This Gas Safety Week (September 16-22), many people are getting ready to turn on their boilers again after the summer. As a result, it’s also when any problems with your central heating may become apparent.
If you are booking a gas engineer to come to your home, either to perform a repair or a service, make sure they are fully qualified and accredited to check your appliances properly and do any work safely.
Industry body the Gas Safe Register estimates that there are around 7,500 illegal gas fitters operating in the UK. To ensure you don’t let a cowboy across your front door, there are some simple checks you can perform.
The first check is also the simplest. All Gas Safe Registered engineers carry a Gas Safe ID card with their picture and a unique licence number on it.
Ask to see your engineer’s card and, if you can, have the internet open at the same time. Go to the website of the Gas Safe Register and enter the licence number into the ‘Check a gas engineer’ section.
Assuming they are registered, you will get the following information:
● A picture of the engineer (if the business has opted in to this service)
● Contact details of the Gas Safe registered business
● What gas work they are qualified to carry out
Engineers must pass several modules to be qualified to work on different gas appliances. If you are asking him to repair or service something that’s not on the list, don’t let the job progress any further.
You can check the status of a business as well as an individual on the Gas Safe Register site. Business details include the services they provide and the areas that they are qualified to work on, eg. cookers, boilers, fires.
Once you are satisfied with this, there is a framework for the things your engineer will do during a visit. It is useful to keep this as an at-a-glance checklist while the engineer is in your home.
The engineer should:
● Perform a visual check of the boiler
● Fire the boiler identify working faults
● Remove the casing to check main components (burner, heat exchanger, main injector, spark/sensor probe).
● Check to ensure flue terminals are unobstructed and internal flue components are sealed
● Adjust the gas valve to check the burner is combusting efficiently (this will typically happen using a flue gas analyser).
● Clean inside casing surfaces
● If necessary, clean boiler parts
● Ensure there are no leaks by performing a gas tightness test
● Replace the casing and check everything is properly sealed
Don’t be afraid to ask questions to your engineer before, during or after their visit. They may offer good advice on how to keep your boiler running more efficiently.
If you have any complaints about a Gas Safe Registered engineer’s work, or suspect an engineer of not being registered, you can log your complaint on the Gas Safe Register website. The Gas Safe Register carries out inspections of work carried out by engineers to maintain standards and relies on information from householders to identify any ‘at risk’ businesses and individuals.