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Are faulty seals causing gas cylinder leaks?

Aircraft engineer Joseph Vella claims he bought two leaky gas cylinders caused by damaged seals.Aircraft engineer Joseph Vella claims he bought two leaky gas cylinders caused by damaged seals.

An aircraft engineer who is a regular user of gas cylinders claims that the supplier is not following proper maintenance procedures.

“In the past 12 months, I have had two incidents where cylinders leaked when the regulator was fitted. On both occasions, the cause was a perished seal.

“The Liquigas technician simply removed the seal and claimed it was not necessary for correct operation. The real truth is that Liquigas do not have these spare seals and they do not want to increase their costs.

“The consumer is facing the risk of an explosion due to leaking cylinders caused by these perished seals,” Joseph Vella, told the Times of Malta.

Two elderly people were injured in a gas explosion at their Mqabba home last week.

A Liquigas spokesman said the part in question was a dust cover not a seal.

Mr Vella said that he had reported the matter to the Malta Competition and Consumers Affairs Authority (MCCAA) but he was not aware of any action being taken.

The consumer is facing the risk of an explosion due to leaking cylinders

In an e-mail exchange last January, the MCCAA told Mr Vella it had already raised the issue with Liquigas prior to him pointing out the problem. He was informed the perishable outer seals had no bearing on sealing between the valve on the cylinder and the regulator.

Mr Vella said that subsequent e-mails sent to the MCCAA about the matter remained unanswered.

He accused the consumer watchdog of failing to ensure that Liquigas replaced the seals every time the same gas cylinder was refilled at their facility.

When contacted, a Liquigas spokesman insisted that the item Mr Vella was referring to was, in fact, a dust cover, not a seal.

“The purpose of the dust cover is to protect the cylinder valve from ingress of dust. The mechanism that seals the connection between the regulator and the valve, known as a rubber gasket, is placed deep in the valve and cannot be seen in the pictures [provided].

“Cylinder valve manufacturers have stopped producing valves with dust covers as this was an unnecessary item given that most gas suppliers, including Liquigas Malta’s green cylinders, supply filled cylinders with a green sealing cap that protects the valve against dust and rain,” the spokesman said.

The company flatly denied trying to save money by not replacing seals on its gas cylinders.

The spokesman said that, if a leak was detected by a Liquigas technician, the internal rubber gasket would either be replaced or the cylinder substituted for a new one.

“The cylinder is then taken to Liquigas facility to be tested and a brand new one valve is installed. It is, therefore, not correct to say that Liquigas is in any way saving money by not replacing any seal to the detriment of a client,” the spokesman said.

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