The Rules Of Gas Safety

The cast iron, non-negotiable fact number one about gas is that, put in the wrong hands, it is extremely dangerous.

Gas is categorically not for ‘have a go heroes or heroines’ who can’t resist a practical challenge. Nor is it something you can master by Googling. Mistakes are very costly.

A botched gas job can be fatal and the price could be the lives of you and your family. Always stay safe.

An alarming 1 in 3 people in a recent survey said they would fit a gas appliance themselves to save money. Please, please – don’t. Leave it to a gas safe professional engineer with many years’ of experience in the industry.

 

A poorly installed or incorrectly serviced gas appliance is a ticking time-bomb. The end result could be a leak, explosion, house fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.

 

You may well be great at DIY but putting in a new boiler is not like constructing shelves. Never try to connect, repair or move any household gas appliances yourself.

 

One false move could kill you.

 

The only people who possess the necessary skills to safely carry out gas jobs are gas safe registered engineers. 

Any gas leak is a potential disaster.

 

If you smell gas call the National Gas Emergency Service 24/7 hotline 0800 111999. Day or night, a trained operator will be waiting to take your call.

 

25% of reported external leaks turn out to be false alarms. 80% of the gas escapes are internal. However National Grid engineers will always ‘make safe’ when they attend a suspected gas leak by identifying the source and repairing it free of charge if it is outside your home.

 

Should the leak be internal, they are only allowed to spend 30 minutes locating and repairing the problem.

 

If the source of the leak can’t be fixed within that time the gas supply will be shut off, and it then becomes the owner’s responsibility to repair it. If you believe you have an internal gas leak:

  • Leave the premises immediately
  • Turn off the gas supply
  • Contact your gas supplier urgently
  • Open your doors and windows

 

But please do not:

  • Switch on any lights or electrical devices
  • Turn on any gas appliances

 

Light a fire, strike a match, use a naked flame or smoke a cigarette

If you are renting domestic or office premises in the UK, your landlord is legally obliged to carry out an annual gas safety check and to provide you with a Gas Safety Certificate (or CP12) document as proof of this.

 

He or she must also maintain all the gas appliances within your home or workplace to safe operational levels. So when taking over a home or office tenancy, it is vital to ensure that the certificate you have been given is valid.

 

If it isn’t, ask for a new service to be carried out as quickly as possible.

 

However, if you own any gas appliances that were not on the inventory when you took over the tenancy, then you are responsible for ensuring and maintaining their safety.

 

Should your landlord ask you to arrange the safety check, please, please, please choose a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer to carry it out and ask to see their ID before you allow them into your home.

 

On one side of their card will be a photo of themselves and the yellow triangle Gas Safe Register logo. On the other side you’ll see a list of the gas appliances they are qualified to work on.

 

Don’t be tempted to go for someone because they quote an incredibly cheap fee or believe any excuses for not being able to show you evidence that they are Gas Safe registered.

 

The possible outcome doesn’t even bear thinking about. Suffice to say, when it comes to gas:  never cut corners.

 

Ask your landlord to show you how to turn off the gas supply in an emergency on the day you move in. If you ever smell gas or are worried about a possible leak call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111999 immediately.

Make no mistake, carbon monoxide can be lethal and have fatal consequences.

 

You can’t see it. You can’t smell it. You can’t taste it. Yet it kills 20 people in the UK every year.

 

It occurs due to lack of oxygen and can build up in homes as a result of incorrectly fitted, malfunctioning or poorly maintained gas appliances. It can also develop when flues, chimneys or vents have become blocked up.

 

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to those of severe flu or a hangover and include headache, dizziness, breathlessness followed by nausea and eventual collapse and loss of consciousness.

 

These physical sensations can obviously occur individually with any number of syndromes and conditions but if you find they only seem to occur within your home and your family and pets are also suffering, visit your GP as soon as possible to rule out carbon monoxide poisoning.

 

Never ignore any symptom that could possibly be associated with carbon monoxide poisoning. You could pay with your life.

Valid for one year and renewable every 12 months thereafter, a CP12 is a legal requirement in the UK for all landlords and owners of commercial premises. It’s basically a detailed report confirming that all appliances tested have been found to be safe.

 

Every year you will need to arrange for a gas safe engineer to visit your property or commercial premises to carry out a thorough inspection of all your gas fittings. This will involve checking that appliances are well ventilated, that there is a constant supply of fresh air so gas can burn properly and that all safety devices are effective and operational.

 

Your flues and chimneys will also be inspected to ensure fumes can be ejected appropriately.

 

If the premises pass the safety criteria, the engineer who carries out the service will then present you with a CP12 certificate showing the date, property address, description of each appliance and flue, any faults found and action taken to correct them plus all results of operational safety checks.

 

The certificate will also show the name and registration number of your engineer. It’s a small piece of paper but a very important one which will allow both you and your tenants to sleep soundly at night knowing that the property is safe.

In addition to organising an annual gas safety check, landlords must regularly maintain all gas appliances in the property and keep records to show that this has been done.

 

One way of ensuring healthy gas is to properly ventilate rooms with appliances. Make sure that your tenants understand the importance of reporting any faults or problems immediately.

 

A carbon monoxide alarm is strongly advisable as it will detect and warn of even the smallest gas leak. Always keep hard copies of your CP12 – both for your own records and to give to tenants when they move in. It is now law that you are able to provide one.

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How Can I Protect Myself?

  • Ensure your boiler and all gas appliances are serviced every year

  • Always choose a Gas Safe registered engineer

  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm that meets British/European standards

  • Keep your appliances fully ventilated at all times

  • Check that your boiler flame is a strong, clear blue colour