Stories of carbon monoxide poisoning have long been in the news but do unfortunately keep appearing over time with tragic consequences.
From individuals to family groups, houses of multiple occupation to holiday homes, deaths from faulty boiler equipment are a common silent killer with few clues to impending tragedy save flu-like symptoms which improve when outdoors.
However, regular gas safety inspections for the presence of carbon monoxide can prevent problems with faulty gas equipment before they even happen; gas fires, boilers, and even ovens are potential problem areas, especially for landlords, where either natural equipment wear and tear, or simple misuse can create potentially fatal issues. Landlords who don’t hold a current CP12 gas safety certificate are operating outside the law, and technically uninsured. Since the typical charge for a CP12 certificate is relatively small, not carrying out the proper gas safety checks seems inexplicable, especially when the alternative is at best faulty equipment, and at worst, a potential criminal negligence case.
House of Multiple Occupants
A sensible start for an HMO (house of multiple occupation) is to have carbon monoxide detectors installed in each room where equipment could potentially cause danger to residents, namely kitchens, rooms with boilers, and rooms with gas fires. These should be checked and replaced regularly, particularly if battery-operated. There are visual clues with appliances as to whether they are potentially giving off hazardous emissions; flames will burn orange rather than blue, and you may notice sooty stains above appliances, were there has been nothing previously. In addition, the appliance may become difficult to light, implying a dangerous blockage somewhere.
Inefficiency = Costly
Even if the equipment in question isn’t potentially hazardous to health, it may still be operating at a less than optimal capacity. For example, a boiler that is perfectly safe can still be the culprit if energy bills are exceptionally high through working inefficiently. It is recommended that you have your gas boiler serviced once a year – and if you are a landlord, that is a necessity. Your energy provider will most likely be able to arrange this for you, and an engineer will check, clean, and repair or replace any parts of your boiler that are not working properly, and test for any dangerous emissions. Although this service isn’t free, many suppliers offer packages to cover boiler replacement and annual servicing, with some offering insurance packages with yearly servicing as part of the deal.
Keeping an eye on your own boiler is vital to keep costs down – a yearly service, despite the initial outgoing, will prevent large expenses later on. Making sure you have a list of local Gas Safe registered engineers for emergency use is essential so that you don’t have to panic when things go wrong, and you have no heating and hot water. Like anything to do with utilities repair and maintenance, you should never attempt any work on your boiler yourself.
Just as you wouldn’t neglect your car, you shouldn’t neglect your boiler – both can be hazardous when faulty, and even if they don’t break down in a dangerous way, faults can be tedious, inconvenient, and expensive.