Gas Safety Advice – Do you know where to turn off the gas supply in your home? If not, it’s a good idea to find out!
Suspect a gas leak?
If you suspect there is a gas leak you should immediately do the following:
- open all the doors and windows
- shut off the gas supply at the meter control valve (if you know where it is)
The problem – Carbon Mononxide
Every year about 50 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues which have not been properly installed or maintained. Many others also suffer ill health. When gas does not burn properly, as with other fuels such as coal, wood or oil, excess carbon monoxide is produced, which is poisonous.
You can’t see it. You can’t taste it. You can’t even smell it. But carbon monoxide can kill without warning in just a matter of hours.
You are particularly at risk when you are asleep because you cannot recognise the early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. These include tiredness, drowsiness, headache, nausea, pains in the chest and stomach pains. These symptoms can mimic many common ailments and may easily be confused with flu or simple tiredness.
If you or your family experience the above symptoms, and you believe carbon monoxide may be involved, you must seek urgent medical advice. Your doctor will need to test a blood or breath sample. Carbon monoxide quickly leaves the blood and tests may be inaccurate if taken more than four hours after exposure has ended.
You are at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if:
- your appliance was poorly installed;
- your appliance is not working properly;
- your appliance has not been checked for safety or maintained regularly;
- there is not enough fresh air in the room;
- your chimney or flue gets blocked up;
- you allow an engineer who is not on the Gas Safe Register to install or maintain your appliance(s).
There is a particular risk if you sleep in a room where an appliance that is not of the room-sealed type (eg a conventional gas fire) is left burning at night. (Flue outlets for room-sealed appliances are commonly located on an external wall at a low level protected by a cage rather than at or above roof level.)It is illegal for anyone to use a gas appliance if they suspect it is unsafe. Turn the appliance off and do not touch it until it has been checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
Gas Safety Guidelines
NEVER use a gas appliance if you think it is not working properly. Signs to look out for include yellow or orange flames (except for fuel-effect fires which display this colour flame), soot or stains around the appliance and pilot lights which frequently blow out.
NEVER cover an appliance or block the convection air vents.
NEVER block or obstruct any fixed ventilation grilles or air bricks.
NEVER block or cover outside flues.
CAUTION Whenever draught exclusion, ceiling or extraction fans, double glazing or conservatory extensions are fitted to a room containing a gas appliance, the appliance should subsequently be checked for safety.
Gas appliances. Get them checked. Keep them safe. Ocean carries out annual gas checks on your property. You will be notified when you are due a check.
Carbon Monoxide Alarms
They are a useful back-up precaution but must NOT be regarded as a substitute for proper installation and maintenance of gas equipment by a Gas Safe registered engineer. If you decide to buy a carbon monoxide alarm, ensure it meets current safety standards (BS EN 50291) and carries the Kitemark. If in doubt ask a member of staff for advice. Always follow the manufacturer’s siting instructions.
This information is an excerpt from The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) leaflet with more information about Gas Safety. Please click here to read on.