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Staying Safe Around Home Heating

Keeping your home warm during the winter is essential but not many people consider central heating safety. Stay safe around your central heating system by following these steps.

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Gas boiler safety

Modern gas boilers are highly efficient and reliable but burning natural gas doesn’t come without its safety concerns. If you have a gas boiler in your home, keep your property safe by doing the following:

Arrange an annual boiler service

To help prevent a leak, you should arrange for your gas boiler to be serviced annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Install a CO alarm

The biggest threat presented by a gas boiler is carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odourless and colourless gas produced by gas boilers as they operate. Boilers are designed to expel it away from the property through the flue but it’s important to take safety precautions to prevent or alert you to a leak.

In the event of a carbon monoxide leak, having a carbon monoxide alarm installed close to the unit which will alert you to the leak. As well as installing a CO alarm, make sure you check it on a regular basis to ensure that it’s working.

Look out for fault codes

While modern gas boilers are safe appliances, they can develop faults that need to be repaired otherwise they can become dangerous.

Fortunately, modern boilers have a digital display that will show an error code when there’s a fault to help a heating engineer identify and repair the issue. In addition, when it could lead to danger, the boiler will lockout until the fault has been fixed.

You should also take the above precautions when having an oil boiler installed too.

Hire a Gas Safe registered engineer

Gas Safe registered engineers are the only people allowed to carry out work on gas boilers by law. This includes installation, servicing and repairs. Always ensure the heating engineer you hire is qualified to work on your gas boiler by checking the online Gas Safe register and asking to see their Gas Safe ID when they arrive at your property.

Boiler Guide has a network of Gas Safe registered engineers across the UK, who are vetted on a regular basis to ensure their credentials meet strict criteria.

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Is it safe to install a gas boiler in a bedroom?

Gas boilers are commonly installed into a kitchen or utility room but they’re not the only options, they can even be installed into a bedroom. While sleeping in the same room as a boiler might be met with concern, the truth is that modern boilers are more efficient, reliable and safer than ever before.

The Gas Safety Regulation 1998 states that a room used for sleep can’t have a gas boiler over 14 kW, unless it’s a room sealed unit. So, it’s important to check the output of the boiler before having it installed.

Oil boiler safety

Like with a gas boiler, an oil boiler should be serviced annually and have a carbon monoxide alarm installed nearby. In addition, the oil storage tank should be made from plastic or steel, be installed by an OFTEC Registered Technician and also meet OFTEC standards.

Electric boiler safety

Electric boilers don’t produce carbon monoxide as they operate so there’s no chance of a leak and you don’t need to install a CO alarm. Additionally, there are fewer moving parts than both gas and oil boilers, which means they don’t need an annual service to make sure they’re running safely.

When installing an electric boiler, you need to be aware of how many amps it uses, typically 48 amps, because if your home’s fuse isn’t big enough it could blow. If you’re unsure about the size of the fuse in your home, consult an electrician.

Electric heater safety

For those of us without a central heating system, electric heaters (space heaters) are a popular alternative, however, they do present the risk of fire.

Most importantly, you should read through the manufacturer’s instructions before using an electric heater. First and foremost, making sure you keep it away from combustible of flammable materials.

It’s also highly important that you don’t leave the electric heater on when you go to sleep or leave the property as this could lead to a fire.

Not keeping warm enough in the winter

While there are some safety concerns around home heating appliances, it’s better for your health to heat your home than to avoid doing so altogether.

According to Public Health England there are 25,000 excess winter deaths in England each year – the elderly are most at risk along with children and those with chronic illnesses.

As well as a modern central heating system, you’ll want to ensure that the heat isn’t escaping with insulation and double glazing. To find out how well your property keeps the heat in, you might want to consider carrying out a home energy audit.

Hire a professional heating engineer

To keep your central heating system running safely, the installation, servicing and any repairs should be carried out by a fully-qualified professional. By law, gas boilers can only be worked on by Gas Safe registered engineers while an OFTEC registered technician is needed for oil boilers.

To ensure that the heating engineer you’re hiring is qualified to work on your central heating system, check the online registers and ask to see their ID when they arrive at your property.

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