One of the most dangerous and invisible things that could invade our homes is natural gas (and it’s counterpart, carbon monoxide). But did you know there are some really quick and easy steps you can take to identify a gas leak, before things get serious?
Carbon monoxide, known as the silent killer, attributed to 50 accidental deaths in the UK in 2016, so it’s important that we all know how to help keep our families and homes safe.
If you’re renting a property, you might find your home has carbon monoxide detectors installed already – but if you’re a home owner, it’s really important you get these fitted.
As carbon monoxide is both colourless and odourless, it can be very difficult to detect, until it’s too late. Alarms will identify and alert you to the presence of the gas, much like a smoke or fire detector, and it’s your first line of defence in improving the safety of your home.
Things to look out for
Though carbon monoxide is difficult to spot, there are physical symptoms you may experience if you’re in a home with a leak.
If you’re feeling dizzy, lightheaded or nauseous go outside immediately. If your symptoms ease-up in the fresh air then you could be suffering from the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Our home has its way of telling us too; keep an eye out for any of the below, even if you don’t smell any natural gas:
- Your hob flame should be crisp and blue, rather than an orange or yellow colour.
- Does your pilot light always blow out? This could be a sign that gas is escaping before reaching your appliance.
- Watch out for soot or scorched areas around your appliances
- Excessive condensation on your windows or a musty smell in the air could also be tell-tale signs.
Check your appliances
Can you smell gas?
Usually, you’ll find that a gas leak in a home is the result of a poorly fitted, badly maintained or faulty appliance – like your boiler or cooker. If you’ve got any appliances which fall under the categories above then you may find gas escaping from the hose that leads to the appliance, or from around the seal.
An easy way to avoid this in the UK, is to ensure that an accredited Gas Safety engineer fits and services all your appliances. You can check this online on the Gas Safe site, or ask the engineer to show you their registration card and credentials.
This simple step could mean the difference between a safe, long-term appliance and a short-lived danger to your health.
Where to get help
If you’re worried about an appliance, or can smell gas in and around your home, call the Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999 – the team can also help you identify an appliance giving off carbon monoxide, so it’s a good number to keep somewhere handy!
Some top-tips if you do smell gas:
- If you suspect a leak, DO NOT call from the property, go outside to use your mobile or ask to borrow a neighbour’s landline
- Open all doors and windows
- Don’t smoke, light a match or use any other naked flame
- Don’t turn your lights on or off and avoid using any other electrical switch until an engineer has been to visit
For more health and safety information, you can visit the Health and Safety Executive site, which offers a range of advice for domestic gas issues.
For more gas safety advice, or tips on what to do if your area is affected by a national power emergency, visit the Spark website today.
Stay safe everyone!