5 Gas Safety Tips for your Park Home
Gas Safety Week runs from 15–21 September, and it’s the perfect excuse to brush up on your knowledge. Here, Jacqueline Galazzi-Ritchie from boiler care providers All England Gas written her top safety tips for park home residents.
We’ve been using gas to heat our homes and hot water for over a century because it’s quick, convenient, and often cheaper than electricity. But are you aware of the risks?
Gas leaks can lead to fires, explosions, and carbon monoxide poisoning, all of which can be fatal. So, it’s important to know the signs of a gas leak and keep up with appliance maintenance. If you think you have a leak in your property, you may need to call the national emergency helpline on 0800 111 999, inform your park manager, and, in the case of carbon monoxide, seek immediate medical attention.
Below, I’ll be sharing my top tips for keeping your park home safe from gas leaks, as well as which warning signs and symptoms to look out for.
Gas safety tips for park homes
When purchasing a park home, you should look for an NCC badge of approval to make sure it’s been designed and built to high safety standards. Your home will have built-in ventilation to keep gas appliances working safely, so learn where these are in your property and make sure they’re never blocked.
Even if your park home is all electric, any equipment you bring in that uses gas, such as portable barbecues or stoves, can pose a risk if you don’t use or look after them properly. Make sure you’re only using them as they’re intended to be used: for example, don’t use a gas camping stove to heat your home.
If you use your park home seasonally, always remember to turn off the gas completely before you leave. Then, when you return, check over your appliances and ventilation to make sure everything is in order before switching it back on.
Gas safety checks and services
Everyone’s gas appliances must be checked and serviced by a Gas Safe engineer at least once a year. This ensures they are working properly and allows you to address any issues before they become serious problems, reducing the risk of incidents.
Regular servicing will also be a stipulation in your appliances’ warranties or your insurance policies. So, if you don’t organise these annual checks, you will have to fork out for repairs and replacements yourself if anything goes wrong.
Remember, always ask to see a Gas Safe ID card whenever an engineer comes to service your appliances, or check online to see if they are on the Gas Safe Register. This is proof they have been Gas Safety trained and can tell you whether they are qualified to carry out the job that you require. If they don’t have ID, aren’t on the register, or if they aren’t trained in the area you need them to be, they should not be allowed to do a Gas Safety check in your home.
Faulty, improperly fitted, or broken-down gas appliances can quickly become unsafe, causing fires or explosions that can devastate your park home and even cause deaths. So, get into the habit of checking your central heating system, cooker, and gas fires for any indication that something’s wrong. You can find more detailed descriptions in our Gas Safety Guide, but the most common warning signs of a gas leak include:
- Hissing pipework
- Lazy yellow or orange flames rather than a clear, crisp blue
- Your pilot lights keep going out
- Sooting or staining, which looks like black marks on or around your appliances
- More condensation than usual
- The smell of gas, which is similar to rotten eggs
Aim to check your appliances yourself at least once every month to catch any potential dangers early. If you notice any of the warning signs above, switch off the gas and vacate the premises. Then, call the national emergency gas helpline on 0800 111 999 and inform your park manager.
Symptoms of CO poisoning
Unsafe appliances can also cause carbon monoxide (CO) to leak into your property, which is extremely dangerous and can be fatal. CO is known as the ‘silent killer’ because you can’t see, smell, or taste it, but it can cause a few symptoms that indicate its presence:
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Vomiting or stomach pain
- Confusion or tiredness
- Problems breathing
- Flu-like symptoms without a temperature
- Mood swings
The NHS has more detailed information about the symptoms of CO poisoning. You may find that you feel better when you’re away from home but worse when you come back, and your guests might complain of the same symptoms when they come to visit. Even your pets can suffer so, if they’re displaying signs of illness or unusual behaviour, then they could also have CO poisoning.
If you experience any of the symptoms above and think CO might be the cause, open the windows and vacate the premises immediately. Then, call the emergency helpline on 0800 111 999, inform your park manager, and seek immediate medical attention.
Park homes and caravans are more at risk of CO leaks from portable devices, so it’s important not to take any chances. Although we can’t tell if there’s CO in our homes, a CO detector can. Just like a smoke alarm, it will sound if CO is present in the air and you can take appropriate action, keeping yourself and your loved ones safe.
You can buy CO detectors yourself from hardware stores but check with your gas supplier as some may offer them for free. Most gas companies offer lots of helpful advice, so don’t be afraid to contact your supplier if you have any concerns about gas in your property.
The tips in this guide can help you tackle potential causes of gas leaks in your property, and you’ll know what to do if you suspect there is a leak. Vacate the premises, call the national emergency gas helpline on 0800 111 999, and inform your park manager if you notice any of the warning signs or symptoms highlighted in the article. It’s better to be safe than sorry.