Most homes rely on gas to meet heating, cooking and hot water needs. Maintaining a reliable supply is not just a matter of convenience for households, but also safety. The Gas Safe register guarantees that a technician is qualified to make quality repairs to a variety of gas installations and boilers with safety top-of-mind. Becoming Gas Safe certified is essential for gas fitters, boiler technicians and heating engineers. Even if you’re not a gas engineer, you can make sure that you and yours are as safe as houses with a few handy tips.
Tips to be safe around gas
Natural gas keeps us and our loved ones warm so it’s worth knowing how to spot the first signs of trouble whether you have a gas kitchen range, water heater or central heating system.
1. Make sure your gas appliances are serviced annually
A Gas Safe engineer is qualified to make sure that your boiler, heaters and kitchen appliances run safely and efficiently. They will check the relevant valve, vent, pipe and gasket to make sure they’re up to standard.
2. A rotten smell means that you should exit your home
Call the Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111999 as soon as you are clear of your home. The smell is added because gas doesn’t smell of anything on its own and since gas is invisible, smell is the only practical way of alerting people to a leak. Additionally, don’t smoke or switch off any electrical appliances during this kind of emergency. Only return to your home once the emergency services have deemed it safe.
3. Know how to shut off your natural gas
Every homeowner needs to know where the gas shut-off valve is on their property. On top of knowing where it is, you also need to know how to operate it and whether you need a tool, such as a wrench or a screwdriver, to shut it down.
4. Clear the area around gas fireplaces
If you have a gas fireplace make sure there is enough clearance around it. Wood, flammable materials, children and pets should be kept well away and safeguarded with screens or fire-resistant hearth guards. Stay cosy AND safe year round!
5. Check your Carbon Monoxide detector
That little nub on your wall that relentlessly beeps at you is more than meets the eye. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is dubbed the silent killer for good reason; a dangerous build-up can cause irreparable brain damage and worse. The only way to know if CO levels are life-threatening is with a properly functioning carbon monoxide detector.
6. Dig carefully around your property
You may have a brilliant landscaping plan that will make your neighbours jealous. Stop! Before getting your shovel out you need to know where the gas and electric conduits are located. Damaging gas pipes, electricity or telecoms cables could be costly AND dangerous!
How to become Gas Safe
Becoming Gas Safe registered is not a night and day thing. Whether you are a young adult looking for a technical career, a born-again plumber or a disillusioned stockbroker who wants to get hands-on, there are different routes to becoming a gas safe engineer. Qualifications are one part of the equation but the practical part should not be forgotten either. Let’s see what it takes to make it as a gas engineer.
If you are looking for a technical career in gas repair and you have no previous experience, you have a few vocational options when it comes to becoming certified.
|NVQ (National Vocational Qualification)||
Level 2 has two diploma focus paths: plumbing and heating or domestic heating system installation.
Level 3 is required to obtain the Gas Safe licence.
The Level 3 NVQ diploma gives you further areas of specialisation that range anywhere from oil firing appliances, gas fired water or warm air appliances, solar thermal systems to greywater reuse systems.
|ACS (Accredited Certification Scheme)||Once you are Gas Safe accredited, you will be registered to work on a specific type of appliance. To expand the range of appliances or gas repairs you can work on, you may need to fulfil Gas Assessment Training.|
|QCF (Qualification Credit Framework)||
Level 2 is not for new technicians but rather professional development for those working in Social Housing sectors.
Level 3 is for those who are new to the profession.
Level 4 deals with Gas Safety Management for social housing sectors for housing management.
Gas engineer apprenticeships
Apprenticeships are a crucial entry point for gas engineers who have completed their NVQs. They are the best way to earn the accreditations necessary to work on the new and ever-growing classes of gas appliances and systems.
Employers participating in apprenticeship schemes ask for four GCSEs above a C in English, Maths and two directly relevant subjects in the areas of technology or science.
Apprenticeships tie into the idea of continuous professional development needed to be successful in the gas repair industry.
Gas Engineer Important Skills
Gas repair is a hands-on, customer-focused and technical job which requires you to have the following skills in order to thrive in the field:
- Problem-solving personality: You have the drive to find solutions on a daily basis.
- Putting the customer first: Strong communication and listening skills are key to reassuring and dealing effectively with gas repair clients.
- Attention to detail: The success of gas and boiler repair hinges on being able to follow instructions and cover all aspects of a job to a high standard. After the repair is completed, equally close attention will have to be paid when it comes to record keeping.
- Self-starter: You will often be working on your own. Being responsible for your own work puts the onus solely on you in terms of time management and initiative.
What gas safe course is best?
So you are sure you want to work as a gas engineer and help people with their boiler issues, central heating system installations, and put an end to stray gas leaks; read on to see how you can get trained properly.
If you are starting out from scratch, an NVQ Diploma course in any of the following main areas is a must:
- Domestic Plumbing and Heating
- Domestic Natural Gas Installation
- Gas Utilisation
Once you have your NVQ, you’ll be ready for the apprenticeship-based Accreditation Certificate Scheme programmes. Most of these should be provided by your employer who will want you to broaden your expertise and keep your certifications up to date. However, the following ACS qualifications should get you started once you’ve completed the Approved Prior Learning gas training programme:
- CCN1: Core Domestic Natural Gas Safety and Appliances
- CMA1 / CESP1: Core domestic and non-domestic emergency service and gas metering work
Gas safety certificate & register cost
While landlords only need to pay anywhere between £30 and £150 for a certificate, depending on how many gas-fired appliances are in a property, becoming Gas Safe Register approved is a whole different story.
|Offline renewal fee||£172|
|Online Gas Safe renewal fee||£152|
|Penalty fee for late renewal||£100|
|Updated ID card with new accreditations||£10|
|Gas Safe ID card replacement||£15|
While the brunt of these costs is going to be taken on by companies that employ several gas engineers, it is worth noting that independent gas engineers always need to keep their eye on the ball to make sure the registrations their business depends on do not expire.