Staying safe around gas
What do I need to know about safety?
Gas is a safe, efficient and easy way to meet your energy needs, but it can also be potentially dangerous if it is not treated with respect. Not following this simple principle may endanger others as well as yourself. Here are a few safety tips for staying stay safe around gas:
- ensure only competent people work on your gas appliances and never attempt this yourself. Have all gas appliances serviced regularly - at least once a year.
- keep all appliances clean and never leave anything that is cooking unattended for prolonged periods.
- keep all combustible material away from gas appliances.
- make sure there is adequate ventilation around your gas appliances and never block any vents that may be necessary for the safe operation of your appliances.
- most gas appliances have flues designed to safely carry away the products of combustion. These should never be obstructed.
- familiarise yourself with what to do in a gas emergency and who your retailer and network provider is. Keep their telephone numbers handy in case you need them at short notice.
- when undertaking any excavation work, always try to identify the route of any services that supply your house to avoid damaging them.
Fixing gas problems around the house
Gas is potentially dangerous if it is not used carefully, a leak occurs or an appliance is faulty.
All appliances should be safety checked and properly maintained. Do not try to investigate the problem or fix a leak/faulty appliance yourself.
Gas is odourised with a highly distinctive odourant which is injected into the gas as it leaves production facility or enters the pipeline. A gas leak will normally be detected through this odour, and sometimes a hissing noise may occur at the leak source.
Carbon monoxide can be generated when gas appliances are not installed correctly, are badly maintained or poorly ventilated. Carbon monoxide is especially dangerous as you cannot see, smell or taste it. But there telltale signs that an appliance (fires, heaters, central heating boilers, water heaters or cookers) may be not be working properly. These include:
- a black, brown or scorched area on an appliance
- a musty smell or signs of soot
- more condensation than normal on windows
To keep your house safe and check for the presence of carbon monoxide, you can use a carbon monoxide detector. These sense carbon monoxide in the air, and change colour or set off an alarm to warn you. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include headaches, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, diarrhoea, stomach and chest pain.
What to do in an emergency
If you smell gas or think that you may have a gas leak somewhere, contact your retailer or network provider immediately. Refer to your gas bill, the telephone directory or go to our list of retailers and network companies.
- open your windows and doors to let air in
- ensure all gas appliances are turned off
- turn the gas off at your mains where possible
- do not turn lights on or off and avoid using other electrical switches and appliances
- do not smoke or light a match
- extinguish any other naked flames.
- do not try to investigate the problem or fix a leak/faulty appliance yourself.
Your network provider may occasionally have to interrupt the supply of gas to your property. Reasons for this can include network capacity constraints, high system demands, testing and other emergency situations.
Other sources of safety information
To find an appliance repairer, or more information on gas safety, check your telephone directory or these links: