5.5 million Brits are failing to get gas safety checks

More than 5.5 million people in the UK are putting their health and finances at risk by not getting their gas appliances safety checked every year – which according to a new survey among gas engineers costs as little as £60.

In the last year there have been more than 67,000 gas emergency call outs to homes in the UK, the equivalent of 186 every day. On top of which, the gas authority – Gas Safe Register – has found dangerous gas appliances lurking in one in six of the 142,000 homes it has inspected in the past five years. These dangers have led to six deaths and more than 300 injuries in the last year alone.

Left unchecked, gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Not only can these kill you, they can also result in damage to your home which can run into thousands of pounds to rectify. Common problems associated with faulty or badly maintained gas appliances include black staining on surrounding walls, burst gas pipes, excessive condensation and in extreme cases, house fires and explosions.

Having a gas safety check is a legal requirement for landlords, however for homeowners the onus is on them to get this done. To mark this year’s Gas Safety Week, Gas Safe Register is calling on homeowners to protect themselves and their property by having a safety check.

Jonathan Samuel, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, comments:

“With the average cost of safety checking your gas boiler at just £60, it’s a small price to pay to keep you and your family safe and prevent damage to your home. While we’re seeing more people getting gas safety checks compared to last year, millions are still taking risks so we’re reminding people to make sure all their gas appliances are safety checked every year.”

Across the UK, the West Midlands has the highest number of homes with unsafe gas appliances (one in four were unsafe) compared to the East Midlands where the fewest number of homes with unsafe gas appliances was found (one in nine were unsafe).

Mother of two Jade Ullrich from Newquay knows only too well the importance of being aware of potential gas dangers. After moving into a new property, Jade, like many other gas consumers, did not find out if the gas appliances had been safety checked. Jade was pregnant at the time and for around a year she and her family suffered from CO poisoning caused by a poorly maintained gas appliance.

Jade said:

“I feel extremely lucky that my family and I are alive. When we moved in the gas boiler had not been serviced in 18 months but I was completely unaware of the dangers this posed. It was only after we all started to suffer from extreme dizziness, tiredness and sickness that I thought something could be wrong. I called out a registered engineer who condemned the boiler immediately.”

The public can find out the number of unsafe gas appliances and gas incidents there have been in their local neighbourhood by visiting Gas Safe Register’s interactive gas map at StayGasSafe.co.uk. People can also sign up to a free annual gas safety check reminder service.

To keep you and your family safe, follow Gas Safe Register’s top tips:

  • Get your gas appliances safety checked and serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer every year. If you live in rented accommodation your landlord has a legal obligation to get this done.
  • Recognise the warning signs that your gas appliances are not working properly including lazy yellow flames and black marks around the appliance.
  • Know the symptoms of CO poisoning, including headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness.