10 tips to help you and your loved ones stay Gas Safe
September 16, 2020
Did you know that each year there are around 60 deaths from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in England and Wales?
In honour of ten years of Gas Safety Week, here are J Tomlinson’s top ten tips for keeping you and your loved ones gas safe:
Have your gas appliances checked annually
It is essential that all gas appliances are inspected and serviced on an annual basis.
During your gas safety check, the operative who visits you will check that your appliances are stable, securely installed, properly connected to gas pipes, suitable for the room they are situated in, and functioning as they should be. In addition, your gas engineer will ensure that all flues and chimneys are open and operating and that there is adequate air supply for your appliances.
Ensure your engineer is Gas Safe registered
The Gas Safe Register (formerly known as CORGI) is the UK’s official gas safety body. Any boiler engineer you use should be on the Gas Safe Register and carrying a card displaying the yellow Gas Safe Register triangle – not the orange CORGI registration badge.
Important information can be found on both sides of the ID card – below a checklist as to what you should be looking for. Remember – if your engineer does not or cannot show you a valid Gas Safe ID card, do not allow them to enter your property.
- The engineer’s photograph
- The company name
- The start and expiry date*
- A unique licence number
- The Gas Safe security hologram
*Important: Covid 19 and expired licences
The COVID-19 pandemic has prevented registered engineers to renew their gas safety qualifications. As such, registrations have been temporarily extended.
If your engineer’s ID card shows a job category which has expired on or from the 1 March 2020 and this type of work is due to be carried out at yours or a loved one’s property, you can check the engineer’s current registration status by using Gas Safe Register’s online Find and Check services. If you’d prefer, you can also do this for peace of mind – even if both the card and engineer seem legitimate.
… and report them if they’re not.
If your engineer still has a CORGI card or they refuse to show you their card, chances are they are not registered, and as a result will not legally be able to carry out gas work in your home. If they do, you run the risk of the warranty on your gas appliances and/or home insurance becoming invalid.
It is important to report any suspicious individuals to the Gas Safe Register to help keep yourself, your loved ones and others safe. Here’s how to make a complaint or report a suspected illegal gas worker.
Recognise the signs of CO poisoning
Knowing the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning can save lives. The main symptoms to watch out for are:
- Tension-type headaches
- Loss of consciousness
- Stomach pain
It’s also worth noting that if your symptoms are less severe when you’re away from the source of the carbon monoxide (e.g. outside, away from home, at work), CO poisoning may be the culprit.
Check appliances if you move home
Recently moved? It can be tempting to assume that the gas appliances in your new home are running as they should, but it pays to be certain by having everything checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
Know what to do if you suspect CO poisoning
If you suspect that you or someone you love has carbon monoxide poisoning, extinguish any naked flames and switch off gas appliances before immediately seeing your doctor or visiting the hospital. You should also call the Gas Emergency Helpline on 0800 111 999.
Remember – even if you’re not 100% sure, it’s always, always, always better to be safe than sorry.
Understand the warning signs of a faulty gas appliance
According to the Gas Safe Register, 1 in 5 homes in the UK contain unsafe gas appliances.
What are the key signs of a faulty gas appliance?
A faulty gas appliance can be life-threatening, with risks including gas leaks, explosions, fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. If any of your gas-powered appliances are displaying any of the following signs of malfunction, get in touch with a Gas Safe engineer immediately:
- Flames – the flame should be a crisp, bright blue – not yellow or orange
- Dark scorch marks or stains around the appliance
- Damaged, discoloured or rusty pipework
- You’re experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning (which often ease when you’re away from the property in question – see tip 4)
- It’s not working properly – the property may not feel as warm as it usually does, or there may be strange noises coming from your boiler
- The pilot light keeps going out
- Excessive condensation on the windows
Install a carbon monoxide detector
You may have heard carbon monoxide (CO) referred to as a ‘silent killer’; this is because CO gas is colourless, odourless and tasteless.
A carbon monoxide alarm can alert you to the presence of dangerous CO levels in your home. You can purchase an audible CO alarm for as little as £20 – before you do, ensure the device is marked EN 50291 and that it displays the British Standards’ Kitemark.
Where should I install my CO alarm?
Place a detector in every room that contains a gas appliance, OR in a central location such as a hallway or landing. Ensure it is fitted in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, and that it is not behind doors, curtains, furniture, or any other potential CO detection barriers.
Win a CO alarm!
… and test it regularly!
Test your carbon monoxide detector regularly, including when clocks are adjusted for daylight saving time. Replace dead batteries when necessary, and replace the alarm itself when it expires (this will be indicated in the manufacturer’s instructions).
Spread the word
Spreading awareness of gas safety is crucial to helping keep ourselves, our loved ones and our communities safe.
The Gas Safe Register offers a wide range of free materials designed to help keep our nation gas safe. From factsheets for carers to children’s activities, there are resources for all ages. Visit the Gas Safe Register website to find out more
J Tomlinson, which was founded in Nottingham the 1950s, works primarily across the Midlands, Yorkshire and Northern and Central England.
The company provides a range of sustainable building solutions including refurbishment, repairs and maintenance, engineering services, extra care construction, renewable energy, and facilities management, working across a range of key sectors including extra care, healthcare, blue light, social housing and local government.