Andrew Parkinson column: Ensure you carry out the correct gas safety checks

Andrew Parkinson column.
Andrew Parkinson column.
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With the cold weather setting in many households will be relying on gas boilers and gas fires to keep their family warm this winter.

This increased usage can put pressure on gas appliances and could lead to them breaking down when they are needed the most.

It’s vital that everyone has their gas appliances regularly serviced and safety checked every year to prepare them for the cold winter months.

Every year about 15 people die due to carbon monoxide poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues which have not been properly installed or maintained.

Chesterfield Borough Council was prosecuted after a carbon monoxide leak at one of its properties put the life of a tenant at risk of being poisoned.

The carbon monoxide leak was started when a contractor visited the propertyto carry out some roof repair work and noticed that the chimney stack was unstable and in danger of collapsing.

The chimney stack was removed and capped but the stack contained the flue for a gas fire and boiler meaning there was no longer an escape route for the carbon monoxide.

The leak was not discovered until six weeks after the roof maintenance work when the council was conducting its annual gas safety check.

The subsequent HSE investigation into the incident found that the council had two separate databases informing them which of their properties contained gas appliances but they had failed to check these details before the roofing work was carried out, nor had they informed the contractor of the live gas appliances at the property.

Anyone with gas appliances in their home need to be aware of the importance of properly maintaining and servicing them.

Gas Safe Register is the official list of gas engineers who are registered to work safely and legally on gas appliances.

By law, all gas engineers must be on the Gas Safe Register.

It has replaced CORGI registration.

Only use a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Dangerous gas work can be deadly. Badly fitted and poorly serviced appliances can cause gas leak, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning. All Gas safe registered engineers carry an ID card.

Landlords have specific legal responsibilities to their tenants when it comes to gas safety.

They are required, by law, to have all gas appliances checked every 12 months, and provide the inspection report to the tenant.

In addition to carrying out annual Gas Safety checks, landlords can protect their tenants from the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning by installing carbon monoxide detectors in their properties.

The detector will warn tenants of a leak.

Exposure to carbon monoxide reduces the blood’s capacity to carry oxygen, causing the body’s vital organs to fail.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness and loss of consciousness.

Because carbon monoxide has no taste, smell or colour. Gas Safe Register strongly recommends you fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm in your home.

While an alarm will alert you to carbon monoxide in your home, it is no substitute for having an annual gas safety check and regular servicing by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

A carbon monoxide alarm looks similar to a smoke alarm and is very easy to fit by following the manufacturer’s instructions.

You can purchase a carbon monoxide alarm from £15 at your local DIY store, supermarket or from your energy supplier.