Release Date: 15-Jul-2008
Now that summer has finally arrived, heating systems are probably the last things on your minds - but that makes it the ideal time to make sure all your appliances are working properly.
Anyone with gas, oil or solid fuel appliances and heating systems should get them serviced regularly by qualified contractors to make sure they don’t pose a risk of carbon monoxide, also known as the ‘silent killer.’
Gas boilers are the most common culprit and should be checked and maintained every year by a CORGI-registered engineer. Solid fuel systems also pose a risk and need to be swept and checked regularly.
Unlike gas, carbon monoxide has no smell and you might not know there’s a problem until it’s too late - and Yorkshire is one of the worst affected areas.
Safety campaigner, Stacey Rodgers, who lost her son Dominic to carbon monoxide poisoning four years ago, said:
“Heating and gas engineers are usually less busy in the summer than in the winter, so this is a really good time to call someone out to check that everything’s working safely and properly.
“That way, you’ll have the peace of mind that your appliances are safe to use, and you also won’t need to worry about them breaking down when the weather turns colder and you need to start using them again.”
If you’re a Council tenant, servicing is carried out automatically - but it’s very important that you let the engineers in to do the work.
If you’re a private tenant, your landlord has a legal duty to get all gas appliances safety checked. If this hasn’t been done in 12 months, contact your landlord or call the Health & Safety Executive’s Gas Safety section if he/she refuses - 0800 300 363.
If you’re a home-owner, you’ll find a list of CORGI-registered gas installers in the Yellow Pages - or you can call the CORGI helpline on 0800 915 0485 to find your nearest supplier. The cost of a safety check starts at around £40, depending on your appliances and the supplier.
Even if you have your appliances checked and serviced, there are other things you can do to protect your self and your family from carbon monoxide:
• Never be tempted to do DIY on gas appliances and only use a CORGI-registered engineer - check their ID card carefully.
• It’s important to keep your home well ventilated - never be tempted to block up air vents and open the windows regularly, even during the winter.
• For added peace of mind - but never instead of a service - you can also buy an audible carbon monoxide detector and alarm, available from most supermarkets and DIY stores. In order to be effective, they must meet safety standards - EN50291 (European) & BS7860 (British). These cost around £20 but they last for several years.
• If you think carbon monoxide is in your home, turn off appliances and seek medical attention immediately. Ring the Emergency Service Provider (formerly Transco) on 0800 111 999 to turn off the gas.
Note: KCOAG received national recognition for their campaign work when they won the ‘best gas safety initiative’ at the annual CORGI awards in 2007. They were also praised by Health and Safety Minister, Lord McKenzie of Luton, who visited Kirklees last October to find out more about KCOAG’s work.
The group formed in 2006 to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide and to encourage people to have their appliances regularly serviced.
It includes Stacey Rodgers and staff from Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH), Kirklees Council, Sadeh Lok Housing Association, Northern Gas Networks, PH Jones and CORGI.