Gas safety and carbon monoxide

Content owner : Last updated : 05/03/11

Gas leaks

Gas leaks are a major danger and require immediate attention

If you smell gas, follow these simple steps:

  • Turn off the gas supply immediately. The main gas on/off control is next to your gas meter.
  • Do not smoke or use naked flames such as matches.
  • Do not turn any electric switches on or off as they can ignite gas.
  • Once the meter is off, open all windows and doors to allow the gas to escape.
  • Ring the Gas Emergency Service immediately and report a gas leak.

If you smell gas, act immediately and contact the Gas Emergency Service. Do not call our repairs number as this could delay action. The gas could be leaking from pipes outside the house which we are not allowed to deal with.

Our responsibility for gas safety

We must carry out an annual gas safety check on all properties where we have installed gas appliances. We will tell you seven days in advance that we need to gain access to your property so please make sure we can get in.

If you donít give us access, we can get a court order and force entry into your home to carry out these tests. You can be evicted if you continue to refuse to let us in.

Gas safety is important - Please help us to keep you safe

It is illegal to allow any unqualified worker to fit or repair gas appliances in your home. Faulty appliances can kill.

If you wish to fit a new gas appliance, the gas fitter must be Gas Safe registered. (The Gas Safe Register replaced the previous CORGI scheme in April 2009). When we carry out our annual safety check, if any of your own appliances unsafe or faulty, we will disconnect the appliance.

Carbon monoxide

Kirklees has more incidents of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning than almost anywhere else in the country.

KNH safeguards the safety of tenants by carrying out regular safety checks, but you can also help protect yourself and your family by being CO-aware.

Any carbon-based fuel can cause CO poisoning. Gas stoves, fires, heating boilers, gas-powered water heaters, paraffin heaters, oil and solid fuel heating systems are all potential sources of carbon monoxide.

It becomes a problem when the appliances donít work properly or arenít well ventilated. And although older terraced houses are more likely to be at risk because the flues and chimneys may not be in good condition, the problem can also affect newer homes.

Signs of carbon monoxide leakage include soot staining or condensation and burning with yellow flames.

Whos at risk

Children, pregnant women, babies, and people with a heart condition are those at most risk Ė but CO poisoning can affect anyone.

Symptoms can include:

  • Headache / vision changes
  • Drowsiness / tiredness
  • Flu-like symptoms / muscle aches
  • Shortness of breath / difficulty breathing
  • Rapid pulse
  • Dizziness / fainting
  • Weakness
  • Emotional changes / confusion / poor judgment
  • Clumsiness
  • Nausea, vomiting / diarrhoea
  • Chest pain
  • Bluish discoloration of the skin and nails

If you or anyone in your family is experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor straight away.

How can you help prevent it?

There are a number of steps that people can take to help protect themselves from the dangers of CO poisoning Ė and they cost only pennies a day.

Firstly, make sure you get your gas appliances serviced regularly by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Gas appliances are the biggest culprit and should be checked and maintained every year.

If youíre a Council tenant, this will be done automatically Ė but itís very important that you let the engineers in to do the work. If youíre a private tenant, your landlord has a legal duty to get all gas appliances safety checked. If this hasn't been done in 12 months, contact your landlord or call the Health & Safety Executive's Gas Safety section if he/she refuses.

If youíre a home-owner, youíll find a list of Gas Safe registered gas installers in the Yellow Pages, on a new website, or you can call their helpline to find your nearest supplier. The cost of a safety check starts at around £40, depending on your appliances and the supplier.

Secondly, even if you have your appliances checked and serviced, itís important to keep your home well ventilated Ė never be tempted to block up airbricks and even in the winter, open the windows regularly.

Thirdly, buy a carbon monoxide detector and alarm, available from most supermarkets and DIY stores. In order to be effective, they must meet safety standards - EN50291 (European) & BS7860 (British). These cost around £20 but they last for several years. Some of the cheaper detectors, for example the kind that change colour, arenít reliable so donít be tempted to cut corners.

Finally, if you think carbon monoxide is in your home, turn off gas appliances and seek medical attention immediately.

Gas Safe Registered installer to check your appliances before you turn them back on. Or ring the Gas Emergency Service to turn off the gas. Ring a doctor if you feel unwell.

Useful contacts

  • Gas Emergency Service (formerly Transco)

    Tel: 0800 111 999

  • Gas Safety Register helpline

    Tel: 0800 408 5500

  • Health & Safety Executive's Gas Safety section

    Tel: 0800 300 363
    Textphone for the deaf and hard of hearing: 0800 371 787