Safety Information - Portable Gas Stoves
Tuesday 9th June 2015
Safety hazards from portable gas stove products (known as “lunchbox cookers”) have arisen due to non-compliance with AS 2658-2008 (LP Gas – Portable and mobile appliances), which has resulted in their withdrawal from sale in all states by government regulators.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued recall notices and published a list of banned products1 from sale. Consumers are urged to stop using the portable butane cookers immediately, and either return the non-compliant products in accordance with the Australian Consumer Law or seek to dispose of them in an appropriate manner. Boat owners are advised to check the ACCC website for further information.
Portable gas stoves are a popular solution for cooking methods on a wide range of sailing vessels and small power boats. They are mostly single burner metal cookers designed to be used with small butane canisters.
Following a series of incidents with the explosive failures of the products, two of Australia’s gas certifying bodies, the Australian Gas Association and SAI Global, conducted tests on the products in 2014. The main concern involving these products was the safety valves failing to operate after heat was dispersed over the butane gas cylinder. There was an 84% failure rate against the Australian standard pertaining to the overpressure device or shut off valve. It was also found that parts of the shut off valve that protruded from the appliance were allowing debris to block the integral component from properly operating, further in breach of the standard.
The implications of this are that the gas cylinders could overheat and possibly explode, causing serious injury to users. This hazard is particularly prevalent in the confined space typically found on a yacht and in the cabins or half cabins of power boats where ambient temperatures are higher than normal (especially when an inboard engine is running).