Gas safety checks
- All gas appliances in your property need to be safety checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer annually
- If you rent your home and have gas appliances, your landlord must provide carbon monoxide alarms
All gas appliances in your property need to be safety checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer annually. If the gas appliances in your home are unsafe, you could be at risk of fire, explosion or carbon monoxide poisoning.
If you rent your home, your landlord must provide a copy of the annual gas safety check (dated within the last year) before your occupation contract starts. Records of any gas safety checks carried out during your occupation contract must be given to you within 28 days.
For information on gas safety, call the HSE’s free Gas Safety Advice Line on 0800 300 363.
If you rent your home and have gas appliances, your landlord must provide carbon monoxide alarms.
Carbon monoxide gas is known as the ‘silent killer’ because it’s invisible and has no smell. It’s also very poisonous and can kill quickly. Carbon monoxide can be produced if:
- gas appliances are not installed or maintained properly
- gas appliances are broken or not working properly
- flues or chimneys become blocked
- rooms are not adequately ventilated.
How to stay safe from carbon monoxide
There are some things you can do, and things you should avoid doing, in order to minimise the risk of being exposed to carbon monoxide. For example:
- Ensure rooms are well ventilated.
- Do not block air vents or tape up windows.
- Do not use your gas oven to heat your home.
- Ensure chimneys and flues are swept annually by a qualified sweep.
- Install carbon monoxide alarms in the correct position and test them regularly.
- Ensure gas appliances are serviced annually (your landlord should do this. For more information see our Responsibility for gas safety page).
- Never use BBQs in enclosed spaces or indoors.
How can I tell if carbon monoxide is present?
There are some signs to look out for that mean carbon monoxide could be present. These include:
- Soot or stains around the boiler.
- Extra condensation on windows.
- Pilot light blowing out frequently.
- Floppy orange flame in gas appliances (flame should be crisp and blue).
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning
Children, elderly people, pregnant women and people with respiratory problems are particularly at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning. The symptoms are similar to those of flu, and include:
- chest pains,
- memory loss,
- erratic behaviour,
- difficulty breathing.
If you regularly suffer from any of these symptoms and have gas appliances in your home, ask your doctor for a blood or breath test for carbon monoxide. If you are tested positively for the effects of carbon monoxide, you should immediately turn off your gas appliances and arrange for them to be checked by a registered gas installer.
The Gas Safe Register website has more information.
What should I do in an emergency?
If you think there may be a gas leak in your home (for example, if you smell gas or your carbon monoxide detector goes off), there are several things you need to do :
- if you can, turn off the gas supply at the meter
- get out immediately, leaving the doors and windows open if possible for ventilation. Remember, don’t turn any electrical switches on or off (this includes light switches and the doorbell) and don’t smoke
- warn your neighbours
- call the National Gas Emergency number – 0800 111 999 (If you’re deaf or hard of hearing, you can use a textphone (Minicom) on 0800 371 787). An engineer will come out free of charge and disconnect either the leaking appliance or the entire gas supply if necessary. If possible, they will fix the problem straight away. Otherwise, they will isolate the faulty appliance so you can’t use it and turn the gas supply back on again. You’ll then need to arrange for a Gas Safe registered engineer to come and fix the appliance.
- report the leak to your gas supplier (for example, British Gas).
- Seek medical help immediately and ask for a carbon monoxide blood or breath test.
If you are disabled, chronically ill or of retirement age, you might be covered by the Priority Services Register scheme and get more help. Click here for more information.