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How To
DIY - Gas
Most major Chinese cities have access to mains gas. Locations without mains gas use bottled gas instead, which we know of as 'calor gas' in UK.

Working with gas can be very dangerous, so we recommend you call in an expert to make any alterations or fix any problems. Below are a few tips that may help you out:

Mains Gas:

We will presume you have just moved into an apartment and found the gas doesn't work. The mains gas will probably feed the gas hob and water heater.

1. If neither work and there is no gas supply, locate where the gas supply pipe enters the apartment (Usually into the kitchen from outside). Nearby should be a mechanical switch on the pipe, similar to a 90 degree turn water switch. Check this is on, usually this means it is set to the inline position. If it will not turn, then press it down and try turning it again, it will work this time. If there is still no gas, then it is turned off by the meter. Call the Landlady or have building services reconnect.

2. The water heater doesn't work, but the hob is ok. Often these heaters use a standard size battery to light the pilot light. Even though you may hear this clicking, it does not mean the battery is strong enough to light a flame. The battery (Sometimes two) is located at the base of the unit: in a plastic clip-down holder on modern heaters; or in an open push up and out in older heaters. Replace the battery and try again. If this does not work, call in an expert.

3. Some are powered by mains electricity, so check the supply is on. This may be a switch on a nearby plug socket. If it is on and the heater still does not work, check the pipes and see if there is an on/off control knob as at 1. above. If there is one try turning it. Again, if this does not solve the problem, call in expert advice.

Calor Gas

4. Bottled gas is available in virtually all areas of China and comes in typical blue bottles of various sizes.

5. In September 2010 a new bottle of gas should cost you about Y100 or less, whilst the cylinder itself will be about the same charge.

6. There is little maintenance, although we would recommend you check to see if there are any minor leaks. These are revealed when you turn off the gas at the bottle and monitor the gauge (Shown right).

Normally this gauge should retain pressure over several days. If it rapidly loses pressure, then there are minor leaks somewhere. These are often from joints or from faulty regulators. The cost of pipes, regulators, and jubilee clips is minimal, so we recommend you replace all of them with quality new parts. This should solve all your leaks. If the problem remains - call in an expert.

7. Replace the regulator only when changing cylinders. Simply disconnect the old pipe and attach it to the new regulator, and screw into position.

Most leaks will likely occur at the joints of the plastic pipe. Be pre-prepared to replace the jubilee clips that secure the pipe to the appliance and cylinder. These are sold at any hardware store for 1 or 2 RMB each. One quick method is to remove the last inch of pipe and make a new connection. As pipe is very cheap, it is as simple just to replace the whole pipe.

Sometimes (as illustrated) the plastic feed pipe routes via an old iron pipe set into the wall. It is unlikely the iron pipe will leak, but the joints may. Check for leaks and call in an expert if you think there is a problem.

8. Never search for leaks with a naked flame - it may well lead to a dangerous explosion!

The best way to check for leaks is with a 'gas sniffer' device all professionals carry, or by covering the joints with washing up liquid and watching for bubbles.

Image: Modern water heater showing batteries - Click to Enlarge

Image: Typical Calor Gas Regulator - Click to Enlarge

Image: Typical household calor gas cylinder - Click to Enlarge

Image: New red gas pipe and jubillee clips - Click to Enlarge
This information is as supplied by ourselves, and ably supported by our friends and various internet portals.
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