Gas is an intrinsically flammable and therefore, a potentially dangerous substance if mishandled. That's why selecting and using only a qualified gas engineer is essential.
No place for DIY
Over the past 30 or 40 years, the DIY marketplace has grown hugely and it is now a major British pastime.
Many of us enjoy throwing ourselves into jobs we have perhaps only had limited previous experience of. It's not only challenging and rewarding but it may also add substantially to our lifestyle or even the value of our property.
Yet there is an important point to consider.
If you are less than spectacularly successful in your efforts at, say, carpentry, tiling, painting or even plumbing, then you may risk making a mess or even causing damage to your property.
If, however, you do the same with gas and electricity, you run the risk of killing yourself or others and invalidating your home insurance policy in to the bargain.
In the area of gas appliances and systems, it is a legal requirement to use a qualified gas engineer and not to make any attempts whatsoever at DIY.
No place for generalist builders
Comparatively few people do break the law by dabbling with gas on a DIY basis but perhaps typically more commonplace, are those people offering general handyman services, who then go on to offer to have a go at a gas issue while they're around, although not qualified to do so
Sometimes they may offer what appear to be extremely attractive prices but it does not matter how much they say that they have seen your system before – using them may prove to be extremely risky.
A qualified gas or heating engineer should be regarded as essential for any job involving gas. In fact, you will find that your domestic insurance policies exclude any claims relating to a gas work that has not been installed and regularly maintained by an accredited gas engineer.
A gas engineer should always be capable of showing that he or she is registered with the Gas Safe Register * which, by law, they must do before being qualified to work on gas systems.
If someone offers to work on your gas systems but are unable to show their registration, then it would be highly advisable to refuse them permission to engage in the work.
Do also check the categories for which they have been assessed and deemed competent because not every engineer is qualified to legally work on, say, gas cookers or gas fires.
Post work support
If you're having a gas appliance or system installed, remember to also keep in mind that doing the job is one thing but being able to support the system after installation, is another.
If your system goes wrong in the depths of winter, that will not be the time you'll want to start trying to persuade the heating engineer you used last time to come out when they're reluctant or unable.
Using a company regularly that has some size and presence, may improve your chances of getting a gas engineer in a hurry, or by taking out a maintenance contract with them.