Energy Safety Business Update – June 2017
Working on gas fired electrical appliances
Energy Safety recently investigated a fire at a rest home involving a gas fired central heating furnace that ignited after electrical fittings inside the furnace had been replaced.
While the person who did the work was a certifying gasfitter, they did not hold a licence to undertake prescribed electrical work on the electrical fittings inside the gas fired equipment.
Gasfitters who intend to carry out prescribed electrical work on electrical fittings inside gas fired equipment must obtain registration as an Associated Tradesperson from the Electrical Workers Registration Board. This enables gasfitters to do the following:
The maintenance and replacement of fittings that have an electrical rating of not more than 250 volts and 16 amperes which form part of gas fired equipment; and
The disconnection and connection of fittings from or to a power supply, other than by means of a plug or pin inserted into a socket, or an appliance coupler inserted into an appliance inlet; where those fittings have an electrical rating of not more than 250 volts and 16 amperes and form part of gas fired equipment; and
The testing of work described in items (a) and (b) above; and
The certification of work described in items (a) and (b) above; and
The supervision of any work described in items (a) to (d) above.
Currently, no specific licence class exists for electricians who wish to carry out gasfitting work on a gas appliance.
Fire protective measures
There is a potential risk of wiring enclosures contributing to the spread of fires that originate in a switchboard, especially where wiring enters the top or sides of that switchboard.
Wiring systems should pass through close fitting entries with less than 5 mm of free space. Openings greater than 5 mm are not considered a close fit and should be sealed with a fire retardant sealant as per the requirement of AS/NZS 3000:2007 Electrical installations– Clause 2.9.7.
Thermal insulation (such as Pink Batts) in walls is not acceptable as a fire retardant sealant for this purpose.
International discussions on product safety and compliance
We recently joined MBIE in holding discussions with representatives from China and Taiwan about the Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) that New Zealand has with both countries that support the trade in electrical and electronic equipment.
Each MRA includes provisions for sharing information and recognising product compliance assessments for each other's marketplace.
We secured agreement to update the MRAs in order to increase cooperation around the safety compliance of Electrical and Electronic Equipment. The meeting included initial discussions around improving the exchange of information relating to gas appliance safety. These arrangements are important due to the high volume of consumer products coming from Asia.