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Heating Appliances  

The Gas Appliances (Safety) Regulations 1995
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998
Heating Appliances (Fireguards) (Safety) Regulations 1991
Oil Heaters (Safety) Regulations 1977
Gas Catalytic Heaters (Safety) Regulations 1984
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994

The above regulations set out minimum safety standards for certain heating appliances. If you "supply" one of these appliances, you must make sure that it meets these minimum standards. You will be considered to be supplying one of these appliances if you run holiday accommodation and provide them for the use of your guests.

If you use one of these appliances in your business, you should check that your appliance meets these standards and continues to be safe so that it presents no risk to your employees and no fire risk.

Many manufacturers choose to add a standards mark - British Standards Mark, a CE mark or a European (EN) Standards mark. These marks are a warranty from the manufacturer that the products met the minimum standards when manufactured and first put on the market but you must check that they continue to be safely operated and used.

The minimum standards are as follows.

    The Heating Appliances (Fireguards) (Safety) Regulations 1991 impose an obligation on suppliers of gas fires and oil heaters to ensure that they comply with British Standard BS1945:1971 or European Standards to the effect that all gas and oil fires have a fitted fireguard grill around the area of the flame.

    Fire guards to do not to be fitted to gas hearth fires that meet certain conditions as set out below.

    Supply would include making them available in a residential letting or holiday let.

    Most fires and heaters are specifically designed to meet the Regulations with the fire guard built into the design so that there:

    is no likelihood of personal injury from burning; and
    is no likelihood of ignition of any fabric, by reason of, in either case, contact with or closeness to any flame or any part of the appliance which becomes incandescent.

    Oil heaters and gas fires, which do not satisfy the specific design criteria, must be retro-fitted with a guard that meets the Regulations.

    A "gas fire" includes:

    a gas burning heating appliance in which the source of the gas is in liquid form or the gas is contained in a portable container; and
    a gas burning appliance intended to simulate a solid fuel fire;

    A "heating appliance" means a gas fire or oil heater.

    "Residential premises" includes premises intended for temporary accommodation except tents but does not include any part of residential premises which consists of out-buildings such as garages or greenhouses.

    The fireguard is satisfactory if any vertical bars are 5mm or less apart. Otherwise the guard must not have an opening with:

    a major dimension exceeding 125mm, a minor dimension exceeding 12mm and a diagonal dimension exceeding 126mm, or

    a major dimension exceeding 50mm, a minor dimension exceeding 20mm and a diagonal dimension exceeding 53mm.

    The rules are designed to prevent heating elements and/or flames from being touched. If you think you can touch the flames or heating elements through the guard, check for compliance with the rules.


    The Regulations came into force on December 31, 1991 so most fires should comply with the regulations. Ensure that all fires and oil heaters are marked to say that they conform to BS 1945:1971 or European Standards and carry the CE mark. If they do not, check that a fire guard conforming to the above requirements is fitted.

    Gas Catalytic Heaters:

    The Gas Catalytic Heaters (Safety) Regulations 1984 prohibit the supply of heaters that contain asbestos. The DTI and Trading Standards advise that it is best policy to completely avoid supplying any gas catalytic heater in rented accommodation.

    Gas Hearth Fires:

    Gas hearth fires or fires supplied to be installed into a hearth do not have to have a built in fire guard provided that the installation meets the following specifications:

    No naked flame or incandescent part of the firebed projects more than 50 millimetres from the vertical plane of the fireplace opening.

    The forward projection of any naked flame or incandescent part of the firebed is enclosed on all sides except the front.

    There is a hearth which projects at least 300 millimetres in front of any naked flame (such as the pilot or burner) and any incandescent part of the firebed.

    The hearth and any surround that is fitted projects at least 150 millimetres beyond each side of the naked flame or incandescent part of the firebed at its widest point.

    The periphery of the hearth is at least 50 millimetres above the floor level.

    You should still consider whether to provide an independent fire guard to prevent anyone stepping too close.

    The Oil Heaters (Safety) Regulations 1977 apply to paraffin heaters. Controls cover stability, flame extinction and labelling.

    The Oil Heaters (Safety) Regulations 1977 apply to paraffin heaters and control the stability, flame extinction and labelling.

    If supplying such heaters in rented accommodation or holiday lets there are certain design and performance specifications, which must be complied with and all businesses are advised to check that they are complied with in order to reduce any risk of fire, including:

    Labels which warn against:

    using petrol as a fuel
    carrying the heater when alight
    using the heater in an unventilated place
    using the heater where it may be exposed to draughts; and
    for certain oil heaters, filling when alight.

    Warnings and instructions must be set out in legible and durable characters and be displayed upon the heater itself or on a permanently attached label. They should be headed ‘WARNING’ or ‘CAUTION’.

    The flame regulator must be easily accessible and capable of easy adjustment when the heater is alight.

    Heaters (other than those designed to operate only when fixed to rigid support) must have a self-extinguishing facility so that if overturned whilst alight, the flame will be automatically extinguished within 15 seconds.

    Oil heaters with a self-extinguishing facility must carry instructions about attention needed to maintain or restore their self-extinguishing capability.

    Heaters designed to stand on floor must be constructed so that when standing unsecured and whether empty or full, they can be titled to an angle of 15 degrees from the vertical in any direction without overturning. They must also have screw holes, a hook and chain or other means of securing them to prevent overturning.


    Ensure that all paraffin heaters comply with British Safety Standards.

    The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and the Low Voltage Electrical Equipment Regulations 1989 apply to anyone who supplies electrical equipment in the course of a business.

    The safety of any electrical equipment that is supplied as part of furnished accommodation that is hired or let is controlled by the Regulations.

    Because the Regulations operate with the same definition of 'supplier' as the Consumer Protection Act, letting agents and landlords are liable as suppliers. 

    The Regulations impose the obligation on the supplier of such goods to ensure that they are 'safe', so that there is no risk of death or personal injury to humans or pets, or risk of damage to property.

    When purchasing such items, your supplier should only be selling items which comply but if you make those items available to third parties in the course of your business – eg in holiday accommodation or part of a furnished letting – then you are also liable. Any business using an electric heating appliance is advised to check that the appliance meets these standards to reduce any fire risk.

    Both sets of Regulations relate to:

    the supply of electrical equipment designed with a working voltage of between 50 & 1000 volts a.c. (or between 75 & 1500 d.c)

    all mains voltage household electric goods including electric heaters but do not extend to fixed electrical wiring and built-in appliances (eg. central heating systems).

    For more information on the Regulations generally see:  Supply of Electrical Equipment


    Ensure that:

    All electrical equipment, including electric fires, comply with the current UK standards

    Where the safe use of the equipment relies upon the user being aware of any particular characteristic, suitable information or instruction booklets should be provided.  The instructions should be given in English.

    Any equipment is marked with the appropriate CE symbol

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Additional Reading:

Gas Cooking Appliances
Gas Heating Appliances
Gas Installation and Maintenance
Landlords and Holiday Lets

A Guide to Landlord's Duties under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations