Home Improvements

Don’t DIY when it comes to gas appliances

Working with gas can be dangerous, so it’s crucial that you never try to fix, fit or move appliances like your boiler or cooker yourself. Badly fitted or poorly maintained gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning; it just isn’t worth the risk.

By law, anyone carrying out work on gas appliances and fittings as part of their business must be competent and registered with us. That’s why you should only ever use a Gas Safe registered engineer to carry out gas work in your home.

When your engineer visits, you should ask to see their Gas Safe ID card which confirms they’re appropriately qualified to safely carry out the work in question.

To help you and your family stay safe while you’re making improvements to your home, here are our top tips:

  • Don’t DIY with gas appliances, always use a Gas Safe registered engineer
  • Don’t block or cover air vents and flues; 'they are essential for safely working gas appliances'
  • Never try to remove or repair a gas appliance yourself
  • If you’re having building work done, always ensure your contractor is qualified
  • Check where your gas pipes are located - make sure you don’t accidentally hit them during DIY work

It is illegal for someone who is not Gas Safe registered to fit a gas appliance or do other gas work and then have the work checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Both parties would be breaking the law.

Where do subcontractors come in?

If you’re using a subcontractor to undertake any improvements in your home, here’s what you need to bear in mind:

What gas work can be undertaken by other tradespersons?

If the work required only involves the replacement of a non-gas component, such as a water circulating pump or central heating control valve, housed within the boiler’s decorative casing, the work could be undertaken by another competent tradespersons e.g. plumber/electrician.

Providing the work could be undertaken without having to break a combustion chamber seal (see Can I take the case of my gas appliance? below), disturbing any gas carrying component or disturbing a module that controls the combustion process, it would not need to be undertaken by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

What gas work can I do myself?

The definition of gas ‘work’ is quite wide ranging, but you can perform the tasks set out in the user’s instructions, (provided by the appliance manufacturer) that are intended for the user to carry out. This would not be a breach of the law.

The law allows you to replace or adjust any component or control that is designed to be operated or replaced by the consumer e.g., a cooker tap control knob. However, you should not do anything that involves disturbing the gas carrying components (such as the gas supply pipe) or that could affect the combustion process (such as removing the combustion case of an appliance – see Can I take the case off my gas appliance below).

Additional home improvement considerations

Whether you’re doing your own home improvements or using a subcontractor, it’s worth considering that some work could have an impact on your gas appliances, even if they aren’t being worked on directly.

Make sure your tradesperson conducts and documents the findings of a risk assessment which should identify any risk and control measures to ensure gas safety isn’t compromised.

Here are some examples of work which could have a gas safety impact:

  • New conservatory - It’s really important to ensure flues don’t become enclosed and that they’re the required distance from any new windows or openings. Only a Gas Safe registered engineer should move a flue.
  • Scaffolding - This kind of work could potentially cover or damage a chimney terminal outlet or flue.
  • External cladding - You’ll need to make sure that vents, chimneys and flues aren’t removed, damaged or obstructed if they’re integral to the safe operation of gas appliances.
  • Extensions - If this involves moving existing gas appliances, or installing new ones, it’s got to be a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer that does it.
  • Roof work - Make sure chimneys and flues aren’t removed, blocked or damaged. For new windows or openings, you’ll need to ensure the required distances from chimneys and flues are maintained in line with relevant standards and manufacturer guidelines.

Make sure you stay safe and find a local engineer near you today.

Can I take the case off my gas appliance?

It depends on whether the case is purely decorative or whether it is an integral part of the appliance.

Decorative casing

These cases can usually be removed by the consumer e.g., can be lifted off or are hinged panels and do not need to be unscrewed. A decorative case can be removed safely by the consumer or anybody else, remembering to follow any manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels and making sure you have safely isolated any electrical parts. However, if you are in any doubt always use a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Integral casing

Many appliances have cases, which in addition to being decorative, function as a part of the combustion circuit and form an important seal around the gas carrying components e.g., burner, combustion chamber, gas valve etc. If removing the case involves undoing a number of screws, this normally means it is a functional case and it should not be removed by the consumer or a person who is not Gas Safe registered.

For further guidance on whether you can remove the case from your gas appliance:

  • refer to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • contact the manufacturer’s helpline
  • visit the manufacturer’s website

Remember, whenever having any gas work carried out, always use a Gas Safe registered engineer holding the relevant qualifications for working on your gas appliances.

Useful links

Useful Downloads

  • Who can legally work on a gas appliance?

  • What to consider when making home improvements


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