Propane gas or LPG cylinders can be found in many homes and restaurants across the country, many preferring gas of electricity mainly due to cost. But how safe are those cylinders?

Authorities now inspect grocery stores (pulperias), supermarkets and other businesses retailing gas cylinders. Photo by Aresep

The safety aspect falls on the shoulders of the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos (Aresep) – regulator of public services – to inspect the cylinders sold at the retail level, pulperias (grocery stores), supermarkets and other businesses, through the LPG Quality Program (Programa de Calidad de GLP).

Through inspections carried out in the first half of 2017, the Aresep found that 60% of the cylinders at the points of sal (pos) presented nonconformities with the serial number; 85% did not have any information such as fill date, the name of the company or acronyms of the bottler, serial number, cylinder capacity, empty cylinder weight, and the month and year of manufacture.

The common cylinder valve in use in Costa Rica. They leak, do not fit well with all cylinders. There is a move to replace these valves, but it involves buying new adapters for the stove.

To ensure safety, the Aresep says it is working with gas companies in a plan to renew the 25-pound cylinders, thecommonlyused in homes across the country. This year, some 19,000 new cylinders will be added, according to the Aresep, as it works through its plan to replace, in the next five years, some 500,000 cylinders out there.

Under the LPG Quality Program, the Aresep must carry out regular inspections and destroys cylinders that do not comply with the quality tests. The Aresep said it will intensify the monthly visits and expand coverage to ensure compliance.

The authorities now inspect grocery stores, suppliers and other businesses.
Photo by: Image of Aresep

The Aresep recommends, at the time of buying or replacing a cylinder to check that it is not banged up, corroded and the valves have plastic seals with the company name.

Once at home, maintain the cylinder in a well-ventilated area and immediately replace if you find any leaks.

There is also a program to replace the larger cylinders with the old valve style with the more security screw type, like that of the smalle cylinders commonly used for bbqs.

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