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Gas Safety Week: Need-to-know info for homeowners and landlords

Looking after your gas appliances isn't only essential to keep them working efficiently over the long term, it's also crucial for safety reasons. Discover the best tips and tricks here.

Looking after your gas appliances isn’t only essential to keep them working efficiently over the long term, it’s also crucial for safety reasons.

Gas Safety Week is all about raising awareness on this very topic, ensuring homeowners and landlords are up-to-date on the latest tips and tricks.

Below, we explore everything you need to know about the 13th annual Gas Safety Week, share the best insights to prevent gas-related problems and answer some frequently asked questions.

What is Gas Safety Week?

Checking gas meter in Gas Safety Week

Gas Safety Week 2023, which is the 13th consecutive annual event of its kind, will take place between the 11th – 17th of September.

It’s an annual safety campaign organised by the Gas Safety Register, the UK’s official gas registration body that certifies and regulates gas contractors and engineers.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of gas safety issues and promote best practices for homeowners and professionals working in the field.

Their efforts lead to reduced gas-related safety incidents, like explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning, and more efficient and longer-lasting gas appliances, both of which directly benefit homeowners.

Some activities arranged by the Gas Safety Register include awareness campaigns, safety checks, events, collaborations and the distribution of educational resources.

What is a homeowner’s gas safety record?

Gas safe engineer checks a gas boiler

A homeowner’s gas safety record, or gas safety certificate, as it’s sometimes called, is a document confirming all gas appliances, flues and fittings in a rented property have been checked for safety by a Gas Safe registered engineer in the last 12 months.

These documents usually include:

  • Property details
  • Engineer’s name and registration number
  • Date of the check
  • Appliance or flue details
  • Safety issues identified
  • Actions taken/required

Most of the time, it’s landlords who are concerned with these documents, but regular homeowners may also have a gas safety record for their own peace of mind or as a best practice when selling their homes.

While it’s not a legal requirement for homeowners to have one, it is for landlords. Find out how much a gas safety certificate costs here.

If you’re a tenant looking for gas safety information and to better understand your rights, check out this gas safety guide for tenants.

How to recognise a gas emergency

Knowing how to recognise a gas emergency could be a lifesaver. Having your boiler inspected regularly is absolutely the best way to prevent a gas emergency, but in the unlikely event this fails, here are some tips for early detection and keeping you and your family safe:

Natural gas leak

  • Smell – Natural gas is odourless, but a strong-smelling substance is added to it for easy detection in case of a leak. You may have a leak if you smell an odour like rotten eggs.
  • Sound – Hissing or whistling noises near gas appliances are another potential sign of a leak.
  • Sight – If you see bubbles in standing water outside your home or unexplained dead or dying plants around the pipeline, this is another tell-tale sign.
  • Symptoms – Irregular breathing, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and headaches are all signs of natural gas exposure.
  • Gas usage – Unexplained increases in natural gas usage can also indicate a leak. Seasonal fluctuations are normal, but large unexplained increases aren’t.

If you notice one or a combination of these signs, evacuate immediately and do not use any electrical appliances that could cause a spark. Once you’re safely away from the home, call the National Gas Emergency Service.

Carbon monoxide – what is it, and how to detect and protect

A carbon monoxide leak is another serious gas emergency, and it’s more difficult for the senses to detect than natural gas, being colourless, odourless and tasteless.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a chemical compound produced as a byproduct of the combustion of fossil fuels. Having carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home is essential, as this is the only reliable way of keeping yourself safe.

In the unlikely event your carbon monoxide alarm detector fails, here are some ways to detect CO poisoning and what to do about it:

  • Smell – Unlike natural gas, carbon monoxide is odourless, hence its scary nickname, “the silent killer.” This means you must rely on other detection methods.
  • Symptoms – CO exposure can cause various symptoms, including headaches, nausea, breathlessness, dizziness and weakness. Late-stage symptoms include loss of consciousness, cherry-red skin colour and death.
  • Strange behaviour in pets – Animals acting sick or lethargic for no apparent reason can indicate carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Others feeling ill – If you notice these symptoms in others or everyone in a building is unexplainably sick, this could be a sign of CO poisoning.

If you experience one or a combination of these signs, get everyone out of the building immediately and contact the National Gas Emergency Service as soon as possible.

Also, be sure to check your carbon monoxide detectors monthly and replace them every six months. Here’s a guide on the cost of replacing CO detectors.

What are the new landlord rules for 2023?

Understanding your boiler and gas safety responsibilities as a landlord is vital.

There haven’t been any new gas safety rules issued for landlords as of yet, meaning you still need to follow the most recent legislation, such as the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998 and the Landlord and Tenant Act (1985).

Landlords must have gas appliances serviced as frequently as is stated by the manufacturer. This applies to all gas appliances owned by you, but not those owned by the tenant – besides the associated installation and pipework.

Landlords are also responsible for ensuring boilers are serviced annually and are safe for continued use.

FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most asked questions online about Gas Safety Week:

How often should a homeowner get a gas safety certificate?

Landlords arrange gas safety checks at least once a year, so it’s advisable to do the same if you’re looking to keep on top of your gas safety and maintain good records. This can not only give you peace of mind but help you if/when you decide to sell your home.

It’s a good idea to have all your gas appliances checked and serviced annually to keep them running safely and efficiently.

Do I need a gas certificate in my house?

Unless you’re a landlord, you don’t need one, but they are great to have. It’s a useful document for gas engineers working on your appliances, as it informs them about their servicing history.

It’s also great to have if you want to sell your home, as it confirms to prospective buyers that all installation work has been carried out safely and in compliance with regulations and that appliances are safe to use.

If you want to find a reputable gas safe registered engineer to book your next service with, enter your postcode into the search box below and connect with local contractors.

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