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Badly fitted, damaged, poorly serviced or faulty gas appliances can put you at risk of gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning. It is important to know what steps you can take to stay safe in your home.

Gas appliances should be serviced regularly but if you notice any of the warning signs below you should arrange for a Gas Safe registered engineer to service your appliance as soon as possible.

Signs that your appliances need servicing:

  • Your gas appliance is not working properly
  • Your appliance is burning with a lazy yellow flame instead of a crisp blue flame
  • You can see black marks or stains on or around your gas appliances
  • The pilot light keeps going out
  • There is increased condensation in the room
  • Damage or signs of corrosion on gas pipework, such as rusting or green discolouration

Carbon monoxide:

Badly fitted or poorly maintained gas appliances can produce a highly poisonous gas called carbon monoxide (CO) which can leak into your home. You can’t see it, taste it or smell it but it can be deadly or cause serious long term health problems such as brain damage.

Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms are similar to flu, food poisoning, viral infections and tiredness. It is common for people to mistake this very dangerous poisoning for something else. The six main symptoms to look out for are:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Breathlessness
  • Collapse
  • Loss of consciousness

It’s a good idea to fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm in your home, which will alert you to the presence of any carbon monoxide in the air.

What to do in an emergency:

If you smell gas or start feeling ill when gas appliances are in use, it is important to act quickly.

  • Get fresh air immediately. Open all doors and windows to ventilate the room
  • Switch off the appliance and do not use it again until it has been checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer
  • Turn off the gas supply at the mains
  • Call the National Gas Emergency number 0800 111 999
  • If you are feeling ill visit your GP or the hospital immediately and tell them that your symptoms may be related to carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Contact a Gas Safe registered engineer to check and fix the appliance.

Having a gas safety check:

All of your gas appliances, including your gas boiler, gas cooker and gas fire should be safety checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer, ideally once a year.

A gas safety check involves a Gas Safe registered engineer inspecting your gas appliances. They will check the appliance is working correctly and will check the following four areas:

  • Gas appliances are on the right setting and burning correctly with the correct operating pressure
  • Harmful gases are being removed from the appliance safely to the air outside
  • That any ventilation routes are clear and working properly
  • All the safety devices are working
  • The check will identify any defects which require repair work.

Repairs – what are the landlord’s responsibilities?

Your landlord is generally responsible for keeping in repair water and gas pipes, electrical wiring, water tanks, boilers, radiators, gas fires, fitted electric fires or fitted heaters. Your landlord only has to make repairs when they know there’s a problem – so make sure you tell them about any repairs that are needed.

For more advice please visit Citizens Advice – Reponsibilities of Landlords

Other Helpful Links:

Gas Safe register link

gassaferegister.co.uk/find-an-engineer

Only qualified gas safe engineers should carry out repairs, it is not a DIY job.

Get a CO detector and follow manufacturers guidance when fitting it. Test every month.

If you boiler is condemned and you are on certain benefits or allowances you might qualify for grant-funding.

Please contact the Footprint Trust for current details. www.footprint-trust.co.uk  

ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/care/housing-options/home-safety/fire-prevention-gas-safety-and-electric-safety