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 so 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’ve listed the following simple tips to help 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.
Service your gas appliances (including your boiler)
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 them to carry out a tightness test of your gas installation, the test will determine if you have any gas leaks in the house.
Think you could have a gas leak?
Call the National Gas Emergency Service Provider (ESP) immediately on: 0800 111 999 (it’s free to call)
Deaf and deafened people using a textphone (Minicom) should dial 0800 371 787 in an emergency.
It doesn’t matter what time of day or night you ring – they have trained operators working round-the-clock waiting to take your call.
You can also take a look at our guide on how to deal with a gas leak.
Always use an approved engineer
All of HomeServe’s engineers are Gas Safe Registered and you can book an appointment with one of our local experts at a time that suits you.
Remember: Always ask to see an engineer’s 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.
Install a carbon monoxide (CO) 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.
What is carbon monoxide or CO?
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.
Ventilation is vital
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.
Only use appliances for their intended use; a cooker should not be used to heat a room.
For more gas safety advice, take a look at the Gas Safety Register website.