A third of UK adults (33%) don’t know the signs of an unsafe gas appliance, according to Gas Safe Register’s research
This Gas Safety Week (17-23 September) Gas Safe Register will be raising awareness about the dangers of unsafe gas appliances, with the support of the industry.
The potential warning signs that could indicate a gas appliance is unsafe were recognised by some people as; a lazy yellow flame (33%), the pilot light keeps going out (32%), black marks or stains on or around the appliances (29%) and increased condensation inside windows (12%).
One in six adults (17%) also admitted that they take no steps at all to ensure their home’s gas appliances are safe. Nearly half (47%) said they have their gas appliances checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer, two in five (38%) have an audible carbon monoxide alarm and one in three (29%) know to check that their gas engineer is on the Gas Safe Register.
The latest available statistics by awareness campaign group Project SHOUT say poisoning by carbon monoxide, which is odourless and colourless, causes around 50 deaths each year in the UK. More than 500 cases of CO poisoning involving under 18s were reported last year.
Industry body Gas Safe Register warns against checking or working on gas appliances yourself or using an illegal gas fitter. Currently only a fifth of people check an engineer’s ID card on arrival at their home.
To mark the eighth annual Gas Safety Week, Gas Safe Register has created a video to demonstrate how carbon monoxide can be missed from the home safety checks that people do to keep themselves and their family safe.
Jonathan Samuel, chief executive of Gas Safe Register said: “Carbon monoxide poisoning is known as the silent killer because you can’t see it, taste it or smell it. Our research shows that lots of people aren’t aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning or the potential warning signs that your gas appliance isn’t working safely. This Gas Safety Week we’re helping people find out more about how to keep their home’s gas safe and reminding everyone to not cut corners when it comes to getting their gas appliances checked on an annual basis.”
Gas Safe Register recommends that people get their gas appliances checked on an annual basis to ensure gas appliances are working safely and efficiently. However nearly a quarter (24%) of the 2,000 UK adults polled don’t follow this guidance and could be using illegal gas fitters as one in 10 (11%) said they don’t get their gas appliances checked, 8% don’t know if their engineer is Gas Safe registered (8%) and 5% try to maintain their gas appliances themselves.
Gas Safe Register recommends six simple steps to keep our families safe and warm in our homes:
- Only use a Gas Safe registered engineer.
- Double check both sides of your engineer’s Gas Safe Register ID card to know that they’re registered and qualified to work on your gas appliances.
- Have all gas appliances safety checked every year.
- Familiarise yourself with the six signs of carbon monoxide poisoning; headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, collapse and loss of consciousness.
- Check appliances for warning signs that they are not working properly, e.g. black marks or stains on or around the appliance, lazy yellow flames instead of crisp blue ones and condensation around the room.
- Fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm for a second line of defence against carbon monoxide poisoning.