There are ways to keep your home safe from gas leaks - and it doesn’t involve cooking over an open fire.
As household boilers, gas fires, most central heating systems and many ovens are fuelled by gas, leaks do sometimes occur. So just in case your home does suffer a gas leak, follow these safety guidelines on what to do if you smell something whiffy…
1. Use your nose
Your nose is your personal gas alarm. Domestic gas doesn’t actually have a smell, energy providers add it to the supply to enable you to sniff a gas leak out straight away. So always be aware of the smell of gas.
Got a blocked nose? Lost your sense of smell? You’ll still be able to tell if there’s a gas leak in your home. Physical symptoms can include: dizziness, fatigue, nausea, headaches and irregular breathing.
So, if you find this happening to you when you’re inside but not out, you could have a gas leak.
2. Don’t be a bright spark
Don’t operate any electrical switches or create any flames, this includes flicking on a light switch and making sure you’ve turned off the cooker – and don’t even think about lighting a cigarette indoors!
3. Ventilate the property
Open windows and external door immediately to allow the gas to dissipate as quickly as possible.
4. Turn off gas at the meter
Not sure where the meter is? Then make it a priority to find out. Call your gas supplier if you need help locating it. If you live above a commercial property, speak with the owner to find out where the business gas meter is kept, and work out a plan for what to do if you smell gas when the business is closed.
5. Call for professional help
Don’t attempt to sort the problem out yourself. Call for suitably qualified help immediately. Phone the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999.
6. Evacuate if necessary
If you have an unventilated basement or cellar that has a strong smell of gas, evacuate everyone from the building immediately. If the smell is overpowering in other areas of your home, you may also want to wait for help outside – but only after implementing the preceding safety measures.
7. Tell the neighbours
Let your neighbours know if you think they may be affected by the leak – it’s better to be safe than sorry!
8. Wait for the all clear
If you’ve evacuated the premises, don’t let anyone (apart from the person sent to repair the leak, of course) back into the property. Wait to be given the all clear before going back inside.
This guide was first published in 2009.