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What to do if there's a gas leak in your home?

What to do if you smell gas in your house?

Vanessa Tsai
Written by  Vanessa Tsai
Alicia Hempsted
Reviewed by  Alicia Hempsted
5 min read
Updated: 29 Feb 2024

Gas leaks can be potentially fatal, but they’re quick to fix if you spot the problem early on. If you suspect there’s a gas leak in your home, you need to act fast. In our guide, we go through what to look out for, what to do, and how to make your home ‘Gas Safe.’

What should I do if I notice a gas leak?

If you’ve detected a gas leak inside or outside your home, you should call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999.

You should also take the following steps:

  • Open windows and doors to ventilate your home

  • Turn off the main gas supply, if it’s safe to do so. This is usually a physical valve that needs to be rotated 90 degrees to the upright gas pipe. If it’s stuck (as is the case with some older homes), don’t try to force it

  • Extinguish any naked flames

  • Avoid turning any electrical switches on or off

  • Don’t use your mobile phone, or any other appliances that could cause a spark

  • Don’t smoke or light matches

  • Evacuate the building if you can – and if you live in a flat, terraced or semi-detached property, you should tell your neighbours

To prevent a gas leak from occurring, you should get your gas appliances checked annually by a Gas Safe-registered engineer.

Our guide on How to be Gas Safe has more tips on how to keep your home safe from gas leaks.

How do I detect a gas leak?

The most obvious sign of a gas leak is the smell of sulphur or rotten eggs. This is due to the addition of mercaptan, a harmless artificial odour that’s added to gas to make it easier to detect. It provides an early warning sign that you have a gas leak.

Other signs to look out for include:

  • A whistling or hissing sound near a gas line

  • A white cloud or dust cloud near a gas line

  • Withered or dying houseplants

  • Damaged pipes

  • Bubbles in water

  • Faulty or poorly fitted appliances

  • Higher gas bills than normal

There are also physical symptoms that indicate a gas leak, including dizziness, headaches and nausea when you’re at home.

Who pays to fix a gas leak?

It’s free to call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999 to report a gas leak. They’ll send an emergency gas engineer to make sure your home is ‘Gas Safe’ – this is free of charge and usually within one hour of making the call.

However, they won’t fix any appliances or pipework. If repairs are required, you’ll have to arrange and pay for it yourself.

Always get a professional Gas Safe-registered engineer to install any new appliances or pipework.

Would gas leak repairs be covered by my home insurance?

It depends on the situation. In the event of a gas explosion or fire that causes structural or physical damage to your home, you should be able to claim on your buildings insurance to cover the damage and possessions damaged by explosions will usually be covered by contents insurance.

If you have home emergency cover (usually available as an add-on to standard home insurance), you may be able to claim for the cost of fixing burst pipes or boilers. However, not every provider will offer this cover and there may be come restrictions. Providers also may not offer this cover if your property has had issues with gas leaks prior to you taking out a home insurance policy.

One thing a standard home insurance policy will not cover is gas leaks caused by aging appliances that haven’t been routinely maintained or installed properly. To prevent a claim on your home insurance from being rejected, either you or your landlord need to keep up to date with inspections and maintenance of your property.

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