As Gas Safe Registered engineers, we have a responsibility to ensure the safety of gas appliances within the home. But we are also here to provide advice and support too. Below are a few things that we are regularly asked about and which you might find useful:
Gas safety in the home
Only use a Gas Safe registered engineer to fit, fix or service your gas appliances, including your:
- gas boiler
- gas fire, gas cooker or hob
- central heating system radiators or your hot water system, if they are connected to either a Natural Gas or LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) supply
Always check the engineer's Gas Safe Register ID card
All Gas Safe registered engineers carry a Gas Safe Register ID card, with their own unique licence number, showing the type of work they are qualified to do.
Get your appliances regularly serviced and safety checked every year, or in accordance with your manufacturer's guidelines, by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
Your Gas Safe registered engineer will carry out tests and checks to establish your appliances are operating safely. Where an appliance or pipework has been installed in an unsafe way, or is operating unsafely and the engineer can not rectify the situation immediately, they will follow the guidance outlined in the Gas Industry Unsafe Situations Procedure (GIUSP) to make the installation safe. This is the industry accepted document for guiding engineers on dealing with unsafe situations.
Fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm.
An alarm will alert you to the presence of the poisonous gas carbon monoxide, produced by unsafe gas appliances. Make sure you know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
If you think there might be a gas leak or notice any signs of carbon monoxide, act fast and follow the advice for gas emergencies.
Source: Gas Safe Register
Spotting the good, the bad and the downright dodgy
We’ve all seen the ‘Rogue Traders’ on TV, but how can you spot them in real life?
Well we’ve put together a list of things that we hope will help you identify and avoid them:
- check that they belong to the trade associations they say they do. For example if they say they’re Gas Safe Registered (formally Corgi) then check it out:
- make sure they are definitely qualified to do the job. If the work is gas related then you can check what work they are qualified to undertake by having a quick look here and entering their registration number.
- always ask for photo identification when they come to your house. If they’re Gas Safe Registered they must carry photo identification. An example of which you can see here.
- always try to ask for references and/or testimonials
- have a list of questions ready to ask your tradesman
- be wary of tradesmen who will only accept cash as a payment method
- for larger jobs try to agree a payment schedule
- always obtain a couple of quotes to ensure you’re getting value for money
- ensure you get an invoice with all the company information on it
- always request a quote for the larger jobs and try to agree a schedule of works
- never feel pressurised into making any agreements
- never pay anything upfront – any agreed deposits should be paid on the first day of work and not before!
Once you’re ‘Fired Up’ don’t lose your energy!
In these credit-crunching days of ‘living the dream and keeping it green’, retaining the energy within your home has both economical as well as environmental benefits. But how can you limit the energy loss from your home?
Fired Up top tips for keeping your energy topped up:
- install a high efficiency, condensing boiler – see www.boilers.org.uk to find out what the efficiency ratings are for boilers currently on the market
- install a good programmer that will manage your central heating system in accordance with your lifestyle
- ensure your hot water pipes are lagged to reduce heat loss
- ensure your roof cavity / loft is well insulated
- treat your hot water cylinder to its own insulated jacket and retain the heat
- fit radiator thermostats so you can adjust the temperature for each room – why over-heat rooms you don’t use as much?
- don’t lose water through something simple like a dripping tap (especially hot taps) – change the washers or fit a new tap for those persistent leaks
- listen out for an over-filling toilet and check for leaks
- make sure your water cylinder isn’t hotter than is really necessary
- look out for any leaking pipes or use your water meter to check you’re not using more water than expected
- install a shower rather than just relying on a bath
- choose a low-flush toilet cistern next time you replace your toilet
- try replacing free-flowing taps with spray taps to reduce your water usage
What should I do if I smell gas?
You must act quickly!
- open all doors and windows to ventilate the room and get fresh air into the area immediately
- switch off the appliance and do not reuse until it has been checked by a Gas Safe Registered engineer
- shut off the gas supply at the mains (if you know where this is and are able to)
- call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999
- visit your GP or the hospital immediately and tell them that you believe your symptoms may be related to carbon monoxide poisoning
- contact a Gas Safe Registered engineer to carry out the necessary repairs to the appliance.
When you speak to the National Gas Emergency Service (0800 111 999) - they will ask you a series of questions in order that they can provide the right safety advice for the current situation.
For further details on their service you can visit the National Grid website.
What should I do if I have a water leak?
The first thing you should do is locate your stop-cock and turn off the water coming into the house. Initially you may still have water leaking, but this will only be the water already in your system rather than a continual stream of new water entering the property.
You should then call your local plumber so they can investigate and repair the problem.
How can I check my heating engineer is qualified to do the job?
- always ask your heating engineer to show you their Gas Safe (formally CORGI) identification card as it will detail what work they are qualified to undertake
- if you’re concerned about whether the card is legitimate, then make a note of their registration number and visit the Gas Safe Register website here where you can validate it selecting either the option to check an engineering or their business.
- alternatively you can call Gas Safe to check a number on 0800 408 5500.
Why should I consider installing a high efficiency boiler?
Not only can it reduce the carbon emissions from your home, but it can also reduce your annual heating costs.
For more detailed advice on this you can visit the Energy Saving Trust website.
How can I keep my plumbing and heating call-out charges down?
There are a number of ways you can keep your bills down so here are a few ideas:
- keep your system regularly serviced and avoid costly, time consuming breakdown and repair visits
- clear the area where your plumber will be working before they arrive – why pay for the tradesman to move things when you could save both time and money by doing this yourself
- if you’ve called out your plumber and the job ends up only taking ten minutes, why not make use of the time they’re with you and get value for money: ask them to take a look at the leaking tap that’s been bothering you, or get them to bleed the radiators while they’re there.
What is my gas safety responsibility as a landlord?
If you let a property equipped with gas appliances you have three main responsibilities:
pipework, appliances and flues must be maintained in a safe condition. Gas appliances should be serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If these are not available it is recommended that they are serviced annually unless advised otherwise by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
Gas safety checks:
a 12 monthly gas safety check must be carried out on every gas appliance/flue. A gas safety check will make sure gas fittings and appliances are safe to use.
a record of the annual gas safety check must be provided to your tenant within 28 days of the check being completed or to new tenants before they move in. Landlords must keep copies of the gas safety record for two years.
Source: Gas Safe Register