Every year millions of households put themselves at risk by not having their gas appliances regularly safety checked, or by failing to install a carbon monoxide alarm.
This year’s Gas Safety Week, which runs from September 17-23, aims to raise awareness of the dangers of poorly maintained gas appliances, which can cause fires, explosions, gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Here, we look at the steps you should take to ensure your home is safe, whether you’re a homeowner, landlord or tenant.
If you own your own property, there are several checks you should do every year to make sure your home, and any gas appliances you use, are working correctly.
• Make sure you have any gas appliances serviced and safety-checked annually by a registered ‘Gas Safe’ engineer. Their ID card should show the qualifications they have, and you can double-check whether they are ‘Gas Safe’ registered at www.gassaferegister.co.uk or by telephoning 0800 408 5500.
• Keep a close eye on your gas appliances to check they are working properly. According to research by the Gas Safe Register, a third of adults don’t know what the signs of an unsafe gas appliance are. If you notice black marks around any gas appliances you have, or that gas flames are yellow or orange rather than blue, these could be indicators your appliances aren’t working correctly.
• Swot up on carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms. If you feel dizzy, have headaches or feel breathless or nauseous, these could be signs that you have carbon monoxide poisoning and you should seek medical help immediately. Fit a carbon monoxide alarm which will alert you if there is carbon monoxide in your property.
As a landlord, you have legal obligations to your tenants when it comes to maintaining gas appliances and ensuring they are safe.
• You must repair and maintain any gas pipework, flues and appliances and ensure they are in a safe condition
• Each appliance and flue must have an annual safety check by a ‘Gas Safe’ registered engineer. You must keep careful records of these safety checks which should include a description of each appliance or flue checked, who carried it out, the date on which it was done, and if there were any defects identified and repaired. Copies of the record must be kept for at least two years.
• Tenants must be given a copy of the Gas Safety Record within 28 days of the check being carried out, or to any new tenant prior to them moving in.
It’s also a good idea to check that your tenants know where and how to turn the gas off and what to do in the event of a gas emergency.
Your landlord is legally responsible for gas safety in the property you are renting, but not for any gas appliances you personally own.
• Make sure your landlord shows you the Gas Safety Record for the property you are living in. Gas safety checks should be arranged by your landlord every 12 months by a ‘Gas Safe’ Registered engineer.
• If you have your own gas appliances, get these checked annually too. You may be able to ask the ‘Gas Safe’ engineer sent by your landlord to check them, but you may have to cover the cost of this yourself.
• Check that there are smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms in the property. Private sector landlords are required to have at least 1 smoke alarm on every storey of their properties and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (such as a coal fire or wood burning stove).
Are you ready for Gas Safety week?