Gas safety - Home owners

What should I do if I suspect an appliance is unsafe?

It is illegal for anyone to use a gas appliance if they suspect it is unsafe. Turn the appliance off and do not touch it until it has been checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

If you suspect there is a gas leak you should immediately do the following:

  • Call National Grid's Gas Emergency Freephone number: 0800 111 999
  • Open all the doors and windows
  • Shut off the gas supply at the meter control valve (if you know where it is)

What maintenance needs to be carried out on my gas appliances?

HSE strongly advises that all gas appliances, flues and pipework should be installed, regularly maintained and serviced at least annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Do I have to use a Gas Safe registered engineer to complete gas work?

Anyone employed to work on gas appliances in domestic premises must be a Gas Safe registered engineer and competent in that area of gas work. The gas engineer's competencies are clearly marked on the back of the engineer's Gas Safe Register ID card. If in any doubt you can ring Gas Safe Register 0800 408 5500 or check their website to see if the engineer is registered.

Does HSE recommend the use of CO alarms?

HSE strongly recommends the use of CO alarms as one useful precaution to give advance warning of CO in a property. Importantly alarms should not be regarded as a replacement for regular maintenance and safety checks by a Gas Safe registered engineer. CO alarms cost from £15 and can be purchased in most hardware shops. Before purchasing a CO alarm, always ensure it complies with British Standard EN 50291 and carries a British or European approval mark, such as a Kitemark. CO alarms should be installed and maintained in line with the manufacturer's instructions

What if I have shared ownership of my property with another housing company?

If you have shared ownership of your property and the lease is for longer than 7 years the housing company does not have landlord's duties under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 (GS(IU)R 98). In this situation you would have the same responsibilities as a homeowner.

In situations where a lease is shorter than 7 years then the housing company would be classified as a landlord under GS(IU)R 98. The contract between you and the housing company should clearly state who is responsible for the associated duties for domestic gas safety.

My neighbour is having an extension built and it may affect the safety of my appliance's flue. What should I do?

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and Building Regulations require flues to be installed in a safe position at specified distances from the boundary, however there might be installations that do not comply but still operate safely. Ideally neighbours, builders and householders should consider this issue and consult before commencing work. The Department of Communities and Local Government has published an explanatory booklet on this offering more advice. If you are still concerned then get a Gas Safe registered engineer to examine the flue.

What can I do if I cannot afford to have regular service and maintenance on my appliances?

Every year around 7 people die from gas-related carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. HSE strongly advises that gas appliances and/or flues are regularly checked for safety at least once every 12 months.

Can a room containing a gas appliance still be used as a bedroom?

Since 31 October 1998, any room converted to use as sleeping accommodation should not contain the following types of gas appliances:

  1. A gas fire, gas space heater or a gas water heater (including a gas boiler) over 14 kilowatts gross input unless it is room sealed.
  2. A gas fire, gas space heater, or a gas water heater (including a gas boiler) of 14 kilowatts gross input or less or any instantaneous water heater unless it is room sealed or has an atmosphere-sensing device.

If a room contains one or more of the above appliances and was used as a bedroom prior to 1998 then you will need to do a risk assessment to determine if it can still be used as a bedroom. If you are unsure of the safety of any gas appliance you should get a Gas Safe registered engineer to check it for you.

What support is available to help me understand the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998?

Free leaflets explaining some general gas safety information are available from HSE.

HSE runs a free Gas Safety Advice Line offering  information  on gas safety that is open between   9.00am and 5 .30 pm Monday to  Thursday and 9.00am to 5.00pm on Friday (excluding bank holidays). To contact the Gas Safety Advice Line freephone 0800 300 363.

How will the Gas Safe Register affect me?

The Gas Safe Register is focused exclusively on gas safety.  One benefit for consumers is the fresh impetus on consumer gas safety through new initiatives to raise public awareness of the risks and how to manage them  Consumers can use the 'Find an engineer' or 'Check an Engineer' service through the Gas Safe Register website to ensure that their engineer is registered and competent to do the work.

There will be a new risk-based system to inspect work undertaken by gas engineers. This will target unsafe gas work thereby providing greater assurance that engaging a registered engineer will deliver safe gas work.

Will it cost me more to get my boiler and other gas appliances checked/ maintained?

The cost of registration is only a small element of the bill you pay but the Gas Safe Register is committed to  reducing costs associated with the gas engineer registration scheme.

How can I find a local Gas Safe registered engineer?

The Gas Safe Register website has a 'Find an Engineer' service where you can find a local registered engineer simply by inputting your postcode. Alternatively consumers can call the freefone helpline on 0800 408 5500.

Consumers can also check that the engineer who has come to undertake the work is the engineer the 'found' on the website through the 'Check an Engineer' service on the Gas Safe Register website.  By inputting the licence number from the engineers ID card. Consumers will be able to see pictures of the registered engineers and details of their qualifications.  This information can also be sent through as a picture message to a mobile phone by calling the freefone helpline on 0800 408 5500. Consumers can check a business is registered by texting Gas and the business registration number to 85080. Consumers will receive a text back confirming whether the registration number is registered. Alternatively consumers can check an engineer is registered by texting Gas and the engineers seven digit licence number to 85080. Again consumers will receive a text message confirming if the licence card number is registered.

As an additional  option  consumers can also request a photo of their engineer to be sent to their phone, providing an engineer has signed up to this service. Following confirmation of an engineer's registration the consumer will be offered the option to reply with Photo and the engineers licence number to be sent the engineers photograph.

How can I complain about unsatisfactory work by an engineer?

Full details of the complaints procedure, and what do do if the engineer is not registered with the Gas Safe Register can be found on the Gas Safe Register website.

What is the Gas Safe Register doing to protect consumers from "rogue traders" and unregistered gas engineers?

The Gas Safe Register have a specialist team to track down these individuals and discourage them from operating illegally. They will work closely with HSE on any enforcement action. If you suspect that someone is working on gas appliances without being Gas Safe registered you can make a report to the Gas Safe Register through their website .

Should I always follow the advice of a Gas Safe registered engineer?

If your engineer recommends that more work needs to be done on your appliance always follow the advice given. If you have doubts over the advice follow it in the interim period and contact Gas Safe Register website for further advice.

Why are ventilation and flues so important?

To help operate safely, all gas appliances need the following:

  • An adequate supply of air to help the complete combustion of gas;
  • efficient operation of their flue to remove any combustion products, including carbon monoxide (CO), that are produced

Without these safety precautions dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can build up with the possibility of fatal consequences. There are some easy ways to help avoid the build up of carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • never block ventilation;
  • ensure that flues are kept clear at all times;
  • Have your appliance regularly maintained and annually serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

How do I know if an engineer is Gas Safe registered?

All Gas Safe registered engineers carry ID cards which tell you which appliances they are qualified to work on.

You can check that the engineer or the business is on the Gas Safe Register website.

What should I do if my question isn't answered on any of your FAQ pages?

HSE runs a free Gas Safety Advice Line offering information on gas safety that is open between 9.00am and 5 .30 pm Monday to Thursday and 9.00am to 5.00pm on Friday (excluding bank holidays). To contact the Gas Safety Advice Line freephone 0800 300 363.

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