Over 200 people a year in the UK go to hospital as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning every year as a result of a gas leak. Poisoning from this gas can kill, mixing with haemoglobin in your blood and preventing you from being able to carry oxygen. Knowing when to spot if you have a leak is difficult. Carbon monoxide is colourless, odourless and tasteless. However, there are ways of noticing it. This post will help you to understand how to tell if you have a gas leak and what to do in the case of an emergency.
How to tell there’s a gas leak
On some occasions you will be able to smell gas. If not then you may receive several symptoms such as dizziness, nausea and light-headedness. If you go outside for fresh air and the symptoms wear off, then you will know that there is a problem!
Some physical checks can be made that may indicate to having a gas leak. When checking the flame, it should be a crisp blue and not orange or yellow. Check the pilot light – it may keep blowing out or not be working at all. Excessive condensation might also form on windows as a result of a gas leak. Also make sure your hobs aren’t making a funny sound or continue to hiss once you’ve turned them off.
What to do if you suspect a gas leak
Go outside your property and call up an emergency plumber or handyman straight away. In the meantime, find the gas emergency control valve and turn it off. This should be on the outside of your meter box, or outside your house somewhere. Turn the gas emergency control valve lever a quarter turn 90 degrees and the gas should be off.
Next, open all windows and doors to let us much fresh air into the property (and as much gas out!). Avoid using any electric switches as a spark could cause an explosion. Don’t light any matches for obvious reasons and if you’re smoking, put it out straight away. Finally, you should refrain from using you mobile in the property as this could also create a spark (this is why it’s important to walk outside your property because calling for emergency). Basically, any rule that applies to a petrol station should apply here.
As soon as all this is dealt with, get outside into the fresh air and wait for emergency to arrive.
How to prevent a gas leakHaving your boiler regularly serviced is the best method of prevention as this should catch any potential problem early in the bud. You may also want to consider buying a carbon monoxide alarm as this will warn you of any potential leak long before you have to worry. These can be bought at most DIY shops and are best placed in a hallway or open area. Change the batteries regularly so that you’re always protected (most devices will beep intermittently to let you know they’re running out).