Gas Safety: How to stay safe
For the majority of households within the UK, their central heating will be provided with mains supplied gas. Gas is by far the most popular means of heating a household due to its cost effectiveness over other boiler fuels, such as oil and LPG. Gas is also popular due to its efficiency because it does not require a personal storage unit.
If you’re connected to the gas grid, chances are you’ll already be enjoying the benefits of a gas heated home. Boiler’s work by burning fuel and transferring the heat through radiators, underfloor heating and other methods of property warming. However, there are potential downsides to using gas. Given that gas carries the risk of combustion, it is important to make sure your household or property is kept safe.
If you suffer from a gas leak in your building, the results could be fatal. This is because when gas makes contact with a naked flame it will cause instant combustion. As well as potential explosions, carbon monoxide leaks can also prove incredibly damaging to the health of those exposed. For these reasons and more, it’s crucial you know how to stay safe.
Conwy Valley Plumbing proudly provides the whole of North Wales with our high quality range of plumbing products and services. With 25 years in the business, we feel it our duty to make sure all our customers stay informed on central heating related issues. That’s why we’ve put together this guide, helping you to maintain the safety of your gas appliances.
Here are 10 tips to ensuring you get the most from your boiler, whilst also staying safe. Should you have any more questions about gas safety, or our products, please don’t hesitate to call us on the number in the right hand corner of this page.
Make sure you’re only using registered tradesmen
Whenever you are having work done on anything that involves a gas source, be it a boiler, stand alone heater or cooker, make sure the person carrying out the work is Gas Safe Registered. The Gas Safe Register is the UK’s official safety board for all gas related work and was previously known as CORGI.
Remember that when employing an engineer to carry out any work on your gas appliances, they must be able to present you with a Gas Safety Register card. Failure to prove this will not only mean you could be in danger, but that any insurance or cover you have on your boiler could become invalidated. For more information on the Gas Safety Register, check their website.
10 things to stay gas safe
1. Nominate six month gas work free GAS SAFE inspection
If you have had any gas work carried out within the last six months that you’re not sure about, you can nominate it for a free inspection from Gas Safe. This will make sure that any repairs, installations or fitting performed are up to scratch, keeping you warm and safe from harm.
2. Test Appliances when Moving to a New House
In all the excitement of moving to a new house or flat, it can be easy to forget to check the safety of your new appliances. However, don’t assume that all the appliances when you move in will be safe. The last thing you want, when moving into a new house, is a dangerous gas appliance. Make sure a Gas Safe Registered Engineer checks the property for you.
3. Check your gas appliances annually
Every year it is important to make sure that any gas appliances you have in your household are checked. In the same way that you would get a car serviced at a regular time frame, so too should you with your heating systems. This is to ensure that there is no leakage and that everything is running smoothly.
It may be possible that you can qualify for your energy companies Priority Services Register, which can get you free inspections each year. Even if you have to pay for it, however, not only are gas safety checks significant for your insurance, but they can save you money. An efficient boiler is one of the best ways to reduce monthly bills – checking your gas appliance will ensure they’re working efficiently and safely.
4. Check the qualifications of those carrying out work
As mentioned before, it’s crucial to ensure you’re only letting qualified and registered professionals look at your heating systems. When it comes to boilers, they are purpose built machines, and need special care and attention. Whilst it may be more convenient to attempt to investigate and fix the problem yourself, your actions could cause more damage to your system.
Be sure to look for an engineers Gas Safety Register card, and check them online. Don’t be scared to challenge or refuse an engineer if they fail to provide this information, not only is it a legal requirement but its your house that you’ll be trusting this individual with.
5. Be Engineer Savvy
Whilst you may get a better deal from an engineer who’s offering you private extra work, be wary of anyone not working with a more reputable brand. All engineers carrying out work on your appliances must be doing so for a Gas-Registered business. It is actually illegal for them not too, so make sure that you only employee engineers that are working with a legal company.
6. Report any illegal gas activity
As you can probably see by now, it’s not only safe to make sure you’re working with qualified and registered companies and engineers, but also a legal responsibility. Remember that if you see anyone carrying out illegal gas activity, be it a company or an individual, it’s vital to report them to the Gas Safe Register.
Every year around 12 people in the UK die from poorly maintained gas appliances, by allowing cowboy engineers to carry out this work you don’t know what damage they could be causing.
7. Check for carbon monoxide poisoning
FACT: Carbon monoxide kills around 12 people a year as a result of poorly installed or ill functioning gas appliances. These lives could have easily been saved by having appliances checked and looking out for carbon Monoxide poisoning.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:
- Medical discomfort that disappears when leaving the house
- Similar symptoms seen in nearby wildlife or house members
8. What to do if experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms
If you even so much as slightly suspect you’re suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, here is what to do immediately:
- Make sure you’re safe: get fresh air
- Put out any flames in the house
- Switch off your gas supply and appliances
- Contact a medical professional and inform them you suspect it’s carbon monoxide poisoning
- Get in contact with the Gas Emergency Helpline on 0800 111 999 if you’re in danger
These actions could be the difference between life and death. Whilst that may sound dramatic, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
9. Stay alert to your appliances
A key part of gas safety is staying vigilant with your appliances. Knowing what to look out for will make you prepared for whether you need any safety work or checks on your appliances. Looking out for the warning signs of an old or inefficient appliance will make sure you stay safe. Check for:
- Black marks, staining or soot around or on gas appliances
- Increased condensation inside your windows could be a sign of appliances malfunctioning
- Pilot lights extinguishing quickly
- If you have a gas hob or oven, the flame should be crisp and blue. Yellow and orange flames say you should get your cooker inspected.
10. Invest in a carbon monoxide detector
Buy purchasing a carbon monoxide audio alarm you can prepare yourself for any leakage. carbon monoxide cannot be tasted, smelt or seen so the investment of under £20 for an alarm could help save your life.
When buying an alarm, make sure that you are buying a British or European approved make and model. They are easy to install and you can do this yourself . Taking a few minutes out of your day can save you hundreds in house repairs and help keep you and your family safe.
Gas heating is an efficient and convenient way to warm your household or property, but it can be very dangerous. Make sure that you keep yourself safe. By following the above rules you’ll ensure your safety and those around you, whilst promoting good gas safety practice.
If you have any questions concerning gas safety or any of the products of services we provide, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us. We’re specialists in gas safety and can perform any services that you’d require to be performed.
You can call us on 01491 500 120 or contact us online.