Do You Need to Do a Tightness Test on a Boiler for a Yearly Service?

Marine Klein
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Do you need to do a tightness test on a boiler for a yearly service?

Yes: Arranging a regular gas tightness test is important to ensure that a gas installation is safe. The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 make it clear that business owners are responsible for ensuring that any gas installation located on their premises is safe to use.

Use these links to navigate to more details about gas tightness testing for boilers and pipes, as regulated by industry standards IGE/UP/1:2003 with 2004 amendments & IGE/UP/1A: 2003.

What is a tightness test?

What happens during a gas tightness test?

Why do you need gas tightness testing?

What is a tightness test?

Tightness testing is a procedure carried out to make sure that industrial or commercial gas pipework is safe to use and is not likely to cause a hazardous situation. Gas tightness testing will identify any potential risks caused by incorrect pressures and will help you to spot boiler wear and tear before it develops into a serious problem.

READ MORE: "Gas safety week: Improving gas safety standards"

What happens during a gas tightness test?

First, it's important to note that a gas tightness test should only be carried out by highly trained, qualified industrial and commercial gas engineers, to ensure that it's done to the highest industry standards.

To prepare for the test, the engineer should survey the boiler installation to detect any major or obvious faults that need to be remedied. This process may involve a detailed examination of boiler plans, as well as of the mechanical integrity of the gas installation.

The engineer will also check for obvious gas leaks using a gas detector and then determine the appropriate test pressure, which will be at least the maximum operating pressure of the system.

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The test itself will involve monitoring gas pressure at different levels and noting any significant problems or discrepancies. If a gas leak has been identified, the leak rate should be calculated and if this exceeds the permitted level, then the owner of the boiler should be notified. Leaks and other problems that have been identified during the test can then be addressed at an early stage before they develop into significant hazards.

Upon completion of the test and any associated repairs, you need to fill out and issue a gas safety inspection certificate that will serve as proof that the boiler and pipework meet acceptable safety standards, and that the owner is in compliance with their legal obligations.

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Why do you need gas tightness testing?

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 state that business owners are responsible for ensuring that any gas installation located on their premises is safe to use:

“It shall be the duty of every employer or self-employed person to ensure that any gas appliance or installation pipe work installed at any place of work under his control is maintained in a safe condition so as to prevent the risk of injury to any person.”

The regulations do not specify gas tightness testing, but the Institute of Gas Engineers recommend that pipe systems and boilers should be regularly inspected and tested and that gas tightness testing should become a regular and essential component in every company’s health and safety framework.

Failure to take every possible step to ensure the safety of gas equipment could leave business owners open to significant costs and liabilities, not to mention severe reputation damage if something were to go wrong.

It is recommended that a tightness test is carried out on an annual basis, as part of a regular gas appliance service.

The best way to remind customers that a gas tightness test needs to be conducted at their property or premises is to send service reminders before the date is due. This is also a good way to generate extra business.

Need help creating service reminders? Download our free service reminder templates below—and start writing reminders that get results. 

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