Home Safety – Tip 1 – Gas Safety at Home

Gas safety at home – how clued up are you? The comforting blue flame of a gas hob has fuelled many generations of hearty family meals around the kitchen table. But combustible gas appliances are also one of the most significant risks to household safety if not used properly or maintained well.

Do you have a heat producing gas appliance at home? The use of gas for cooking at home in the UK is widespread. (Households recently reported as 61% having a gas hob and 38% of households have a gas oven*.) However, worryingly the UK’s GasSafe Register statistics show that 1 in every 6 of these homes has an unsafe appliance**. In this blog we look at safety and the Gas Hob and the simple things you can do to keep ‘cookin’ on gas!’ [Read more blogs here)

The familiar blue flame of a gas hob. Safety in Later Life is key.

Have you had your Gas Hob checked by a Gas-Safe registered engineer recently?

Residential Landlords are legally obliged to commission yearly checks on their properties’ gas-fuelled appliances; but individual households have no such duty. However, If you are a private home owner, we would still suggest a yearly gas safety check on all heat-producing, gas-burning appliances.

3 dimensional image of a home with the walls cut away, showing a gas cooker, boiler and fireplace. The article discussed the importance of Gas Safety Certificates.
Image: staygassafe.co.uk – The Gas Safe Register reports 1 in 8 cookers are unsafe.

How old is your hob?

Manufacturers have included an important safety mechanism in their gas hobs since a regulation change in 2010. Called a ‘flame failure safety device’, the gas is shut-off if unlit or the flame blows out. This safety feature might not be part of your gas hob if it was produced before these 2010 regulations came into force.

Think about replacing your hob for one that is newer, if it is more than 10 years old. Firstly, always use a Gas Safe engineer, who will register the installation with the Local Authority’s Building Control department for you. Secondly, make sure to ask for your Gas Safety / Installation Certificate for your records.

Living Independently

Making the switch from gas to an electric or induction hob may be difficult for some people. The style of cooking is very different. The ‘muscle-memory’ familiarity of a knob and adjustable flame might help someone feel confident in preparing their own meals, and maintaining independence is so important. With a well maintained, modern hob it is possible to achieve safe, gas-hob cooking for many years of independence.

Memory loss and poor concentration

If you have substantiated concerns about yourself or a loved one’s memory or loss of concentration, you may also worry about leaving the gas on or burning food. A heat detection alarm will give you an early warning for this.

If someone is a risk around gas, you can opt for a ‘Locking Cooker Valve’ installation from your regional gas network provider for free. This way, the household can continue with independent cooking at the right times of the day, and other household members (or the evening care visitor) can turn the gas off overnight. For instance, a household member with dementia and a tendency for night-time wandering cannot inadvertently cause a fire or gas leak.

Image showing a Gas Engineer holding a Locking Cooker Valve
SGN Locking Cooker Valve can be installed free-of-charge

Checklist For safety and added peace of mind:

  1. Gather a list of all the gas fuelled appliances you, or your loved ones, have at home. And note down when they were last serviced. Then, visit www.staygassafe.co.uk to sign up for an automatic diary reminder when it is time to book the next service or safety check by one of their engineers.
  2. Register all appliances with the original manufacturer. That way you will be first to know if there is a safety or other recall on the product.
  3. Replace an old hob (pre-2010) for a contemporary one with a flame-failure safety device and auto-ignition. You will also be able to do away with the matches! (Always use a Gas Safe registered engineer)
  4. A Carbon Monoxide detector will give you early warning of noxious gases from a faulty appliance. These can come with 10-year batteries.
  5. A Natural Gas detector (such as the Honeywell HF500 Natural Gas Alarm, approx £75) is another option. This can also be linked to a separate auto-gas shut off valve. This needs to be hardwired in to the property’s electrical circuitry. Factoring in the electrician’s costs and any circuit upgrades, it may be more cost effective to replace the hob.

Reference source:

  • *Energy Follow-Up Survey 2011, Report 9: Domestic appliances, cooking and cooling equipment, Prepared by BRE on behalf of the Department of Energy and Climate Change, December 2013
  • ** http://www.getgassafe.co.uk

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