why the heck are you asking on here rather than getting proper advice from those that are qualified to give it to you straight?
 
Dec 16, 2003
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rob_j.

I don't know where you buy your Calor gas but if what you say is correct, my local dealers including main calor agents are getting someone else to fill the bottles. If every bottle is stripped before refill I'm a Dutchman.

I worked in a business for many years that used around a thousand + Calor bottles a year. The company marked bottles so other contractors didn't walk off with their bottles. We often had bottles back with the company marks on years after they had been originaly marked.

No doubt bottles are checked but I have a dozen Calor bottles and camping gaz botles and there is nothing on any of them to support what you say.

Travelling in France before I found that Calor bottles could not be changed their I was directed by a holiday rep to a gas suppliers depot. I had to go back the next day to collect my bottles as they had to fit an adapter to their equipment to fill the my Calor bottle.

I saw nothing in this sizeable depot to suggest that what you say was the norm, but I did see bottles being looked over and some put to one side.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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If refillable cylinders are so bad how come the whole of Australia uses them, in fact they have over 15000 refilling points?. Surely refilling a Gaslow type cylinder is actually safer than filling a petrol car because the vapour is locked in !!

Also as its sitting exactly where a 7kg bottle would sit in the front locker it's probably less subject to stress than a bottle/tank on a gas powered 4 x 4 particularly one that is subject to going off road ?.

It would be interesting to get the view of a leading caravan insurer or club technical department on this matter.

Regards MH
Sorry MH - you are comparing apples and oranges.

LPG tanks on a car or offroader have to be steel (5mm thick - I think) and are subject to strenuous safety checks - without which - no certificate of conformity = no insurance.

Non-steel tanks are forbidden in LPG car installations.

Filling with petrol is dangerous but the substance is a liquid at NAP. Ok - some fumes that need to be vented but not a problem.

LPG is a gas at NAP - therefore you need a sealed system - any leak literally squirts out gas and in a car installation the pipes if they are in the car as in a boot install HAVE TO BE ENCLOSED IN AN OUTER VENTING PIPE TO ENSURE ANY LEEK IS VENTED TO THE OUTSIDE.

What Paul describes he has done in his caravan frankly beggars belief!.

Kevlar refillable cylinders MAY BE perfectly safe - I have my doubts as they do not get checked regularly - However, that is all rather academic in view of the current UK regulations.

Ignore these regulations and you are not insured - sorry to KEEP going on about this point but it is important.

What other countries do is irrelevant. As for the EU - they (we?) have the Euro but each country has its own electrical socket design - so what chance common LPG legislation??
 
Jun 7, 2005
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Sorry to be controversial on this subject but despite what has been said on this the refilling of portable gas bottles is common in the UK it happens every day in most of my customers who use LPG fuelled forklift trucks. The only difference is that they carry out this procedure on their own premises.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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The key point being "on their own premises" Therefore Employer liability Insurance will apply and so to will the normal Health & Safety legislation.

Could I ask if these refillable tanks are plastic/kevlar or metal tanks with all the normal UK safety cut of valves etc?

I suspect they are the latter.

Totally different on a Garage Forecourt where members of the public can bring their untested, "knocked about" plastic cylinders that have never had a safety test to a LPG refill site and fill them to a pressure they may never have been made to withstand in the first place.

In the above circumstances - it is my understanding that the Public Liability insurance is not valid. If the proprietor is not enforcing a ban on refilling these cylinders they are being remarkably stupid.

Sorry Graham - but I think you will find there is far more difference than just the premises!!
 
Mar 28, 2005
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Clive you are correct, refilling of bottles on industrial premises is covered by the health and safety at work act and the operative is given the required training for the procedure.

The bottles are steel as weight is not an issue.
 
Jun 7, 2005
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Clive

All refillable tanks that are used on forklifts are usually 12 or 18 kg size and "made for purpose" ie metal ones and owned by either Shell or Calor. The re filling is carried out quite legally and with the suppliers consent. They will even come and train operatives in the proceedure if required but most Customers have in house facilities. Our own Public Liability insurance covers us for this practise so i am sure that our Customers do also.

There is absolutly nothing dodgy about re filling a cylinder which is designed to be refilled from a bulk tank.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Graham - I could not agree more! This is exactly what I said above and on the adjacent post.

My point is that members of the public with potentially damaged plastic cylinders are apparently filling up at Car based LPG refilling outlets.

No H&S training - no checks on the cylinders - hence no insurance cover if the owner lets this happen on his forecourt.

These plastic/kevlar cylinders have no safety cut of and so presumably will be refilled to the same, high, pressure as exists in the main tank! What a bl**dy nightmare scenario!!

My LPG tank in my car reaches a preset pressure, lower than that of the delivering tank and a shuts the refill off. So my 5mm steel, tested LPG tank can not be over pressurised.

But a potentially compromised plastic cylinder being refilled has none of these safety devices.

I do not know myself, but I would imagine the same safety devices ARE present for the steel refillable cylinders you are talking about.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Clive you are correct, refilling of bottles on industrial premises is covered by the health and safety at work act and the operative is given the required training for the procedure.

The bottles are steel as weight is not an issue.
You beat me to it Roy!
 

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