Take a look at what you need to know about asbestos, carbon monoxide, gas, water and fire safety.
Why am I likely to be safe from asbestos?
Any asbestos in your home will be locked inside whatever product it was used in. It’s only a risk if these products get damaged. That’s why we need to check your home. Think about it like electricity. It’s perfectly safe unless it is interfered with.
It’s hard to tell whether a product contains asbestos just by looking at it. So we need to take samples and test them in a lab.
So remember, there’s no danger unless the fibres are released and inhaled into the lungs.
Keeping yourself safe – your responsibilities
If you ever suspect asbestos, from any damage or deterioration in your home – do not touch it. Don’t try to clean it up. Just call us straightaway at our Customer Service Centre on 0303 123 1890 and we’ll get someone out to inspect it.
Find out more
Take a look at our leaflet to get more information and advice.
Around 40 people in the UK die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide has no taste, smell or colour and can kill without warning in a matter of hours.
Carbon Monoxide is not only produced by gas fires and boilers, but can be emitted by BBQs and Calor Gas heaters as well.
Signs to look out for
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be mistaken for flu. They include
- Loss of consciousness
Look out for:
- Floppy yellow or orange flame on your gas hob, rather than crisp blue
- Dark, sooty staining on or around gas appliances
- Pilot lights that frequently blow out
- Increased condensation inside windows
Suspect a carbon monoxide leak?
Turn off the gas supply. Call the National Grid immediately on 0800 111 999. Open the doors and windows and leave your home. An engineer should arrive within an hour.
For more information on fire safety in your home, please take a look at our fire safety pages.
If you smell gas or are worried about gas safety you can call the National Grid on 0800 111 999 at any time, day or night. Your call won’t cost a thing.
Gas safety tips
- Never use a gas appliance that you think is faulty.
- If there is a yellow or orange flame, soot or stains around the appliance, or the pilot light keeps going out, let us know straight away so we can check it’s safe.
- Don’t cover appliances or block air vents or outside flues.
- Do not store bottled gas in your home.
- Don’t fit draught excluders or double glazing to rooms containing a gas appliance without providing further ventilation.
- We service all our customer’s gas appliances on an annual basis. We’ll write to you to let you know when your check is. It’s really important that this happens every year, so please let us know if you can’t make the appointment.
It’s important that you have access to safe water, and aren’t put at risk of water-related diseases, such as Legionnaires’ disease. We’re responsible for making sure that the risk of exposure to legionella is properly controlled, but there are also measures you can take.
What is Legionnaires’ disease?
Legionnaires’ disease is a pneumonia-like illness. It can affect anybody and is potentially fatal, but rare in the UK. The infection is caused by breathing in small droplets of water contaminated by the bacteria. You can’t get it from drinking water and the disease can’t be passed between people.
Legionella bacteria can be found in hot and cold water systems in houses. The main areas of risk are where bacteria can multiply. They can survive low temperatures and thrive at temperatures between 20–45°C if the conditions are right. They are killed by temperatures above 60°C.
Anybody can catch Legionnaires’ disease, but it’s more likely to affect those who are older, who smoke, and those who are already ill or have low immunity or respiratory conditions.
Reducing the risk of legionella in your home
The risk of legionella causing illness is very low. Taking the following simple precautions will help keep you safe:
- Run showers and taps for at least one minute before use if they haven’t been used for a few days.
- Flush the toilet twice to circulate fresh water through the system and empty the cistern.
- Keep all shower heads and taps clean and free from a build-up of limescale, mould or algae growth. Use sterilising fluid every 3-6 months.
- Keep your hot water at a temperature of more than 60°C, but be careful of scalding.
We’re responsible for making sure that the risk of exposure to legionella is properly controlled in communal water supplies. We have a duty to assess the risk of exposure and implement appropriate control measures where required.
With larger premises, such as sheltered accommodation and blocks of flats where the water is managed centrally, we need to assess the risk of legionella bacteria in water installations or systems. Our responsible person will record the risks and precautions and review the assessment occasionally in line with detailed guidance provided by the health and safety executive.
We’ll prepare a plan for preventing or controlling the risk of legionella bacteria, including:
- Water in the boiler and at each outlet point should be kept at a minimum of 60°C within a minute of running the water.
- Shower heads and hoses used in common areas of the building should be dismantled, cleaned, and descaled regularly.
- Any water units that are not regularly used should be flushed through regularly.
- Communal cold water tanks are visually inspected regularly.
- The water tank is insulated and fitted with a closed lid.
- We check for debris and if necessary, clean and disinfect.