Natural gas is a relatively safe, efficient and convenient source of energy providing warmth and hot water across the country. However, when your gas appliances are improperly installed or maintained, gas leaks can occur causing carbon monoxide to release into your home. This can become a health risk and a source of danger to your home.
Here are some warning signs to be aware of when dealing with gas appliances – it may just save you and your family’s life one day.
One of the first early warning signs of a gas leak in the property are the symptoms associated with Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning. These symptoms occur early on as the gas levels increase, oxygen rates within the space start to drop.
Symptoms when dealing with carbon monoxide exposure include the following:
What Should You Look Out For?
There is no obvious way to see that a gas leak has occurred as you can’t physically see gas leaking. However, there are a few signs to look out for.
When conducting maintenance on your gas appliances there may be visible damage to a gas line connection. If you notice this, the very first thing you should do is turn off the pilot light or gas meter and alert your gas company or authorities.
If you haven’t noticed any damage on your appliances look for bubbles, dust or a ‘cloud’ in standing water. This shows that gas is collecting in the water and causing the water to change this way.
In addition to the change of water if you notice your house plants suddenly die for no ordinary reason, this is down to the fact they are not getting enough oxygen and that gas is filling up the room and reducing the spaces oxygen all together.
Finally, check gas appliances for warning signs that they are not working properly e.g. lazy yellow flames instead of crisp blue ones, black marks or stains on or around the appliance and too much condensation in the room. All gas appliances should come with some form of warning signs so make sure you are aware of these when it is installed
Stop And Smell The… Gas?
As Gas is an odourless substance causing it to be undetectable, suppliers add a potent smell to the product. Suppliers describe the smell as somewhat similar rotten eggs. This has been added to alert occupants to the dangerous vapor allowing time for evacuation before symptoms become overwhelming and causing serious affects to you and your family. If you do smell anything like this in the property make sure to take the necessary precautions and evacuate the building.
Keep Your Ears Open
When in your property if you start to hear a hissing or whistling sound coming from one of your gas appliances it is an indication that there is a leak from one of the connections.
As this sound is very quiet and hard to detect we recommend every household to fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm. This will detect any carbon monoxide in your property and alert you with an alarm. When installed make sure to check and replace the batteries as this may save your life one day.
What You Need To Do
To prevent leaks from happening a registered gas safety engineer should conduct an annual gas safety check and service to stop any problems from occurring.
However, if you detect any of these signs and symptoms of a gas leak take the necessary steps of calling the emergency services and safely evacuating you, your family or any other residents affected
When a registered gas engineer has completed a gas safety check in your home, they will record all of the checks they have carried out on a form. This is the Gas Safety Record, and it will list all of the appliances and fittings they have checked in the property.
When renting a property from a private landlord, the council, a housing association, student accommodation or any other landlord, they should provide you with a copy of the record within 28 days of the check being completed. If you are a new tenant, you should expect to be given a copy of the latest record upon moving into the residency. Find out more information on Gas Safety Records.
If you do not receive a Gas Safety Record from your landlord for your current property, you need to ask your landlord for this document. If they fail to do so, you need to report them to the HSE, because failing to follow gas safety requirements is a criminal offence and the HSE has the power to issue a formal caution and may prosecute your landlord.
As a student you are like any other tenant in that your landlord needs to ensure that any gas appliances in the property are safe for you to use. It’s unlikely gas safety is at the top of your priorities, but know your rights and the warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning – it may just save your life one day.
The six symptoms of carbon monoxide (headache, muscle weakness, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, confusion, blurred vision, and loss of consciousness) can be mistaken for a hangover. To avoid this request for an audible carbon monoxide alarm with your landlord or you can buy a battery operated one at a DIY store. Usually the same cost of a good night out.
If you have any gas safety questions feel free to get in touch with us here.