STEP 1 – SWITCH OFF THE ECV
The first step you should take if you smell gas (often a rotten egg smell) and suspect a gas leak is switch off the meter at the Emergency Control Valve (ECV).
Emergency Control Valve (ECV)
This is a safety mechanism on a gas service pipe connecting a gas meter to the gas mains. Every gas pipe installation and meter should have one.
The ECV is situated where the gas network or gas transporters pipe meets the gas meter. Its purpose is to control the flow of gas where it should be switched off in the event of an emergency / gas escape, or where there is no gas meter installation already in place.
In the photo is an example of a meter-less gas connection pipe, and the ECV is the red-coloured lever.
We would always recommend that you know where your meter is located, ensure it’s easily accessible and know how to access the ECV.
STEP 2 – CHECK GAS APPLIANCES
You will also want to check all the gas appliances in the property to make sure they are all switched off. Although your incoming gas supply has been switched off at the ECV there will still be an amount of gas within the internal pipework to the appliances.
STEP 3 – VENTILATE THE PROPERTY
The next step is to ventilate the property by opening as many doors and windows as possible – this will help release any leaking gas and draw some fresh air through.
During this time it is important that you avoid using any electrical devices, in case of sparks which could ignite the leaked gas, causing an explosion.
Some devices/appliances people often overlook are the ones that are connected to a timer, such as your central heating boiler which may try and ignite until it senses that the gas supply is switched off. Or, devices that are operated externally such as an electronic doorbell.
Obviously, any naked flames must be avoided at all costs – there must be no smoking within the vicinity.
STEP 4 – CALL THE EMERGENCY HELPLINE
Once you have secured the property as best as you can, you should call the emergency helpline: 0800 002 001 (Northern Ireland Only)
But remember not to use the landline inside the property; call from a mobile phone at a safe distance away from the property, or alternatively use a neighbour’s phone or a public phone box.
Calls to this number are free of charge and help is at hand 24/7. Once you have called the helpline, you must ensure there is someone around for the emergency engineers to gain access to the property.