Understanding the Benefits of Gas: Cooking, safety tips, and how to correctly check gas levelsGas has several benefits for both outdoor camping adventures and also keeping your home warm or minimizing electricity usage. Using gas for cooking, heating or lighting is also often more cost-effective and efficient. We’ve put together a guide to help you understand all the tips and tricks to use gas tools like an expert, as well as information on safety, checking gas levels and our top gas product picks.
Although wood is often the preferred choice for avid braai cooks in South Africa, gas has plenty of benefits for cooking, camping, and other applications. Although many people are more familiar with cooking on wood and charcoal - cooking with gas is surprisingly easy, safe, and efficient!
As long as you stick to common safety rules, nothing can go wrong and you can cook food or warm up your house easily and fast. In this guide, we help you understand why gas is a great choice for indoor and outdoor use, as well as all the safety tips and tricks for cooking and using gas correctly.
GAS BOTTLES OR GAS CARTRIDGES?
Many camping braais these days work off of gas. Generally, you will have to choose between a refillable gas cylinder or a (disposable) gas cartridge. A refillable gas cylinder can of course contain more gas and therefore lasts longer. On the other hand, it is quite big and heavy, so it is not that portable and not ideal for outdoor camping adventures.
If you have space in your camping setup and the weight does not matter, then a refillable gas cylinder is usually the most cost-effective and sustainable option.
If you have less space, then it’s advised to not take a heavy gas cylinder with you and choose a more compact, lighter alternative. Depending on your needs you can choose from a variety of portable gas canisters and tools - from small coffee makers to a variety of camp cooking canister sizes.
How long will your braai last on a gas cartridge or a gas cylinder?
This can often depend on a number of things and it is always recommended to first consult the instructions provided with your specific gas canister or to ask one of our in-store experts for advice about your product. Some of the factors that can affect gas efficiency are:
- The type or size of gas cartridge or gas cylinder that you use.
- The type of braai you are using or how much food you want to cook (and at what temperatures). Larger braais use more gas than a smaller model since they often have a larger gas burner with higher temperatures.
- Weather conditions can affect gas supply requirements - especially cooking or using gas in very cold outdoor conditions.
- The variable heat settings on your cooker and how you use them. If you always use the highest setting on your gas gear, you will run out of gas a lot faster generally.
Tips and Tricks for cooking with gas.
- Make sure your gas cylinder/gas cartridge is always upright.
- Gas appliances require sufficient ventilation for safe operation; therefore only use your device outdoors or in very well ventilated spaces.
- Do a gas leak test before using your braai. This is very easy to do using soap and water. You can spread some soapy water on the couplings of the gas hose and If bubbles arise, there may be a gas leak. If this happens, immediately turn off the gas supply on your cooker or on the cylinder. Check the connections and do the gas leak test again. Important: Never use your braai or gas canister if it is leaking
- Always close the gas supply of the gas cylinder first, and then the braai.
- Use a Quick Release to (dis) connect your gas hose quickly and safely. With this tool, you simply click the gas hose on/off your braai. The Quick Release is also available with a double coupling so that you can easily switch between different gas applications, such as heaters, cookers, and outdoor kitchen equipment.
- Replace your gas pressure regulator every 5 years and the hose every 2 years.
How to Tell How Full a Gas Bottle Is
Important: Always follow the instructions provided with your gas products to ensure you are following the correct safety procedures. It is also advisable to use a gas level indicator to check your gas levels accurately and safely.
1. Do NOT use boiling water, as you would risk scalding yourself. Fill a bucket or large jug with warm tap water.
2. Carefully pour the hot water down one side of the gas bottle.
3. A line of condensation may appear as your gas bottle level indicator to check gas bottle level. If not:
4. Wait a few seconds and then run your hand down the side of the gas bottle where you poured the water to tell how much gas in the gas bottle.
5. You should feel a change of temperature to tell how much gas is in the gas bottle.
If you feel no difference, the gas bottle level may well be empty.
NB: Be careful not to hurt yourself with the hot water when you check gas bottle level.
Pro tip: remember that gas bottles are designed to be full at 80% gas bottle level or just over 3/4. This allows for the natural expansion of the gas during warmer temperatures.
For safety reasons, Do not open the valve on an unattached gas bottle to check gas bottle level, even if you think it is empty.
Another way how to check gas bottle level for a camp or outdoor size gas bottle level is by using a scale:
Disconnect the bottle and place it on a scale, making sure the valve is firmly closed. The tare (empty) weight of the bottle is usually found on the neck ring. The difference between the scale reading and the tare weight should tell how much gas in the gas bottle.
Tips for Never Running Out of Gas Again.
1. Always order gas as soon as the first bottle runs out.
Don’t wait until the gas bottles are both empty or near empty.
2. Remember to order sooner, rather than later, during the busy winter season.
3. Remember to check gas bottle levels more often in cold weather, especially if you use a gas heater or gas fire.
5. If you only have one gas bottle attached to your home or camp setup, you may wish to consider adding a second spare gas bottle.
A second bottle solves the problem and is particularly wise if you use your gas for hot water and/or heating.
Our Top Gas Product Picks
Alva Gas Level Indicator allows you to check the level of your gas which enables you to know when to fill up ahead of time.
- Shows you when you are low on gas before you run out.
- It works automatically while you use your cylinder
- Magnet application for easy application and removal
- Easy to read level indicators
- High output stainless steel burner
- Suitable for use with most sizes of pots and pans
- Stainless steel pan supports
- Fully chrome-plated
- To be used with CADAC 3, 5 & 7 LPG Cylinders
- Fits directly onto an LPG Cylinder
- LPGA Safe Appliance Approval
- Gas consumption: 168 g/h
- Butane/Propane gas mix cartridge, fitted with standard type EN417 threaded self-sealing safety valve
- Ideal for home use, camping, fishing, picnicking, or hiking
- The threaded cartridge screws directly onto a CADAC Safari Chef & 2 Cook 2 range or any other appliance with standard EN417 fitting
The Cadac 3kg Gas Cylinder is coated with epoxy powder for rust protection, it features an external valve with fingertip control and a dust cover plug. It's essential for any camping trip. The cylinder is suitable for cooker tops, lamps, and heaters.
- Holds 3kg of LP gas, gas not included
- Coated with epoxy powder for rust protection
- External valve with fingertip control
- Capped shroud for protection of the valve with carrying handle on the shroud
- Includes a dust cap
- 1,2m hose & 2 clamps
- Fits on the CADAC 9kg cylinder and all industrial L.P.G. Cylinders: 9, 14, 19 & 48kg