As homeowners, millions of us rely on our gas appliances to help us stay cosy during the colder months. Ensuring they’re 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 a Gas Safe registered 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.
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
Every household with gas appliances, such as a boiler, cooker or gas fire, should be fitted with an audible carbon monoxide alarm. Ensure the alarm is installed correctly to the manufacturer’s instructions. They’re relatively cheap but could prove to be a lifesaver.
Carbon monoxide has no smell or colour, so along with fitting a fully tested alarm, it could serve you well to learn the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, so you could spot the signs and protect your household.
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 consciousness, and death.
Ensure your appliances are fully ventilated
Your boiler and other gas appliances must be installed correctly by a qualified professional, with full ventilation.
This allows air to circulate freely and could stop potentially dangerous gases like carbon monoxide from entering your living space.
Proper ventilation includes leaving adequate space behind your boiler and making sure flues and vents are kept clear at all times.
Your HomeServe engineer will aim to check ventilation during an annual service, but it’s important that you keep an eye on them too, especially if you’re decorating or renovating your home.
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.
Get help from one of our expert engineers
All of HomeServe’s engineers are Gas Safe Registered. They each carry Gas Safe ID cards and are named on the Gas Safe register, so you can always check if they’re legitimate, trusted engineers.
Need someone to check your appliances, or fix a gas-related issue? Get in touch to book an appointment with one of our local experts, at a time that suits you.