Gas Safety Week – How Safe is your Home?
Monday, September 13 to Sunday, September 19 is Gas Safety Week 2021 - an annual awareness campaign to highlight the importance of gas safety around the home and workplace.
It also aims to show the importance of taking care of your gas appliances. It is co-ordinated by Gas Safe Register, the official list of gas engineers who are legally allowed to work on gas – if an engineer doesn’t show valid Gas Safe ID, don’t let them work on your system.
If your home has badly fitted gas appliances that have been poorly or irregularly serviced, you’re putting yourself and your family at risk from a whole host of dangers, including gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Although the dangers of flammable gas are well known, carbon monoxide is also a highly poisonous gas that you can’t see, smell or taste, and carbon monoxide poisoning accounts for up to 50 deaths and as many as 4,000 medical visits every year, in the UK.
Gas safety checks to carry out around the home
Whether you’re a homeowner or a tenant, get yourself familiar with the following to ensure the gas safety of your systems and appliances, and the safety of your household:
- Check your gas appliances every year. Gas appliances should be safety checked once a year and serviced regularly by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Tenants – make sure your landlord arranges this. Set a reminder so you don’t forget at StayGasSafe.co.uk.
- Check your engineer is Gas Safe registered. You can find or check an engineer at GasSafeRegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5500.
- Check your engineer is qualified for the type of gas work you need doing e.g. natural gas, domestic boiler. You can find this information on the back of their Gas Safe ID card and the Gas Safe Register website.
- Check for warning signs that your appliances aren’t working correctly, such as lazy yellow /orange flames instead of crisp blue ones, black marks on or around the appliance, a pilot light that keeps going out and too much condensation in the room.
- Know the six main symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning – headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, collapse and loss of consciousness.
- Have an audible carbon monoxide alarm. This will alert you if there is carbon monoxide in your home.
How to spot a carbon monoxide leak
Carbon monoxide is a tasteless, odourless and colourless gas. It's also extremely deadly.
It can get into the home through gas appliances don't burn gas completely because they've been incorrectly fitted, poorly maintained, or badly repaired.
Here are four signs that your gas appliance might not be working properly and could be spewing deadly carbon monoxide into your home:
- Floppy yellow or orange flame on your gas hob, rather than a crisp blue flame
- Dark, sooty staining on or around gas appliances
- Pilot lights that frequently blow out
- Increased condensation inside windows
If you do have a carbon monoxide leak, you could feel some or all of the following symptoms:
- Loss of consciousness
If you have these symptoms, get out of the house straight away - if it is carbon monoxide poisoning you might feel better almost as soon as the fresh air hits you.
In any case, you should open all doors and windows, switch off gas appliances and leave the house. It's probably worth getting in touch with your GP so they can check you out and let you know if you need treatment for carbon monoxide
If you're concerned there is immediate danger, call the gas emergency helpline on 0800 111 999 (mainland GB), 0800 002 001 (Northern Ireland) or look up the number for your UK region at https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/what-to-do-in-an-emergency/.
Watch out for the ripple effect
Gas safety is everyone's concern, as our actions not only effect us but also our neighbours.
As part of Gas Safety Week 2020 and to highlight the importance of gas safety, the Ripple Effect short film told the story of an ordinary neighbourhood, during an ordinary evening when an extraordinary event happens – a gas explosion rips through a terraced house with devastating consequences. But what caused it? Watch the short film to find out.
For gas safety advice and to find or check an engineer visit the Gas Safe Register website or call the free helpline on 0800 408 5500.
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