Gas Safety Week
One of the biggest awareness weeks in the plumbing and heating calendar is here - from 19th-25th September it is the annual Gas Safety Week! Organisations from across the UK are working together to ‘raise awareness of the dangers of poorly maintained gas appliances, which can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning’.
Gas safety is no new thing. News headlines often remind us of the perils of unsafe gas appliances, but all too often we have an ‘it will never happen to me’ attitude. You can assume the thousands of people across the UK each year who are diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning thought the same too. As did the thousands of homeowners who thought their gas fitter was working legally, to find out they have left them with unsafe boilers and cooking appliances. While gas explosions/fires are still a fairly rare occurrence, they are often deadly. Despite all the great leaps that have been made in CO and gas safety awareness, sadly the message is as important today as it ever was.
So what can you do? The first step to gas safety must be to find a qualified, GasSafe registered installer. You also need to double check they are qualified to do the work required, so give the engineer full details of what you need doing when you get in contact with them. You can further ensure the integrity and competence of your engineer by choosing a GasSafe engineer who is a CIPHE member too. You can visit www.gassaferegister.co.uk or www.ciphe.org.uk to find a professional engineer in your area.
If you are using a tradesperson via word of mouth or an advert, you can also verify the details of your engineer online – it’s always best to double check any professional qualifications and memberships before any work starts. Never feel embarrassed to ask, your engineer will be happy to provide you with any registration / membership numbers which show they are a professional tradesperson. Just visit www.gassaferegister.co.uk to check your engineer’s details. The CIPHE website has a similar tool to verify CIPHE members too.
Next you need to ensure your installer services your gas appliances regularly. The CIPHE advises yearly checks to ensure your boiler (or other gas appliance) is working effectively, efficiently and safely. Autumn is a great time to have any maintenance done before you need to turn those boilers back on for the winter ahead. Regular maintenance can go far to reducing the risk of expensive breakdowns, so it makes financial sense to keep your equipment in top working order.
You should also keep an eye out for any potential problems too. If you see any of the following you should stop using your gas appliance and call an engineer immediately:
- Yellow flames (a healthy gas flame should burn blue)
- Black smoke like marks on the appliance
- Excessive condensation in the room
You and your family need to protect yourselves against the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Buy a carbon monoxide alarm and make sure you test it regularly just as you would a smoke alarm. Become familiar with the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning and its causes. Symptoms will often feel like flu and improve when you are out of the building. It’s always better safe than sorry, so find a few moments to acquaint yourself with the effects of CO poisoning, it could just save your life.
To find out more follow @GasSafetyWeek on Twitter and check out https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/gassafetyweek/