GET YOUR APPLIANCES CHECKED
Unchecked appliances could pose a risk to you and your family; we strongly recommend that you don’t leave it to chance –
All gas appliances in your property need to be safety checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer annually and serviced according to manufacturer’s instructions. Any appliance left unchecked could leave you at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s an extremely good idea to have your gas pipe work inspected at the same time as having a gas safety check, every year – and it’s law if you’re a landlord.
Servicing – contact us if you notice any of the following; they are warning signs that you need to get your appliance serviced right away:
The gas appliance is not working properly
The appliance is burning with a lazy yellow flame rather than a crisp blue one
Black marks/stains are evident around the gas appliance
The pilot light keeps going out
There is increased condensation in the room
What’s the difference between a safety check and a service?
Prior to any work being carried out it is important to agree with the engineer their scope of the work so that everyone is clear. For example, there are differences between an appliance service & a safety check & equally between a safety check of appliances and a safety check of the whole installation, which includes all pipe work and appliances.
What is an Appliance Safety Check?
An appliance safety check at a minimum includes all of the checks and tests to ensure the appliance is safe to operate, for example:
- It is correctly set and adjusted to ensure the gas is burning correctly
- It is of a type suitable for the room in which it is located
- It is physically stable, securely fitted and properly connected to the gas pipe work
- There is an adequate and permanent air supply suitable for the appliance type installed
- Any flues or chimneys are operating correctly
- All safety devices function correctly
What is an Appliance Service?
An appliance service will include all of the above checks and tests and any other specific checks, for inspection and/or cleaning of the appliance as specified and detailed in the appliance manufacturer’s instructions. This may include:
If appropriate, an analysis of the combustion exhaust gases to ensure the appliance is burning the gas safely
A check of the condition of the appliance including (but not limited to): the effectiveness of any seals, gaskets, the cleanliness of heat exchangers etc. and checking for any signs of heat or other distress
This is not an exhaustive list and servicing requirements will vary across appliance types and models.
Note: Some appliance servicing regimes provide an interim performance check (annual) to be used in order to determine the degree of dismantling the appliance and the level of servicing required.
What is a Gas Installation Safety check?
If a gas installation safety check (all appliances and internal pipe work) is required or specified each appliance will need to be checked as outlined above and additionally:
- All accessible gas pipe work is visually inspected to ensure the installation is in good condition, and;
- The gas pipe work is tested to ensure there are no gas leaks
- During and after the engineer’s visit
When assessing an unsafe gas appliance, all engineers will follow the Gas Industry Unsafe Situations Procedure (GIUSP) which provides ‘best practice’ advice to engineers on how to deal with specific gas safety concerns.
After they have worked on the appliance, the engineer may issue you with a report detailing the checks they’ve carried out. This could be a Gas Safety Record, depending on what work they have done – however it’s not a legal requirement for this to be issued, so it’s probably best to check with the business beforehand what documentation they’re likely to provide. You can visit our Gas Safety Records page for further information.
Flues, chimneys and air vents
These all play an important role in the safe operation of gas appliances, allowing products of combustion to escape and ensuring a high level of ventilation. As cold as it might get during winter, never block up these airways – this could result in a build up of carbon monoxide in your home.
Chimneys will need to be checked every year for blockages (such as birds’ nests and debris)
UNDERSTAND THE GAS SAFE ID CARD
Make sure you know what you’re looking for when checking the card
Please note – Our engineer will always present the Gas safe ID CARD.
We are happy for new & existing customers to follow Gas Safe guidelines to confirm the details
Details to check on the front of the card:
- The engineer’s photo
- The start and expiry dates
- The licence number
- The security hologram
- The engineer is from the business you employed
Details to check on the back of the card:
- The engineer is qualified to carry out the gas job you’ve employed them to do
- Their qualifications are up-to-date
For more information on specific qualifications, please refer to our guide to the back of Gas Safe ID card.
As always, remember to ask to see the ID card of any Gas Safe registered engineer you employ to do gas work in your property.
WHAT TO DO IN AN EMERGENCY
Can you smell gas? Feeling ill – Headaches? Nausea? Dizziness?
Poorly fitted and serviced gas appliances can cause:
Gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning
Gas Emergency Contacts
If you smell gas then call the free 24-hour National Gas Emergency Helpline:
|Natural Gas (NG)
|Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)
|Towns Gas/Mains Gas**
|England, Wales and Scotland
|0800 111 999
|Contact number on bulk storage vessel or meter*
In a gas emergency you need to act quickly and take the following steps:
- Get fresh air immediately – open all doors and windows to ventilate the area.
- Switch off the appliance and gas pipe work by turning off the gas supply at the emergency control valve at the gas meter. Do not turn the gas supply on again until it has been checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
- Do not operate electrical switches; operating electrical equipment can ignite escaping gas.
- Extinguish all naked flames.
If you are feeling unwell visit your GP or hospital immediately and inform them that you may have been exposed to carbon monoxide.
Contact our Gas Safe registered engineer to check and fix the appliance.
BUYING A NEW HOME
Ensure your new property is Gas Safe
You can’t always be sure when the appliances and pipe work in your new property were last serviced and checked. Your vendor should be able to provide you with a Gas Safety Record showing that a suitably qualified Gas Safe registered engineer has checked the gas installation pipe work and appliances. If they’re unable to do this, you’ll need to contact a registered engineer to carry out checks before you move in. The engineer should be able to complete a record and provide it to the vendor so they can pass it onto you when you move into the property.
The infographic below is a handy guide which can help with any common queries regarding moving home and gas safety.
Always remember to have your appliances checked regularly – as the risks if you don’t include deadly carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, fires and explosions. If you need to find a registered engineer to carry out these checks, don’t forget you can do so online.
CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING – WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
You can’t see, taste or smell it but it can be deadly
What is CO poisoning?
Unsafe gas appliances can produce a highly poisonous gas called carbon monoxide (CO). It can cause death as well as serious long term health problems such as brain damage.
CO is produced by the incomplete burning of natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). This happens when a gas appliance has been incorrectly fitted, badly repaired or poorly maintained. It can also occur if flues, chimneys or vents are blocked.
Oil and solid fuels such as coal, wood, petrol and oil can also produce carbon monoxide.
CO poisoning occurs when you breathe in the gas and it replaces oxygen in your bloodstream. Without oxygen, your body tissue and cells die. Even small amounts of the gas can cause CO poisoning, and long term effects can include paralysis and brain damage.
Remember the six main symptoms to look out for:
- Headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse, loss of consciousness. Being aware of the symptoms could save your life
- CO symptoms are similar to those of flu, food poisoning, viral infections and fatigue. That’s why it’s quite common for people to mistake this very dangerous poisoning for something else.
Other signs that could point to CO poisoning:
- Your symptoms only occur when you are at home and seem to disappear when you leave home.
- Others in your household (including pets) are experiencing similar symptoms and they appear at a similar time.
What to do if you suspect CO poisoning?
Get fresh air immediately. Open doors and windows, turn off gas appliances and leave the house. See your doctor immediately or go to hospital – let them know that you suspect CO poisoning. They can do a blood or breath test to check.
If you think there is an immediate danger, call the Gas Emergency Helpline on 0800 111 999.
Ask our Gas Safe registered engineer to inspect your gas appliances and flues to see if there is a dangerous problem.
The warning signs of a CO leak
Any of the following could be a sign of CO in your home:
- Flames of a lazy yellow or orange colour on your gas hob, rather than being a crisp blue
- Dark staining on/around appliances
- Pilot lights that frequently blow out
- Increased condensation inside windows
Faulty appliances in your home can lead to CO poisoning. Get your gas appliances checked regularly to avoid this.
The benefits of having a CO alarm
An audible CO alarm will alert you to the presence of the poisonous gas in your home. Although no substitute for having your appliances serviced and checked regularly, fitting a CO alarm in your property is strongly recommended as a second line of defence against carbon monoxide poisoning.
Modern CO alarms are similar in design to smoke alarms (which do not detect CO) and can be purchased from around £15 at many major retail outlets including DIY stores and supermarkets. Before purchasing an alarm, make sure it is marked to EN 50291 and has the British Standards Kitemark or another European approval organisation’s mark on it. We do not recommend the use of ‘black spot detector’ warning strips – they are too easy to miss and won’t alert you if you have a CO leak when you’re asleep.
It’s advisable to fit an alarm in every room with a gas appliance, and when installing and siting the alarm make sure you refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. Typically, audible CO alarms have a battery life of up to 5 years. If you’re unsure which alarm to get, you can ask a Gas Safe registered engineer for advice.