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What to do when my gas stops flowing in my Commercial Kitchen

One of our most regular phone calls out of hours are panicked business owners and chefs alike, trying to get gas flowing back into their kitchen. More often than not it’s one of the following;

  • Solenoid closure due to inadvertent depressing of ESD button
  • Solenoid closure due to extract fans not having been switched on
  • Solenoid failure due to burnt out coils
  • Network regulator tripping

Quickly what you’re going to want to do is rule out any foul play around your gas supply. An easy way to achieve this is if you have other gas appliances like a water heater to see if that’s still working. It is rare for this to be interlocked to the kitchen systems and as such if you still have hot water from your gas califont it is unlikely to be a gas supply issue. If it is a gas supply issue call your supplier immediately.

Next is to ensure your extract fan is running and the speed is adequate. When we install a solenoid we will ensure that there is an air pressure switch installed as a safety measure, so that in the event the mechanical air fails this prevents you breathing in any excess combustion products. If the fan speed has been turned down it may not have enough air flow to open the switch up.

Once you’ve checked all of this it’s worthwhile to double check any emergency buttons haven’t been inadvertently pressed, the last thing you want is downtime and an after-hours charge only to find out the produce delivery man accidentally leant on the ESD button!

If you still haven’t found the problem then check the solenoid itself. Hopefully it’s been installed with an LED light so you can see whether it’s energised (more about that below). If it’s not energised its more than likely an electrical fault and you should call your electrician without delay. Failing that call us at GES, we operate a 24/7 on call and can get you up and running.

It is a requirement under ASNZS 5601.1 (gas installations standard) to ensure there is adequate ventilation where there are gas appliances and interlocking mechanical extract and make up air systems to the gas supply is the most practical way of achieving this. Not only does this meet our obligations in this circumstance but also has the added bonus of providing an emergency shut off when needed. Solenoids are a failsafe device, so In the event there is a loss of power to the building, or when you go home at night the gas supply is cut off to that space. We’ve heard of circumstances where these devices haven’t been installed and an appliance has been knocked during a produce delivery, resulting in filling that space with gas (fortunately in this case their neighbour could smell gas and called us to isolate before there was a major incident).

Not only do we recommend installing a solenoid and interlocking it to your extract system, we have a few principles we follow when designing and installing them:

  • Install a solenoid that has an integrated LED (Krom-Schroder or Gold Seal as a few examples). You can see when it’s energized
  • Make the solenoid accessible & visible, they don’t last forever and you’ll want to make service and repair as easy as possible.
  • Make the ESD button accessible, but not somewhere it’ll get knocked
  • Keep critical spares on site, GES always have spares of the common varieties we install, but not all gas fitters can boast the same service levels
  • Ensure the air proving is on the exhaust air, not supply

There are additional controls you can install such as a gas proving system, which can test your pipework each day and ensure there are no leaks before switching the system on.

Don’t hesitate to call GES if you want to discuss options around gas safety in your kitchen.