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08 Oct 2020

What to do if you smell gas in your home

By Oliver
  • Read time: 2 minutes
85% of UK homes are supplied by gas; whether it is used for cooking over the hob or, to power the boiler for heating water and radiators.

How to detect a gas leak

A non-hazardous chemical is added to gas supplied to homes, making it easy to smell gas in the event of a leak. Smelling gas is the most obvious sign something is wrong, however there are other symptoms to look out for – especially if you don’t have a sense of smell, or are prone to a blocked nose:

  • Light-headedness

  • Dizziness

  • Nausea

  • Headaches

If you feel any one of these symptoms – especially whilst around a gas appliance (on or off) – step outside immediately into the fresh air.

If you begin to feel better, you are most likely suffering from the effects of a gas leak and should call the Gas Emergency Service straight away on 0800 111 999.

What to do next

There are many things to do, and not to do, if you smell gas at home. Following your call to the Gas Emergency Service, you should:

  • Open all doors and windows to allow fresh air into the home

  • Turn off the gas at the mains – found near the gas meter. Turn the handle until it is at a 90 degrees angle from the upright pipe, to shut off the supply

  • Follow the advice given by your emergency adviser and leave the property, waiting outside until an engineer arrives

If your gas supply is in a cellar or basement, don’t try to turn this off – as you may cause damage to yourself, or become trapped. Only switch off the gas from the mains tap if it is safe to do so – i.e. the mains tap is easy to locate, and you don’t have to struggle too much to turn the handle. It is best to familiarise yourself with the location of your gas mains supply and meter, in the event of any emergencies. Under no circumstances should you:

  • Smoke or light a flame – such as on the gas hob, or with a match

  • Operate any electrical items – switch off all electric appliances at the switch

  • Use any other electrical items which could cause a spark

  • Enter the property if the Gas Emergency Services have told you to remain outdoors

The severity of gas leaks

If you detect a gas smell in the house and do nothing, it could lead to a fire or explosion. The Gas Safe Register recently released a publication, which showed one in six homes inspected over the past three years, were fitted with at least one unsafe gas appliance.

If gas leaks are not burnt out and dealt with, they could lead to more serious issues, such as carbon monoxide poisoning, however, there are many things you can do to prevent and detect gas leaks in your home.

All gas appliances, from cookers to fires and even boilers, should be serviced on an annual basis, by a Gas Safe Engineer. If you begin to feel ill when a gas-powered appliance is in use, it is important to act quickly to prevent damage to yourself, your home and those living with you.

Updating your smoke alarms are also an option – some smoke alarms are now also fitted with carbon monoxide detectors. While most detectors sound an alarm when smoke or carbon monoxide has been detected, alarms such as the Nest Protect Smoke & CO Alarm assesses the level of danger and will also speak up or send an alert to your phone if carbon monoxide is detected.

All 50five engineers are Gas Safe Registered – so all boiler installations carried out by us, are sealed with approval and are fit for use.


Written by Oliver

Oliver is a Content Specialist for 50five UK