If a gas appliance has been badly fitted or poorly serviced, potential risks include gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Here’s what to do if you smell gas or suspect it’s CO poisoning.
It’s crucial to act quickly in a gas emergency. These are the steps you need to take to stay safe:
If you smell gas, want to report a gas leak or require gas emergency services, there’s a free, 24-hour National Gas Emergency Helpline you can call.
The gas emergency number you need depends on where in the UK you’re based and the type of gas that’s involved:
|Country||Natural Gas (NG)||Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG)||Towns Gas/Mains Gas**|
|England, Wales and Scotland||0800 111 999||Contact number on bulk storage vessel or meter*||N/A|
|Northern Ireland||0800 002 001||Contact number on bulk storage vessel or meter*||N/A|
|Isle of Man||0808 1624 444||0808 1624 444||0808 1624 444|
|Guernsey||N/A||01481 749000||01481 749000|
|Jersey||N/A||01534 755555||01534 755555|
*This applies for bulk and metered supplies. For cylinder supplies, please check your local telephone directory for contact details. On caravan sites and boats, the site owner or boat operator may also have gas safety responsibilities.
**Guernsey and Jersey use a manufactured LPG/air mixture that’s commonly known as ‘mains gas’ and supplied from an underground main system. The Isle of Man has a similar system known as ‘towns gas’, but many of the installations on this system are being converted to burn natural gas.
Gas is odourless in nature however the addition of mercaptan, a non-toxic and harmless artificial smell, helps to give it a unique smell to enable detection. Mercaptan gives off a strong sulphur-like smell which can be mistaken for the smell of rotten eggs. It’s often this smell that is the early warning of any sort of gas leak and you should take the appropriate measures to ensure the safety of yourself and others around you.
It should also be noted that carbon monoxide (CO) can also be leaked from gas appliances. This gas is a by-product of unsafe functioning gas appliances and has no smell. You’ll need a carbon monoxide or CO detector which will sound an alarm if CO is present. Learn more about CO and the dangers it poses.
One of the first indicators of a gas leak is often the smell, however there are some physical symptoms that may be experienced.
The most common symptoms include:
If you suspect a gas leak and have any of the above symptoms, please go outside into fresh air immediately and call the appropriate gas emergency helpline.
Although anyone can check for a gas leak by way of the smell it gives of or, in the case of carbon monoxide, a CO detector activates – any confirmation and gas work should be completed by a competent Gas Safe registered engineer.