Natural Gas Safety In The Home

  • 18th November, 2006
  • Category: Gas

As a home owner, you have rights and responsibilities where gas safety is concerned.

Every year about 30 people die from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues which have not been properly installed or maintained. Lots more also suffer ill health. You can't see CO nor taste it nor smell it. It can kill without warning. This could be just a matter of hours. When gas does not burn properly, as with other fuels such as coal, wood or oil, excess CO is produced which is poisonous. You can now buy carbon monoxide detection alarms for domestic properties and caravans. Once quite expensive, they are now realistically priced and as essential as a smoke alarm in your house.

As a house-owner you have a responsibility to yourself and the other people in your home to ensure that your gas fittings and appliances are safe. You must make sure that all gas appliances and/or flues are regularly maintained and a safety check carried out annually. If you have any doubts about your gas to water offer heating system at any contact a CORGI registered installer to check it out.

The law relating to gas installations in the UK says that anyone carrying out work on gas appliances or fittings as part of their business must be competent and registered with CORGI (the Council for Registered Gas Installers). To check your installer is registered, ask to see their current CORGI photo ID card which has a photo of the installer, their CORGI registration number, their trading title and the expiry date of the card. The back of the card will have details as to what kind of gas work the installer is able to do. If you are in doubt you can call CORGI during normal office hours on 01256 372300 or log on to the CORGI website on

The current law also states that you must not use any gas appliance or fittings you suspect or know to be unsafe. Any gas appliance or fittings which are considered to be so dangerous as to be a threat to life if used, must be disconnected. Before you use this appliance or fitting again, you will need to have it repaired by a CORGI-registered installer.

Landlords are generally responsible for:

  • Making sure that gas fittings and flues are maintained in good order.
  • Gas appliances and flues are checked for safety once in a period of 12 months.
  • Landlords must also keep a record of the safety checks for at least two years.
  • They must issue the latest certificate to existing tenants and any new tenants before they move in.
  • If you own the appliance, you are responsible for its maintenance and safety checks.

There are also restrictions on the installation of gas appliances such as fires, boilers and heaters in sleeping accommodation. The only exception is of the room-sealed type appliance. These restrictions apply only to appliances fitted after 1 January 1996 and to those already installed in rooms in rented accommodation which have been converted to bedrooms after 31 October 1998. Appliances which are not room-sealed, for example, conventional gas fires, may only be fitted if they have a device which automatically turns the gas supply off before a dangerous level of fumes is allowed to build up. It is also illegal to install in any room instantaneous water heaters which are not room-sealed or fitted with such a safety device.

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