When the heat of summer fades, we find ourselves relying more on gas to warm our homes again.

Any household that uses gas needs to be aware of the potential dangers that come with gas appliances that are fitted incorrectly, faulty or poorly maintained. Those dangers being — potential carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, fires or even explosions.

The importance of gas safety

So, what does it mean to be ‘gas safe’? Well, our homes rely on gas for a number of things. Boilers use gas to rapidly heat water that’s sent to connected radiators, showers, and taps.

Elsewhere, our washing machines and dishwashers need hot water to get things clean. And our gas ovens fire up to cook food whenever we need it. So you see, gas is a powerful feature of the home that should be treated with care and respect.

Household appliances that we use for heating and cooking, if not fitted correctly, can produce carbon monoxide, or gas leaks. Likewise, if they’re faulty or poorly maintained. These appliances include:

  • Gas boilers
  • Gas cookers 
  • Gas or paraffin heaters
  • Wood, gas and coal fires
  • Portable generators

Therefore, anyone installing or fixing a gas appliance, or installing, fixing or servicing a boiler must be Gas Safe registered. All of Domestic & General’s expert engineers are Gas Safe registered.

About the Gas Safe Register

The Gas Safe Register is the only official gas registration body for gas businesses and engineers in the United Kingdom. By law, all gas businesses and their engineers must be on the Gas Safe Register. A gas engineer can only carry out gas work if they hold a valid and current Gas Safe qualification.

It’s easy to find a Gas Safe registered engineer close to you, for either domestic or commercial use. Just visit the Gas Safe Register website and search using your postcode, town or city.

How to stay gas safe in the home

Here are a few tips on how to stay gas safe in your home:

  1. Get an annual gas safety check
    Choose a Gas Safe registered engineer to check all gas appliances in your property once a year — or ask your landlord to arrange it
  2. Look out for problems with your appliances
    Floppy yellow flames, extra condensation and black marks around the appliance are warning signs of a gas leak
  3. Know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning
    These include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and breathlessness — or loss of consciousness
  4. Buy an audible carbon monoxide alarm
    Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing the alarm
  5. Make sure you have proper ventilation
    This is essential for gas appliances to burn properly, so check that no air vents or chimneys are blocked

Always check your Gas Safe engineer’s card to prove they’re legitimate.

You’ll find more information and gas safety tips on the Gas Safe Register website.

What to do if you suspect a gas leak

If you think you might have a gas leak:

  • Open all windows and doors to let fresh air in
  • Turn off the gas at the mains tap, (it’s usually near the meter) by moving the handle a quarter turn until it's at 90 degrees from the pipe
  • Leave the property and call the National Gas Emergencies number on 0800 111 999

Remember to only use your mobile once you’re outside. The number is free and available 24 hours a day. Follow the advice given by the emergency adviser. They’ll send a gas engineer to check for any leaks. If you’re feeling unwell, visit your GP or a hospital immediately.

Things you shouldn’t do:

  • Smoke, light a match or use any other naked flame
  • Turn any electrical switches on or off
  • Use doorbells, mobile phones or any other electrical switches inside your home, which could cause a spark

Landlords and gas safety responsibilities

When it comes to gas safety, government regulations state that landlords are legally responsible for the safety of their tenants.

By law they must:

  • Make sure any gas equipment they supply is safely installed and maintained by a Gas Safe registered engineer
  • Have a registered engineer do an annual gas safety check on each appliance and flue
  • Give you a copy of the gas safety check record before you move in, or within 28 days of the check

Tenants should also be informed about their responsibilities for as long as they’re staying in the property.