Make sure your gas boiler is safe before the clocks go back

When the clocks go back this weekend (2am on Sunday, October 29th), it will often be the first time that people put their heating on for the winter months.

It is no coincidence that this is the time when heating engineers receive a record number of calls from homeowners discovering faults with their boilers.

Cutting edge British software company Gas Tag is warning people to be aware of the dangers of failing to carry out proper gas safety checks. They know that one in six homes in the UK are thought to have an unsafe gas appliance, putting people at risk from the ‘silent killer’ – carbon monoxide poisoning.

The company, which has created ground-breaking technology to ensure that gas work in homes is up to date and up to standard, is also challenging the UK’s big housing providers and private landlords to keep proper tabs on gas safety for all their tenants.

Paul Durose, co-founder and CEO of Gas Tag, said: “This is a vital time of the year for people to check their boilers are safe. It’s not even enough to check your own boiler, but your neighbour’s too.

“There have been too many incidences of people being poisoned by a neighbour’s faulty boiler after deadly fumes have seeped through an adjoining loft and numerous houses in a street being damaged in gas explosions.”

Gas Tag has put together the following information and advice ahead of the end of British Summer Time:

  • Millions at risk in UK: Research from the Gas Safe Register shows that 5 million people across the UK are putting themselves at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, fires and explosions by employing illegal gas engineers who are not properly qualified.
  • Protect your children: There has been an increase in the number of children suffering from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning. According to a new report by Project SHOUT, more than 500 cases involving under 18s were reported last year. The worst areas in the UK are London, the Midlands and East Anglia.
  • Beware illegal fitters: A worrying 65% of gas jobs carried out by illegal fitters are unsafe and one in five gas appliances they work on are so dangerous that they have to be disconnected immediately.
  • Don’t be shy to ask for ID: One in five people who employ a tradesperson to work on a gas appliance do not check their ID card or qualifications so it’s not surprising that around 1.1 million gas jobs are carried out every year by illegal gas fitters. Research shows that 16% of people would trust an engineer if they said they were registered, rather than checking their ID card. Is it because the British are too shy to ask? Whatever the reason, it’s vital to check your engineer’s Gas Safe Register ID card.
  • Check: By law, all gas engineers must be on the Gas Safe Register to work safely and legally on gas appliances. Click here to find a business or check an engineer.
  • Landlords beware: Have all your gas appliances serviced and safety checked every year. If you rent your home ask for a copy of the landlord’s current Gas Safety Record. If you rent out a room in your house – even an Airbnb room – you are officially a landlord and legally require this annual check. Out of 5m private landlords, half don’t get an annual gas safety certificate done
  • Know the symptoms: Know the six signs of carbon monoxide poisoning – headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, collapse and loss of consciousness.
  • Fit a Gas Tag to your property: This innovative technology provides geo-tagged, time-stamped and photo-verified evidence of all gas work carried out. It not only helps to keep tenants safe, but also provides an audit trail for compliance.
  • Fit an alarm: Fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm: 91% of people have smoke alarms in their homes, yet only 30% are thought to have CO alarms.
  • SOS: 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.
  • Celebrities escaping carbon monoxide poisoning: Nadine Coyle of Girls Aloud thought she had a bad dose of flu when she was living in California, but was in fact suffering from deadly carbon monoxide poisoning. It was only after she called out an engineer that she discovered that her boiler was faulty. Singer Charlotte Church also escaped carbon monoxide poisoning after she discovered her boiler was leaking the deadly gas into her family home in South Wales. She had been complaining of headaches and was advised by her grandad to have a CO detector fitted in her home.

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