South Africa’s largest short-term insurer Santam has urged households to look for alternatives as a way of dealing with load shedding – including a possible shift to gas appliances.

“With load shedding wreaking havoc, the use of gas appliances has increased in many households over the last few months,” said Rowland Ramalingam, head of non-motor claims at Santam.

“Whether you’re considering buying a gas stove or have already purchased a gas heater in anticipation of the upcoming winter chill, there are several safety considerations you need to prioritise when you have your gas appliances installed.

“Generally, Santam’s most common claims during load shedding are related to power surges, damage to fridge contents, and possible burglary claims.”

Although gas is safe to use if installed in accordance with the regulations, the most common types of hazards associated with its use include explosions and fire, he said.  There are a number of guidelines to take into consideration where gas installation is concerned.

Ramalingam provides the following further advice for homeowners regarding gas safety:

  • Gas equipment/systems must be installed in accordance with SABS’s (South African Bureau of Standards) requirements (SANS087).
  • When a property where a gas appliance is installed is sold, a certificate of conformity must be obtained for the gas system, and it must be provided to the purchaser.
  • Only gas bottles containing less than 19kg of gas may be stored inside a building.
  • When gas stoves are in use, ensure sufficient ventilation, do not open the gas flame too high, and make sure the gas is turned off properly after use.

“Unfortunately, load shedding is a reality that’s here to stay. Most of us will need to seek energy alternatives, so it’s imperative to do so smartly and responsibly. It’s critical to install and maintain them properly. A reputable insurer like Santam can help with both risk management and mitigation,” he said.

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