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Stay Gas Safe

23/12/2015 15:38

Over five and a half million people living in the UK are risking their finances and health by failing to have yearly safety checks conducted on their gas appliances. Such a check can cost as little as £60 − a small price to pay for peace of mind.

In 2015 there were over 65,000 emergency call outs connected to home gas appliances in the UK; in addition, the Gas Safe Register has reported that it found faulty gas appliances in a worrying one out of every six of the 140,000+ homes it has examined over the past five years. Such dangers have resulted in the deaths of six people and in excess of 300 reported injuries over the last 12 months alone.

When their upkeep is neglected, gas appliances may cause hazards such as fires, explosions, gas leaks and the ‘silent killer’ − carbon monoxide poisoning. These can be life threatening situations and may also cause significant damage to your property, which could cost thousands of pounds to put right. Other often-reported issues associated with badly-maintained or faulty gas appliances include an excess of condensation, which often leads to unsightly black stains and, in some cases, burst gas pipes.

Landlords are required by law to have regular gas safety checks conducted in their properties, but this is not the case for homeowners. The Gas Safe Register is making a concerted effort to raise awareness of the risks posed by faulty gas appliances among homeowners to encourage them to get into the habit of having a yearly safety inspection.

The public can access a list of all the gas-related incidents that have taken place in their local postcode by clicking on the interactive map at StayGasSafe.co.uk. The site also offers a service whereby homeowners can sign up to receive a reminder when their annual safety check is due.

There are a number of simple ways to keep your gas appliances safe, the most important of which is to have them regularly serviced by a registered Gas Safe engineer. If you rent, check that your landlord is on top of this − he or she is legally obliged to do so.

It is obviously a good idea to use a high quality carbon monoxide detector and get up to speed with how to spot the warning signs that indicate your gas appliances are malfunctioning. Such signs include the presence of a ‘lazy’ yellow-coloured flame and the appearance of black sooty marks in the area around the appliance. You should also be aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which include headaches, nausea, dizziness, breathlessness and − in the worst case scenario − loss of consciousness.

Posted By Paul Smith

Cast iron fireplaces are synonymous with both classic good looks and longevity, they add real impact to any room. Fireplaces of this type date back to Victorian times, and are characterised by their distinctive wrought iron inserts and decorative hob grates. Although often associated with period properties, today cast iron fireplaces are routinely found in more contemporary surroundings where they are equally at home. They are an ideal way of adding a sense of timeless style to a space

Cast iron fireplaces are extremely durable meaning that it is possible to produce a bespoke piece to perfectly complement your interior design scheme.  From a purely practical point of view, cast iron fireplaces are quick and simple to clean.

If you are looking to create a cosy ambience in your home, a cast iron fireplace with a living flame may be the ideal addition. During the cold winter months, there is nothing more comforting than a glowing fire, whether it is fuelled by wood or gas. A quality fireplace adds focus to a room, drawing the eye and creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

Perhaps the first thing to think about when you are choosing your new fireplace is the layout of the room it is intended for. Always double check the dimensions of your fireplace before ordering. Whether you opt to have tiles fitted to complement your fire is a matter of personal taste. Try to make sure that the tiles you choose work with the design and colour scheme of the room as a whole.

Although cast iron fireplaces were traditionally produced to a matt black finish, this is not compulsory. Instead, you could opt to have some of the details picked out by polishing or indeed have the entire installation buffed to a high shine.

You will need to decide between a gas burning or wood fuelled fire. If you have an existing open chimney, so much the better, although you should of course get it checked over by a professional before you have a fireplace fitted. If you are unable to ventilate a fire of this type, you may wish to consider one of the many low gas input fires on the market. These give off a very realistic flame, and are reasonably energy efficient too.

Posted By Paul Smith

If you have set your heart on a solid fuel stove for your home, you will probably already be aware that you will need to choose between either a multi-fuel or wood burning model.

Understanding a little about your options should help to clarify which is the right stove for your home.

Wood burning stoves run most efficiently when new fuel is added to an existing bed of ash. Therefore most are fitted with a fixed grate with a flat base, thus ensuring that the ashes created as the logs burn accumulate in the base of the stove so that new logs can be added on top. This is important for the process of combustion.

One of the main selling points of wood burning stoves is their environmental benefits. During the lifetime of an average tree, it will absorb a similar level of carbon dioxide as you would generally expect to consume burning wood in a stove, meaning that it is regarded as a low carbon option. Indeed, provided that you only buy your logs from a supplier who plants new trees to replace those that are cut down, this form of energy can also be classed as renewable.

On the other hand, a multi-fuel stove is one that has been designed to burn a greater variety of fuels. These may include wood, smokeless fuels, turf/peat briquette and anthracite. This is achieved by adding a raised grate which incorporates moveable bars, thus allowing the stove to burn different fuels efficiently. In contrast to a wood burning stove, the fuel bed in a multi-fuel product will need to be regularly emptied. An ash pan below the grate is included so that this can be managed safely

Despite the fact that there are certain key difference between in the design of wood and multi-fuel stoves, the levels of efficiency and the heat output are very similar.

If you are lucky enough to have access to a private wood supply, you will probably find that a wood burning stove is an ideal addition to your home, bringing with it a cost efficient boost to your current heating system. Conversely, opting for a multi-fuel stove means that you can source a wider variety of fuels from a local supplier.

Whichever option you decide on, you can be sure that installing a real fire will instantly add an abundance of atmosphere and cosy charm to your home.

Posted By Paul Smith
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