Gas is the second most commonly used fuel in the UK after electricity, with almost two thirds of homes using gas for heating and cooking. We have created a guide below to ensure you are staying safe when using gas appliances at home.
Why can gas appliances be dangerous?
Even the slightest break in a gas appliance can potentially cause a gas leak, which although itself may not be poisonous, gas being extremely flammable can lead to a fire or explosion if not dealt with quickly.
The gas we use in our homes is colourless and has no smell. In order to help you identify when there is a gas leak, we add an artificial smell to the gas. If you ever get a hint of this smell, call your regional gas emergency number, and they’ll assist you with what to do next.
If a gas appliance hasn’t been installed or maintained correctly, it can prevent gas from burning properly, which can cause carbon monoxide to build up. Carbon monoxide has no smell or taste, which makes it fatal to anybody exposed to a large amount.
What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are not always obvious, particularly during low-level exposure.
A tension-type headache is the most common symptom of mild carbon monoxide poisoning. Other symptoms include: dizziness, feeling and being sick, tiredness and confusion, stomach pain, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. The symptoms of exposure to low levels of carbon monoxide can be similar to those of food poisoning and flu.
What to do if you suspect Carbon Monoxide poisoning
If you think you’ve been exposed to carbon monoxide, leave your property and seek medical advice from your GP. If you think you’ve been exposed to a lot of carbon monoxide, go to your local A&E immediately.
Carbon monoxide detectors for your home
Installing Carbon monoxide detectors in your home are the fastest way to prevent Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Carbon Monoxide detectors will alarm you when your sensor detects a build-up of carbon monoxide in your home—usually before you start sensing symptoms.
When choosing a carbon monoxide alarm, you should ideally check for a British or European approval mark, such as a kitemark.
If you are your property owner, you are responsible for installing carbon monoxide detectors. These should be tested every 3 months to ensure they’re working correctly. If you’re renting, you can ask your landlord to install them for you, although they’re not legally required to.
How can I book a gas safety check?
If you own your property, it’s a good idea to book a gas safety check every year. At a small price, a gas engineer will check over your carbon monoxide alarms, ventilation in your home, gas appliances and gas pipes, ensuring that everything is working safely and efficiently as it should be.