The dangers of neglecting your gas appliances can be fatal, yet homeowners and landlords across the UK are risking lives by not booking their annual gas safety checks. Here, Sime’s Phil Birchenough explains why it’s so important.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is the cause of around 60 deaths a year in England and Wales. Despite this, people still don’t understand the dangers of the ‘silent killer’.

Research conducted by the Consumer Protection Alliance reported that 17% of people believe that they can check the safety of gas appliances themselves – an extremely worrying statistic.

Any work on your gas appliances must be undertaken by a Gas Safe registered installer.

Although many plumbers are gas safe registered – not all of them are. Don’t make the assumption that all heating engineers are Gas Sage registered as this is not the case.

According to the research, every three years thousands of illegal checks are completed and a large percentage of these are found to be unsafe. Therefore, many homeowners believe their appliances are safe to use when in reality, they might not be. You can check if your installer is registered on the Gas Safe register website.

When was the last time you had your gas appliances checked?

The research also found that 28% wouldn’t get their appliances assessed until they break down and 26% didn’t know that their boiler needs to be service annually. Missing an annual service could result in things going wrong further down the line.

This means that just over a quarter of people are unaware that they could be putting themselves and their family, in danger.

For landlords, it is a legal requirement to get all gas appliances checked annually in their property, as stated in the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. This means that the landlord is responsible for the safety of the tenants. The CP12 Certificate (Landlords’ Gas Safety Certificate) is issued once all the appropriate checks have been completed.

CO poisoning – know the symptoms

Should you fall victim to carbon monoxide, it’s important to recognise the symptoms as early as possible to minimise the risk of severe poisoning. The six main symptoms are:

– Headaches
– Dizziness
– Nausea
– Breathlessness
– Collapse
– Loss of consciousness

For more information about gas safety, or to find your nearest Gas Safe registered engineer, visit the Gas Safe website.