As Gas Safety Week takes place, research by the AA’s Home Emergency Response service reveals that fewer than half of households (42%) have a carbon monoxide alarm in their home that they check each year.
Every year in the UK around 50 people die from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, and 200 people are left seriously ill. The gas is known as “the silent killer” because it has no odour or taste and can kill quickly.
Many cases where the “silent killer” seeps into homes are caused by gas appliances in poor condition that have not been serviced.
The AA’s Home Assist engineers regularly come across gas appliances that are badly maintained or in a dangerous state.
Ryan Murphy, the AA’s Home Assist Engineer of the Year said: “When you see what a bad state some customer’s boilers are in, it’s a wonder they’ve lasted so long without something going seriously wrong.
“Having temperamental heating and hot water can be really inconvenient, but a carbon monoxide leak can kill.
“If you smell gas you should call the emergency gas number immediately and open all of your windows and doors.
“Gas has an odour which is easily identifiable but carbon monoxide doesn’t. The only effective way to tell if lethal gas is present is by having a carbon monoxide alarm or alarms in your home. They aren’t expensive and are available from most hardware stores. If you don’t have one, you might not know you have a leak until you start to become unwell. Flu-like symptoms are the first sign.
“An annual boiler service will make sure your boiler is working safely and regular checks or replacement of your carbon monoxide alarm will find any underlying safety issues and ensure your boiler is working as efficiently and economically as possible. In addition, regular checks or replacement of your carbon monoxide alarm is essential.”
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