Gas is something we use every day, whether it is to heat our homes, cook our dinner or letting us have hot showers. Despite being a natural fuel and easy to have piped into our homes it can turn into a deadly killer. Gas safety is essential and should be given seen as a priority in your household. Gas safety inspections should be carried out frequently along with the renewal of your gas boiler safety certificate. It is an easy thing to organise as companies such as British Gas offer a free gas safety checks and will talk you through having your own gas safety check list.
Aside from this having your own gas safety guide is a great idea to keep you on track and safe from any danger. Below is a handy guide to give show you simple ways of protecting your home.
- Always use a Gas Safe Registered Engineer
Formally known as Corgi, these are engineers that are compliant and qualified to be on the Gas Safe Register. These engineers know what they are doing and guarantee to follow gas safety regulations. To check if they are an official engineer ask to see their membership card and look for the yellow Gas Safe Register triangle. You can also check their details on the Gas Safety website or by calling 0800 408 5500 . The back of their membership card will also list what work they are qualified to undertake.
- Schedule yearly appliance checks
Many energy companies provide options to register for yearly checks on your appliances and will contact you to book them in. If you are on a means tested benefit, disabled or of pension age you should be eligible to have a free check by asking to go on their Priority Services Register.
- Report anyone who is work on gas illegally
If you re contacted by an engineer who can’t produce a Gas Safe Register card and offers to do work do not accept, they are not qualified and will be putting you and your home at risk by doing any work. If you do suspect an illegal engineer please report them to the Gas Safe Register and they will investigate further. It is also illegal to let an official engineer to work on the ‘side’ away from their firm so be wary of these offers.
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- Moving house checks
When you move into a new property it is a good idea to get your appliances checked as you have no previous evidence of what checks have been done previously and if an official engineer was used. Landlords usually book this in for you but always good to make note of in case they don’t. They should also legally provide you with documents to prove safety checks.
- Check for warning signs
A good sign that something is potentially wrong is to check for warning signs on your appliances. There are a few tell tale signs to look out for. Firstly if your pilot light on your boiler keeps going out then it will need checked, if you see soot, staining or black marks on your appliances this indicates an issue. When putting on your cooker always have a look at the flame before putting your pots on. If they flame is yellow, orange or lazy then be aware. A flame should be blue and bright. Lastly increased condensation on your windows is a sign of the heating not working adequately so worth calling an engineer in.
- Being carbon monoxide aware
Carbon monoxide affects over 200 people a year and kills around 50. It is known as the silent killer as you cannot smell, see, hear or taste it. Exposure to carbon monoxide is usually discovered when it is too late. The symptoms are sometimes tricky to diagnose as can be the same feeling as having a hangover or the flu.
If you feel better when you leave the house then there is a chance it could be carbon monoxide affecting you. Also look out for symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, breathlessness and in some cases loss of consciousness. Carbon monoxide is a killer so be aware and be quick to get outside and to medical attention if you suspect you have been poisoned.
- Buy a carbon monoxide alarm
Rather than waiting on symptoms coming on of carbon monoxide poisoning or even worse waiting until it too late can be avoided. Carbon monoxide alarms can be easily bought for not too much cost and can save your life. They are easily fitted to walls and ideally should be in the bedrooms. Look for the Kitemark on the alarm to show it has been approved. The alarm will either go off if the levels of carbon monoxide get too high or they will change colour to indicate a problem.
- Know how to deal with carbon monoxide
You have the alarm, you understand the symptoms but what do you do when it goes off and you and your family have all been feeling dizzy, drowsy and sick? The first thing to do is to get all the doors and windows open and get fresh air circulating around, even stand outside for a while. Turn all gas off. Turn off all appliances and the gas at the meter. Make sure there are no naked flames in the house and then leave. Go straight to the hospital and a doctor and make them aware that you think it may be carbon monoxide poisoning.
By following these simple steps and educating the people around you then you ensuring you meet gas safety regulations in the UK and have your own gas safety values to protect your home and family. Gas safety isn’t something to have sleepless nights over, all you need to do is make sure you have regular gas safety tests and inspections with a qualified engineer and be carbon monoxide aware. The Gas Register website is full of information to help you create your own gas safety check list.