By Lisa Brand
Although you may not be using your gas central heating this summer and have probably switched it off, you will still be using your gas boiler to heat your water and your gas hob for cooking, and therefore, it’s just as important that you remain gas conscious throughout the summer months.
Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, is a silent killer that affects us all year round and not just in the winter months; CO poisoning in the summer months can be just as deadly.
If you don’t regularly maintain your gas appliances, boilers, gas BBQ’s and gas camping equipment, this can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning and even fatality.
Most of us use BBQ’s in the summer months for outdoor dining and camping trips and should be aware of the dangers which can lead to CO poisoning.
If you take your gas BBQ indoors, you could be exposing you and your family to carbon monoxide poisoning. Gas barbecues need plenty of ventilation and should never be stored in an enclosed space.
Keep your family safe this summer by following these simple tips when planning a BBQ
- Never use a gas BBQ indoors
- Don’t ever leave your BBQ lit whilst you’re sleeping and always make sure you can see your BBQ when it’s lit
- Always follow the guidelines provided when you purchase your BBQ
- Never take a lit or a burning BBQ inside a caravan or tent. Keep it stored outside, as you’re BBQ may still emit fumes after you have cooked on it
- Never cook on a BBQ directly outside your tent or caravan, ensure the cooking area is a good distance from your camping area and ensure there is plenty of fresh air
- Know the symptoms of CO poisoning:
- Tension-type headaches
- Feeling tired and confused
- Stomach pains
- Loss of consciousness
Extra guidance tips for camping gear or using a gas BBQ
If you are going camping this summer and taking a gas BBQ with you:
- Inspect the gas appliance before you leave to ensure that it is working correctly. You must also check the hoses are connected and in good working order. If you are at all concerned about the appliance, then it is probably best that you don’t use it
- Before you change the gas cylinder, ensure the gas taps are switched off and always do this outside, where there is plenty of fresh air
- Don’t tighten the joints too much
- Check the manufacturer’s guidelines for instructions on how to inspect the gas cylinder for gas leaks
- Always turn off the gas cylinder when you have finished using it and before you switch off the actual BBQ to make sure that any gas which is still in the pipeline will be burnt off before you store it away
- Avoid CO fumes by keeping the area you are using well ventilated
- Always leave your gas BBQ or stove outside where there’s plenty of fresh air, and don’t ever be tempted to bring it inside
- Take a portable CO alarm with you to keep in your caravan – it could save your life Return all empty or used gas cylinders to your provider. Do not throw these away. If you have any concerns, refer to the UKLPG website
Liquid petroleum gas (LPG)
LPG is normally used outdoors for BBQ’s, camping and as an outside heating source. This is a flammable mixture of hydrocarbon gases which are used as fuel in cooking apparatus, transport, caravans, boats and for heating purposes.
Fixed LPG gas appliances
It is important that you frequently service all of your fixed gas appliances and have them safety checked by a qualified gas engineer each year.
It’s also just as important to ensure that the engineer is trained and qualified to work on a specific gas appliance at your property.
When you purchase any new or used gas appliances you need to make sure that it can be used in that type of location intended. For example, if you want it for a caravan you need to ensure that it’s suitable for a caravan. You also need to find out what gas it requires (i.e. natural or LPG), and you need to have it installed by a qualified Gas Safe Engineer.
Just as you would install a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm at home, it’s just as important to install one into a caravan or mobile home. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer which comes with no warning. You cannot taste it, smell it or see it and it’s an extremely poisonous gas.
Portable gas appliances
When you are using a portable gas appliance and it has an integral gas canister, it’s important that you follow the below precautions:
- Before use, check the user instructions
- Check the condition of the equipment to ensure the canister seal isn’t damaged. If the canister looks old, displays any signs of rust or damage, don’t use it
- If you think gas is escaping from the canister, or you can smell gas, or you’re experiencing difficulties with the handle, do not try to light it. Seek the help of a qualified Gas Safe Engineer to make sure it’s safe
- Make sure the gas canister you are using is suitable for your appliance and that you’re connecting it the right way and in the exact position
- Do not force the retaining handle of the gas canister into place as this can impair the pressure release tool and the mechanical linkage
- Gas canisters used on a boat (full or empty) must be correctly stored in a self-draining cylinder locker, or an open surface so that any LPG that is leaking from the canisters can seep overboard and not into the boat. If the gas fumes get inside the boat, this could cause an explosion or fire
- Only use hoses that are stainless steel convoluted marked EN10380 or rubber hoses marked BS 3212
- Use a hose which is marked ‘High-Pressure LPG,’ if the outlet pressure of the regulator is above 50 mbar or if you are fixing directly to a cylinder
- Keep the hose as short as you can, but with enough length so that it is not pulled too tight
- Do not put the hose near any hot surfaces
- Replace any hose that shows signs of wear and tear, cracking soft spots, stiffness or visible damage
- Remember, the summer months can be just as dangerous for CO poisoning as the winter months, home or abroad, or even just a simple BBQ in the garden could pose a threat. Always be gas aware and familiarise yourself with the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, as it might just save your life: dizziness, tension-type headaches, nausea, vomiting, breathlessness, feeling tired and confused, stomach pains, collapsing, loss of consciousness.
If you suspect that you have a gas leak in the UK, or you can smell gas, call the free gas emergency number (24 hours) straight away on 0800 111 999 or visit GasSafeRegister.co.uk
Are you interested in becoming a registered Gas Safe Engineer with Barret-Bell?
Our level 3 City & Guilds qualification is both ideal for all new entrants as well as experienced domestic gas engineers looking to enhance their qualifications. The course will provide you with the knowledge, skills and experience necessary for a constructive career within the gas industry and covers both LPG and gas barbeques as well as gas cookers and meters.
This is a licence to practice and will enable you to be on the Gas Safe Register and work in the UK, Isle of Man and Guernsey.
For more information, view our Level 3 Diploma Gas Safe Course or give us a call on 01923 253 866.