When it comes to gas, safety is a top priority. Keeping up on gas safety checks and knowing what to look out for are crucial for ensuring that your home is safe from unwanted gas leaks. From hiring a professional to checking in regularly yourself, here is everything you need to know about gas safety checks.
What is a gas safety check and who is authorised to do one?
A gas check is a safety procedure in which a Gas Safe certified heating engineer assesses your home’s gas system and appliances to make sure that everything is working properly. A Gas Safe heating engineer will have been through an apprenticeship program and received a Gas Safe ID to prove that they are qualified to perform gas safety checks.
During the check, the Gas Safe engineer will make sure that ventilation passages are functioning correctly and are not blocked, that the safety devices in your gas system are working efficiently, that the system’s pressure is accurate, that all of the fittings are secured and without leaks, and that the gas leaving the home is clean and not harmful.
How often do you need to get a gas safety check?
Gas safety checks should be performed annually by a certified professional. If you’re renting your home, be sure to understand the agreement of your lease with respect to who is responsible for carrying out these annual checks.
According to the Gas Safety Installation and Use Regulations of 1998, landlords are required to obtain a gas safety certificate (CP12) every twelve months to ensure that their properties are gas safe. Some commercial properties, however, hold the tenant responsible for arranging annual gas safety checks after the first certificate expires.
If you’re a tenant, understand the responsibilities of your landlord and the details of your lease. If you bring any appliances into your home, for example, your landlord is legally responsible for checking the gas pipes leading into those appliances, but not the appliances themselves. Try to be present when a Gas Safe heating engineer does a safety check in your home so you can ask questions and know if anything doesn’t get looked at during the safety check.
Why is it so important to perform gas safety checks every year?
Carbon monoxide is a colourless and odourless gas that can be fatal. It is produced when gas or Liquid Petroleum Gas are not completely burned off, like in the case of a gas leak. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause brain damage or even death, so being cautious about gas leaks is one way to avoid these potential dangers.
Other dangers include explosions and harmful emissions into the air, all of which can be avoided by ensuring that gas appliances are functioning properly and are correctly fitted.
What else can you do to be extra cautious about gas in your home or commercial space?
Throughout the year, you can protect your home from gas leaks by knowing what to look for. Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, nausea, dizziness, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness. If you suspect there is carbon monoxide in your home, get fresh air immediately by opening doors and windows, turn off your gas appliances and leave the home. See a doctor right away, and call a professional Gas Safe heating engineer to inspect your home before returning.
Your home can also show signs of a carbon monoxide leak, including lazy yellow or orange flames on your cooker (rather than crisp and blue ones), dark staining on appliances, frequently blown out pilot lights, and increased condensation inside windows. The best detection method you can invest in – in conjunction with annual gas safety checks – is a carbon monoxide detector. This inexpensive device will alarm you if there is carbon monoxide in your home. Make sure it’s marked EN 50291 and is marked by a European approval standard.
By staying up-to-date on gas safety checks, repairing broken appliances and regularly servicing boilers, you can feel more confident that your home is safe from harmful gas leaks. Pay attention to warning signs and symptoms of dangerous leaks, and be sure that you are working with a Gas Safe engineer and asking him or her the questions you have about your home and appliances.
About the author: Dave Holliday is the owner of Watertite Plumbing in Bristol. Dave has helped many homeowners and landlords with their plumbing, boiler and gas safety checks. You can connect with Dave on Google+, Facebook and LinkedIn or call Watertite Plumbing and Heating on 01179 093 967.