A cautionary tale for gas safe week

Think you can smell gas?  Whatever you do, don’t follow the example of Mr Moody, whose horrendous experience made headline news in the Daily Mail a while back.  Whilst checking out the rooms of his house for a leak he flicked on a cigarette lighter, triggering a massive explosion that rocked the property, blowing out doors and windows and throwing debris 100 yards away.

Mercifully, Mr. Moody escaped with his life, but he had to be hospitalised for two weeks and treated for serious burns to his hands, arms and scalp that have left him scarred for life.

It is with the aim of preventing scenarios like that that Harpers is supporting Gas Safety Week 2016, an annual event to raise awareness of gas safety and the importance of taking care of your gas appliances.

How can you tell if you are at risk?  First and foremost, if you think you can smell gas, switch off any gas appliances, douse any naked flames and open windows to ventilate your home and dissipate any gas build up.  Then call the free helpline on 0800 408 5500 and get a professional engineer to check it out immediately.

There are also some other tell-tale signs to look out for.  Lazy yellow or orange flames instead of crisp blue ones, and black marks on or around appliances are indicative that they aren’t working properly.  Again, get that remedied straight away.

Perhaps the most insidious danger of all is carbon monoxide poisoning, which is odourless and can quickly prove fatal.  Warning signs of a carbon monoxide leak include headaches, dizziness, breathlessness and nausea.  But don’t wait until you feel unwell.  Have an audible carbon monoxide alarm fitted that alerts you to the threat before it becomes critical.

Of course, it goes without saying that prevention is better than cure.  So please, please, please, have your gas appliances checked and serviced at least once a year by Gas Safe registered engineers like ourselves.

There’s a rider to Mr. Moody’s story that’s also worth mentioning here.  On later investigation it was found that the gas leak he was trying to trace was caused by an incompetent plumber.  During a kitchen conversion the plumber cut off, capped and punctured a protruding pipe.  Regrettably he then failed to carry out a straightforward test that would have shown up the leak.  That, together with Mr. Moody’s thoughtless action, resulted in disaster.

The moral of the story is plain: check that your engineer is Gas Safe registered.  You can find and check an engineer at www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5500.  And when the engineer calls to do the job, check his Gas Safe Register ID card to make sure he’s qualified to do the work you need doing.  You can find this information on the back of the card.

At Harpers we won’t be offended or upset if you ask to see our credentials.  On the contrary we welcome it for your protection and peace of mind.  If you’d like advice on any aspect of gas safety, or would like to arrange a check-up or service of your gas appliances, please contact us on 01279 771981