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Introduction to gas safety

This content applies to England & Wales

This page looks at the risks involved in the domestic use of gas.

The installation and use of gas appliances (such as gas fires, boilers, cookers, water heaters and lighting appliances) or accessories (such as gas fittings, service pipes, valves and flues) creates two forms of risk to the consumer:

  • Fire and explosion – leaking gas from poorly fitted appliances or pipe work can cause major fires and explosions that could endanger occupants and/or damage the consumer's property and adjacent premises. See the pages on Fire safety for more information.
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning – potentially life-threatening carbon monoxide can be released if gas appliances are faulty. Carbon monoxide gas is colourless and odourless and highly poisonous. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include tiredness, drowsiness, headaches, giddiness, nausea, vomiting, pains in the chest, breathlessness, stomach pains, erratic behaviour and visual problems. These symptoms can mimic many common ailments and may easily be confused as flu or simple tiredness. Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur when other carbon-based fuels such as coal and wood do not burn properly.

Gas installations and appliances could be unsafe if they:

  • are not working properly
  • have been poorly installed
  • have not been maintained in a safe condition, or
  • do not have adequate ventilation.

Appliances, vents, air bricks, flues, or ventilation grilles should not be blocked or covered.

Occupiers who suspect they are suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning should seek medical attention and ask for a blood test to see if carbon monoxide is present. Detailed information about gas safety can be found from the Health and Safety Executive

For information about landlords' duties to provide carbon monoxide alarms, see the page Smoke and carbon monoxide, and, for a house in multiple occupation (HMO), see the page Mandatory licensing.

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