Jacqueline Gallazzi-Ritchie is Director of the gas safety and boiler replacement company All England Gas. Here, she shares what park home owners need to know and do to keep themselves safe.
Gas Safety Week runs from 16–22 September, which means organisations from across the UK will be working to raise awareness of the dangers of poorly-maintained gas appliances. A lot of this advice tends to be aimed at those with traditional brick and mortar homes, but it's an issue that also affects those who live in park homes. So, here, I'm going to share my top tips that will help to keep park home owners with gas boilers safe.
Only use Gas Safe registered engineers
It's incredibly important that you only ever have your gas appliances installed or serviced by engineers who are on the official Gas Safe Register — you can check this by asking any boiler engineer who visits your home whether you can see their membership card. This should show a yellow Gas Safe Register triangle (not the orange CORGI registration badge that was replaced back in 2009).
This card will also outline what kinds of jobs they're qualified to work on. So, for example, someone might be able to fix your boiler, but might not have the necessary skills to install a gas fire. If they are unable to show you their membership card for whatever reason, you can check a company's status on the Gas Safe Register website, or call 0800 408 5500 to get all of the information you need.
Make sure your gas appliances are checked every year
Although it isn't a legal requirement unless you're a landlord, I would highly recommend getting into the habit of having your park home's boiler serviced once a year. Not only will this give you peace of mind and help to keep your family safe, but it could also help to save you money, as a Gas Safe engineer will be able to spot any issues or causes for concern. These can then be addressed quickly, before any more damage is caused.
It's also a good idea to have your boiler serviced if you've recently moved into a park home, as the previous owner mightn't have put enough effort into maintaining it. It's always better to be safe than sorry where gas and boilers are concerned!
Install a carbon monoxide alarm
One of the biggest dangers associated with gas boilers is carbon monoxide poisoning, which can occur if your boiler becomes faulty and begins to leak this potentially deadly gas. Fortunately, you can easily protect your family from this by installing a carbon monoxide alarm in your park home. This will alert you if it detects the levels rising in the air, so you know when to leave your park home and contact a boiler engineer.
Carbon monoxide detectors can often be picked up from a DIY store for as little as £20 — just make sure your chosen one has a British or European Kitemark, so you know it's reliable.
Learn how to spot and treat carbon monoxide poisoning
I would also recommend learning how to spot and treat carbon monoxide, just in case. Each year, there are around 60 deaths caused by accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in England and Wales (NHS), so you can never be too careful.
The main symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning you need to look out for are:
Feeling and being sick
Tiredness and confusion
Shortness of breath
If you suspect that you and your family are suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, turn off all gas appliances, open your windows and doors, leave your park home, contact a gas engineer, and make sure you get checked out by a doctor. You can also call the Gas Emergency Helpline on 0800 111 999 if you think there might be a major gas leak in your park home or the site you live on.
Address any boiler problems immediately
Finally, if you spot any boiler issues between services, it's vital that you contact an engineer as soon as possible. If problems are left to fester, they can become much worse and possibly even dangerous. If left for too long, it's likely they'll cost a lot more to repair, or you might even be forced to replace your park home's boiler completely. So, it's must better to address any problems you notice sooner rather than later. So, if you've noticed that your boiler is behaving strangely — perhaps it's making strange noises or not doing its job properly — deal with it as soon as possible.