Silent night, silent killer

Annual checks on gas appliances should always be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer
Annual checks on gas appliances should always be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer

The ‘silent killer’, carbon monoxide (CO), could be putting UK households at risk this Christmas as more than a quarter of homeowners admit they haven’t taken steps to protect their property, including getting their gas appliances safety checked.

The 2,000 UK adults polled also confessed to not knowing the signs to look out for to spot if their gas appliances are unsafe or recognise the symptoms of CO poisoning, which is caused by appliances not burning the fuel fully.

Twenty-seven per cent of respondents said they haven’t had their boiler serviced in the last year even though an annual gas safety check is recommended by Gas Safe Register to ensure gas appliances are working safely and efficiently.

A fifth (22%) of households said a CO leak at home is the Christmas ‘present’ they’d least welcome. However, a third (34%) don’t have, or don’t know if they have, a working audible CO alarm to alert them to a leak, and more than half of those asked didn’t recognise breathlessness and collapsing as symptoms of CO poisoning. Other CO poisoning symptoms include nausea, headaches dizziness and a loss of consciousness.

Many of those polled correctly identified signs of unsafe gas appliances which include: increased condensation (85%), lazy yellow flames (76%), dark stains around gas appliances (76%) and the boiler’s pilot light blowing out (67%). However, people also selected incorrect options thinking they would be a sign of unsafe appliances: green flames (21%), flickering light bulbs (11%) and leaking taps (four per cent).

To find out more about the dangers, preventable measures and to find a Gas Safe registered engineer visit: www.gassaferegister.co.uk