Warning after dangerous gas appliances are found in homes
DANGEROUS gas appliances were found in tests carried out at Derby homes.
Gas Safe Register, which polices the appliance installation industry, said that, in the past year, its experts were called out five times to check suspect equipment in the city.
It said three of the appliances were deemed immediately dangerous, posing a risk of leaking carbon monoxide – a deadly gas. The gas has no smell or taste, making it almost impossible to detect.
The register said the appliances involved were all installed by unregistered engineers. It is against the law for anyone to do work on gas appliances unless they are Gas Safe registered.
The organisation said its research showed more than 12% of people in the country would use an unregistered gas engineer or friend in order to save money.
Paul Johnston, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, said: "It is vital that only a Gas Safe registered engineer fixes, fits and services your gas appliances.
"Homeowners should arrange a gas safety check and service each year by a registered engineer. For those people renting homes, they should ensure they have seen a current gas safety record from their landlord, which is a legal requirement."
Department of Health research shows that around 4,000 people a year nationally need hospital treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning.
In the last year, there have been more than 50 deaths as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning, with 16 of those attributable to faulty gas appliances. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness.
Mr Johnston said: "Gas work carried out by anyone unregistered not only could pose a risk to your health but also could cost a lot financially to fix.
"Our statistics show homeowners have to pay out an average of 25% more to get the defects rectified. When you're having a new appliance fitted, such as a boiler, you could be out of pocket by hundreds of pounds."
Ron Gainsford, chief executive for the Trading Standards Institute, said: "Using an unregistered gas engineer is not a way to save money – these people are working illegally.
"We are very concerned at these new figures, which show that 60 per cent of appliances were deemed immediately dangerous in Derby and would urge anyone affected by these rogue traders to contact Gas Safe Register or call the Citizens' Advice customer helpline on 08454 04 05 06, who can then crack down on these criminals."