In this guide, we’ll show you want to do if you smell gas – or if you suspect a gas-related emergency. We’ve also included some basic safety tips to help keep yourself and others safe.
What are the symptoms of a gas leak?
The smell of gas is the most obvious indicator of a gas leak. Gas has a very distinctive smell, and it’s very dangerous – as well as potential explosions, there’s also the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be fatal.
A gas leak can make you feel ill, and some of the main symptoms include:
- Feeling lightheaded
If you suspect there may be a gas leak and have any of these symptoms, leave your property straight away. If you start to feel better once you’ve had some fresh air, it could be a sign that you’re suffering from the effects of a gas leak.
If you smell gas in your property:
- Let fresh air into your home by opening doors and windows.
- If it’s safe to do so, make sure you cut the gas supply off straight away – move the handle a quarter turn, until it’s at 90 degrees from the pipe. This is usually located next to your gas meter. But if it’s in the cellar, it’s usually best to leave it.
- Leave your property.
- Call the National Gas Emergencies number. It’s free of charge, and lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Listen to the advice provided by the emergency adviser and follow it
- Wait outside your property for the gas engineer to arrive
- If you feel unwell, go to your GP or your local hospital straight away. Inform them that you think you’ve been exposed to a gas leak or carbon monoxide poisoning.
- light a match, smoke, or use any other naked flame
- touch any electrical switches; don’t turn them on or off.
- use mobile phones, doorbells or any other electrical switches that could spark.
- It’s always advisable to ask to see the gas engineer’s ID before they enter your home.
If you smell gas coming from someone else’s property:
- Advice others that you can smell gas coming from their property
- Tell them to leave the house and call the National Gas Emergencies number immediately on 0800 111 999. Remember, lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you can’t get in touch with the property owner, then it’s advisable to call the National Gas Emergencies number yourself. Or if you suspect that the people inside may be in trouble, call 999 immediately.
How to prevent a gas leak
There are various different ways you can help prevent a gas leak – and many things you can do to make your home as gas safe as possible.
- Make sure your appliances are installed by a Gas Safe registered engineer – and always ask to see their ID before they enter your home.
- Having a gas detector alarm installed in your property will detect leaks.
- Installing a Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector in your home is also highly recommended (and for rented properties is a legal requirement). Carbon monoxide is colourless and odourless, which makes it difficult to detect.
- Make sure you have a gas safety check or a service carried out on all your gas appliances.
What are the signs of a faulty boiler?
- You can see soot around the appliance
- There’s a weak yellow or orange flame, rather than the usual blue flame.
- The pilot light blows out easily.
If you live in a rented property:
- Talk to your landlord about servicing the boiler annually and carrying out a gas safety check on all gas appliances.
- For your peace of mind, you could ask your landlord for a copy of the safety certificate.