While September holds Gas Safety Week as a national reminder of safety and an attempt to raise awareness of safety tips, it is important to be mindful during the whole year. In the United Kingdom, twenty-three million properties are gas-fuelled. Cooking, heating, and hot water all use gas. It is especially disturbing, then, to know that as recently as 2009, gas fitters numbering 7,500 have been registered for operating illegally in the UK. And in 2011, Gas Safety Week reported 43% of Britons overlooking an annual check of gas appliances.
In 2015, there were over 700,000 incidents registered as caused by gas appliances that were unsafe. Gas leaks, explosions, fires, and poisoning by carbon monoxide can be the results when gas appliances are poorly fitted. This is why they should be checked annually. For safety’s sake, have them checked soon if it is has been a while between examinations. This and other tips will help you maintain gas safety.
Annual Gas Appliance Check
First, again, the annual check of gas appliances is vital. There should be a gas safety check including a flue or chimney, looking at safety devices, and examining gas appliances to see if they are properly burning gas. All safety checks include a tightness test carried out on the pipework so that you can be confident there is no gas leakage; a visual inspection is also part, that is completed to ensure the good condition of the installation of pipework.
As a tenant, you have the legally backed right to ask a landlord for the copy of the property’s gas safety record. This certificate guarantees that gas fittings have been checked and meet the standards of national safety. This knowledge is important to hold, so be sure to ask.
Gas Safe Engineers
While having the annual check, be sure that the engineer is Gas Safe registered. Only such an engineer is legally able to fix, fit, and service appliances that use gas. The UK has only one gas safety body that is official, and you can find an engineer registered by Gas Safe at gassaferegister.co.uk by company name, postcode, or by service area.
To do this, you can ask to see the Gas Safe ID of your engineer. This card holds all the necessary details on its back. The details include the kinds of gas work that a certified gas engineer can do according to their qualifications. Each ID card also bears the holder’s unique license number, giving information about the range of qualifications.
Know the Signs of Dangerous Appliances
In addition to this annual check, be aware of the signs that warn you a gas appliance is not working as it ought to. These include excessive condensation, lazy yellow flames, and black stains or marks. Awareness of these signs is, of course, in addition to having the annual check completed. Gas appliances can still be unsafe without a display of any of these signs.
Know the Signs of Gas Leaks
Because pipes or appliances that are powered with natural gas are capable of developing leaks that can have negative effects, it is important to identify symptoms of natural gas leaks. Look for a sulphurous, rotten egg smell, first. Because natural gas is colourless and odourless, to make it safer and easier to detect leaks, gas companies add in odourants. These chemicals have a sulphur or rotten egg odour. The stronger the smell that you detect, the greater the likelihood that you have a leak.
Your nose isn’t the only sensory organ that should be on alert for natural gas signs. Your ears should be aware of any hissing sounds. Pipes or appliances with large gas leaks can produce a hissing noise, even when the appliance is powered off. Check regularly for such sounds.
Be on the lookout for a couple of signs outside your home, as well. Air bubbles can occur when a leak in underground piping is dispersing gas through the soil and into puddles or mud; there the bubbles suggest something amiss. Plants that are dead, stunted, or dying are also a warning sign, particularly if you normally take proper care of them. Natural gas is known to prevent the roots of a plant from absorbing oxygen. Natural gas leaks are also responsible for trees with smaller than normal leaves, plants that are wilted, and yellowed grasses.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Know, also, the symptoms of poisoning by carbon monoxide. These include headaches, nausea, dizziness, collapse, breathlessness, and finally, loss of consciousness. Breathing in low levels of the gas can result in lesser symptoms that include headaches, fatigue, and irregular breathing. Full out poisoning has more severe headaches, fatigue, loss of concentration, memory problems, and eventually, suffocation. Carbon monoxide robs the organs and brain of necessary oxygen for proper functioning. Sickness and incapacitation can follow very quickly. When these symptoms are present, contact a physician as soon as possible.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
A device for the detection of carbon monoxide works similar to a smoke detector. It measures the amount of the gas in the air, rather than the presence of smoke. Choose an audible alarm that is marked EN 50291 to install near your gas appliances. Alarms form a strong line of defence against poisoning.
Do Not Misuse Appliances
Only use a gas appliance in the way it was meant to be used. For example, do not use an oven or cooker for heating rooms. This can harm the appliance as well as releasing gas into the air. Also, ensure sufficient ventilation is provided for the proper burning of gas appliances. Air vents and chimneys should not be blocked.
Most people rely on gas appliances for basic needs such as providing hot water, cooking food, and heating homes. These safety tips will ensure that appliances are maintained in good condition and in safe working order. Keep the gas emergency number handy to report an emergency with gas or carbon monoxide. You can dial 0800 111 999 twenty-four hours a day if you need to.
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