UK gas consumers fail to spot deadly gas appliances

Gas Safe Register – the UK’s gas safety authority - is urging people to get gas appliances in their homes safety checked after a new study reveals more than nine in 10 UK gas consumers cannot identify deadly appliances.

Gas Safe Register showed 1,200 gas consumers 10 photographs of gas appliances. Eight were life threatening and two were completely safe. Worryingly, nearly all respondents (95 per cent) thought at least one of the potentially deadly appliances was safe, while one in 17 people (6 per cent) thought all eight dangerous appliances were safe. Only one person correctly identified all 10 appliances as safe or dangerous.

Six of the eight dangerous appliances shown could have resulted in a gas leak, fire, explosion or carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, but were safety checked before anyone was hurt. The other two unsafe appliances were investigated by the Register after they had already leaked deadly CO fumes – in one case tragically killing the homeowner and, in the other, hospitalising a family. When gas consumers were shown a picture of the gas fire that resulted in a fatality, nearly half thought it looked safe (48 per cent).

Respondents were also asked if they would get each of the dangerous appliances checked if they were in their own home. One in 11 people said they would, but only if it broke down, and one in 14 wouldn’t get it checked at all. However, as Gas Safe Register’s survey shows, the only way to know if an appliance is safe or not is to have it safety checked annually.

Sarah Hill, stakeholder manager for Gas Safe Register, said:

“Our research backs up what we, as the UK gas authority, already know - people cannot spot a deadly gas appliance as often there are no obvious signs. That’s why it’s vital to get your gas appliances safety checked regularly by a registered engineer, who has the skills and the know-how to spot the dangers. Sadly, we also know that the consequences if you don’t can be serious, especially when CO is involved as you can’t see it, taste it or smell it.

“There is also a misconception among the public that newer appliances are safer than old ones, with more than one in five people thinking if an appliance has been fitted in the past five years it will be safe.

“Even if an appliance is fitted safely, it can become dangerous any number of years following installation if it is not properly maintained. To help you remember to get your appliances checked every year, sign up to our free reminder service at”

Keep you and your family safe, follow Gas Safe Register’s advice:

  • You cannot always spot an unsafe gas appliance, have your gas appliances serviced and safety checked at least every 12 months. Sign up to a free reminder service by visiting
  • Always use a Gas Safe registered engineer when having gas work carried out in your home. You can find a registered engineer in your area by calling Gas Safe Register on 0800 408 5500 or by visiting
  • Check the front and back of your engineer’s Gas Safe Register ID card, making sure they are qualified to do the specific type of gas work you require.
  • Install an audible carbon monoxide alarm which will alert you if dangerous levels are present in your home.
  • If you smell gas or think there might be a gas leak, call the free 24 hour national gas emergency number immediately on 0800 111 999.