Gas Safety Week: Tragic Tales And Near Death Experiences

How to stay gas safe in rented accommodation

Without regular checks and servicing, your gas appliances could be putting you and your family’s lives at risk. If you don’t conduct an annual gas safety check or a regular service, there could be many faults with your gas appliances leading to a potential gas leak made up of toxic carbon monoxide.

We are here to share some of the tragic tales that have occurred to show how crucial gas safety is in your lives.

Jo’s Virus That Wouldn’t Go Away

Jo Brooks and her family were experiencing symptoms for several months putting their illness down to a virus that wouldn’t go away. But it wasn’t just an illness, Jo’s family were suffering from Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning. They had only realised it was Carbon Monoxide when they got a gas safety check and the gas safe engineer had found that a loose flue was leaking Carbon Monoxide back into their home.

“Every morning I’d stagger to work and feel like I was hungover even when I hadn’t had anything to drink. I put it down to a nasty virus. After the gas safety check, we got a brand-new central heating system, more CO alarms around the house and we now make sure we set a reminder for our annual gas safety check by a registered engineer.”

Joe continued to say “we are incredibly lucky and that it could have been a lot worse for us. I urge all families to make sure they know the symptoms of CO poisoning and make sure they get an annual gas safety check by a Gas Safe registered engineer”

How Gas Safe Leak Left Danielle Concerned For Babies

Danielle a mother of a two-week-old baby had been having issues with their hot water and heating when the family had moved into the house 18 months prior. No gas safety checks had taken place and no carbon monoxide (CO) alarms had been installed

When they decided to get a gas safe engineer to visit the home, he found that the boiler had been left in disrepair in the loft and it had been leaking into the ceiling. Due to a high wardrobe with things piled on top, the family had not seen the water damage, however when removing the items, a huge brown stain appeared.

The engineer was surprised the boiler was still working and had noticed the boiler had been leaking CO for some time. The only reason the family had not felt its affects was because the boiler was in the loft.

“I was faced with the realisation that I might have been poisoning my babies, due to my own negligence – it was too much.”

As a result of this the family ordered two CO alarms and started requesting quotes for a new boiler. The new boiler now has regular gas safety checks with a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Jade Is Feeling Lucky To Be Alive

Mother of two Jade knows only too well the importance of being aware of the danger’s gas can cause. After recently moving into a new property, Jade, like many new tenants did not find out if the gas appliances had been safety checked. As a result of this Jade and her family were exposed to Carbon Monoxide poisoning caused by a poorly maintained gas appliance.

“I feel extremely lucky that my family and I are alive. When we moved in the gas boiler had not been serviced in 18 months, but I was completely unaware of the dangers this posed.”

Jade continued “It was only after we all started to suffer from extreme dizziness, tiredness and sickness that I thought something could be wrong. I called out a registered engineer who condemned the boiler immediately.”

If you rent your home, your landlord is legally obliged to arrange a gas safety check for you every 12 months and must provide you with a copy of the gas safety record.

Rachel’s Story That Ended In Prison For ‘Gas Engineer’

Rachel and partner Ian unknowingly employed an unregistered gas worker to replace a boiler from their downstairs bathroom. Lee Lawrence from Amber Plumbing Solutions was displaying the Gas Safe Register logo on his website and business cards, falsely claiming to be registered.

Once installed, the boiler and the cooker started leaking. With the boiler not running for long before shutting down and staring to make a loud noise and creating a smell.

A Gas Safe registered engineer was then called in to make the property safe and provide a statement of the gas work that had been carried out. It was found that the flue to the gas boiler was unsafely connected.

The registered engineer classified the gas work in accordance with the Gas Industry Unsafe Situations Procedure as ‘Immediately Dangerous’. Due to the high costs of the work the homeowners who were looking to sell the house are no longer able to do so.

The unregistered gas fitter was charged with a 6-month prison sentence, 12-month suspension, 180 hours of community service, fined £2,385 and £5,400 compensation.

As a result, we recommend to always ask the gas safe engineer for their registered ID card before any work commences.

Hospital Treatment For Joanne Caused By Boiler Leak

Care worker Joanne and daughter are lucky to be alive after their boiler began leaking deadly gases. She and her teenage daughter Georgia had been feeling tired for weeks and Joanne’s doctor even did a blood test after she suddenly broke out in spots.

Joanne decided, on a whim, to dust down her carbon monoxide sensor and replace the batteries. It was only after she replaced the batteries in the sensor that she discovered what was wrong – the alarm detected a carbon monoxide leak and began sounding straight away.

Emergency service crews raced to their home in Bolton and they were both taken to hospital for treatment. Tests showed that Joanne had 10 per cent carbon monoxide poisoning and Georgia one per cent.

“You don’t think this sort of thing will happen to you. I’m just glad that we’re okay. I would definitely advise people to get a carbon monoxide alarm. It could save your life.”

After the incident Joanne said “We just feel lucky to be alive. I don’t know what made me replace those batteries when I did… I had been at work and when I returned home my boiler wasn’t working. I was feeling a bit confused and unwell… For some strange reason I picked up the carbon monoxide sensor and decided to replace the batteries.”

This shows how important it is to have Carbon Monoxide sensors installed into your house and to keep replacing the batteries. You could be unaware of the danger your putting yourself and your family in without one.

What You Need To Do…

If you haven’t had your gas appliances checked recently, for your own safety we urge you to get yours serviced and to install an audible carbon monoxide monitor in your home – it might just save your life one day. Arrange your gas safety check with us 


Your Responsibilities

As you are the resident of the property when renting the accommodation, it is your responsibility to complete maintenance on the gas appliances in a safe condition. The tenant should service the gas appliances in accordance with the frequency given in the manufacturer’s instructions. If these are not available, you should get in touch with your landlord and arrange an annual service unless advised otherwise by a gas safe engineer.

Any gas appliances owned by tenants are not the landlord’s responsibility, however the connecting pipework and chimney (if not solely connected to the tenant’s appliance) remains the responsibility of the landlord to maintain.

Gas Safety Records

When a registered gas engineer has completed a gas safety check in your home, they will record all of the checks they have carried out on a form. This is the Gas Safety Record, and it will list all of the appliances and fittings they have checked in the property.

When renting a property from a private landlord, the council, a housing association, student accommodation or any other landlord, they should provide you with a copy of the record within 28 days of the check being completed. If you are a new tenant, you should expect to be given a copy of the latest record upon moving into the residency. Find out more information on Gas Safety Records.

If you do not receive a Gas Safety Record from your landlord for your current property, you need to ask your landlord for this document. If they fail to do so, you need to report them to the HSE, because failing to follow gas safety requirements is a criminal offence and the HSE has the power to issue a formal caution and may prosecute your landlord.

Students Moving into a Rented Property

As a student you are like any other tenant in that your landlord needs to ensure that any gas appliances in the property are safe for you to use. It’s unlikely gas safety is at the top of your priorities, but know your rights and the warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning – it may just save your life one day.

The six symptoms of carbon monoxide (headache, muscle weakness, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, confusion, blurred vision, and loss of consciousness) can be mistaken for a hangover. To avoid this request for an audible carbon monoxide alarm with your landlord or you can buy a battery operated one at a DIY store. Usually the same cost of a good night out.

If you have any gas safety questions feel free to get in touch with us here.