Smelling gas in your home could be a sign of a gas leak which, if left, could cause a fire or an explosion. So, knowing what to do if you smell gas is essential.
Here are the steps you should take if you smell gas in your home – plus what to do to prevent a gas leak.
What to do if you smell gas in your home
If you can smell gas in your home, it’s important to take immediate action.
If it’s safe, first turn off the gas at the mains using the emergency control valve next to your meter. You should be able to move the lever a quarter turn so it’s at 90 degrees to the upright gas pipe. However, if your meter is located in your cellar, you are not advised to do this.
Don’t know where to find your meter or control valve? Source them now so you’re prepared in case of emergency. Show other members of your household, too.
Make sure you also extinguish all naked flames in your house. Head outside to get fresh air and open your windows and doors to ventilate the area.
When you are outside, call the Gas Emergency Services on 0800 111 999. This is a 24-hour service. For Northern Ireland, the number is 0800 002 001.
If you’re feeling unwell, visit your GP or hospital and explain what has happened.
What not to do if you smell gas in your home
Knowing what you shoudn’t do if you smell gas is even more important.
Don’t turn any lights on or off, or use any other electrical switches as this could ignite the gas. This includes electrical security locks on doors or gates – open them manually instead.
For the same reason, don’t smoke or do anything else that could cause a flame.
Avoid using your mobile phone in the house too – call Gas Emergency Services from outside your property.
Don’t go back into your home or turn your gas back on until an engineer has checked what the problem is and confirmed it is safe to re-enter the property.
Don’t allow anyone else to enter the property either, unless they are a professional dealing with the problem.
How to prevent a gas leak
To reduce your chances of having to deal with a gas emergency, get your gas appliances checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer (visit its website and enter your postcode). You should also get your gas pipework inspected.
Warning signs that an appliance is faulty could include:
the appliance not working as it usually does
a weak yellow or orange flame rather than a blue one (except for fuel-effect fires that are meant to have this colour of flame)
brown or black marks around the appliance
for a boiler, the pilot light might keep going out
If you have any new appliances installed, always use a Gas Safe registered engineer.
If you live in a rented property, your landlord is legally obliged to arrange gas safety checks annually, to maintain gas appliances, gas pipework and flues. They must give you a copy of the Landlord Gas Safety Record before you move in.
If your landlord does not fulfil these obligations, you can report them to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE). They can be issued with a formal caution or even be prosecuted.
Keep gas costs down
If you are also the energy bill payer at the property, it’s worth checking to see if you are on the best deal. Especially if you are on a standard variable rate energy tariff, you are likely to be able to save by switching.