The ongoing reality of loadshedding has seen many of us turning to gas cooking and heating to keep warm this winter. The consequences of a gas accident can, however, be dire so it is best to be careful and adequately insured in case something should go wrong.

Make sure you follow safety regulations

Gas installations including gas hot water systems, stoves and ovens require certification. The Occupational Health and Safety Act states that homeowners using gas in these ways have to have a Certificate of Conformity. Such installations must also be secured on an adequate surface, and locked in a cage. This is vital in complying with your insurance policy against detrimental accidents.

In addition, you must take precaution that your gas appliances are turned off when you are not using them and that you store your gas bottles safely and legally.

Consider installation restrictions

If not installed correctly, a gas leak can have major negative consequences, such as an explosion. Remember that gas bottles must be installed at least:

  • one metre sideways from doors and windows
  • one metre from the property boundary wall
  • one-and-a-half metres from any lightbulb
  • two metres from drains or air vents
  • three metres below windows
  • five metres sideways from a switchable electric point or plug switch

Important questions to ask yourself

  • Have you had your gas system or appliances checked, and do you have the necessary certification?
  • Are you adequately insured for fire and other damage?
  • If your property was to be damaged by a gas explosion or a fire, are you covered for the cost of demolition? This can be extremely costly and not every policy automatically includes this cover.
  • If the damage means that you need to move out while repairs are being made, does your insurance cover the costs of you staying somewhere temporarily?

These questions must be asked for your primary residence as well as any holiday homes or property you may rent out. Landlords must have adequate cover for the cost of repairs and the loss of rental income, should tenants have to move out while renovations take place.

Consult your adviser to make sure that your insurance covers you comprehensively for such accidents, and enjoy a safe, happy and warm winter.

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