As homeowners, millions of us rely on our gas appliances to help us stay cosy during the colder months – they are the engine room of our home and work hardest over autumn and winter periods.
Ensuring the are working efficiently and safely is essential, and therefore gas safety should always be an important consideration. Poor boiler maintenance and irregular servicing, in particular, can increase the chances of gas leaks, fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
We’re proud supporters of Gas Safe Register’s ‘Gas Safety Week’ campaign, and this year’s theme is ‘Supporting the most vulnerable’ people in our society. Therefore, we’ve listed the following simple tips to ensure you – and those close to you – can prepare effectively, minimise the risk of something going wrong and help to keep life moving when the cold comes around.
Get a boiler service
It’s important to ensure you have all gas appliances in your home serviced or inspected at least once a year by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Whilst the engineer is at your home, ask him/her to carry out a tightness test of your gas installation, the test will determine if you have any gas leaks in the house.
If you suspect you have a gas leak, read our tips about how to deal with a gas leak.
Always use an approved engineer
If you need to find a Gas Safe registered engineer in your vicinity visit Gas Safe’s website or call them on 0800 408 5500.
Always ask to see a engineers Gas Safe identification, the front will confirm their identity (photograph, name, the business they work for and a date when the card expires). The rear of the card will tell you what appliances and gas types they are qualified to work on.
It’s important not to employ unregistered gas engineers to work in your property.
Carbon monoxide poisoning
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, poisonous gas produced by incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels, including gas, oil, wood and coal.
Carbon-based fuels are safe to use, it is only when the fuel does not burn properly that excess CO is produced, and this is poisonous. When CO enters the body, it prevents the blood from bringing oxygen to cells, tissues, and organs.
Know the symptoms
Be aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Headaches, dizziness, nausea, feeling breathless and in extreme cases collapse, loss of conciseness and death.
Install a carbon monoxide alarm
Have an audible carbon monoxide alarm installed in your home; ensure the alarm is installed correctly to the manufacturer’s instructions. They’re relatively cheap but could prove to be a lifesaver.
Only use appliances for their intended use; a cooker should not be used to heat a room.
Ensure your gas appliances have adequate ventilation (a fresh supply of air) to operate correctly, don’t block air vents inside your house, even if they are a nuisance during winter months.