I’m pretty certain when you invest your hard earned money into property and the rental market the last thing you would expect is a prison sentence. Neither did Christopher Hobaiter of Harburn, Stockton-on-Tees. His rental property had wall ventilation grills that supplied air to the boiler. These ventilation grills were blocked up for some time. The appliance was then discovered to be leaking deadly Carbon Monoxide into the living room. This was enough for Christopher to be sentenced to 26 weeks in prison suspended for 24 months and charged £1904.02 in costs.*
Any tenant or owner of a property that has a gas supply is entitled to contact Gas Safe directly and request for Gas Safe themselves to check the property they occupy at no cost. This would be done if you are not happy with any work done on your gas installation or if you suspect something is wrong with the gas installation and your landlord is not willing to rectify the issue. This service would not be suitable for a boiler breakdown or if you need a landlords gas safety certificate.
Last month I was called out to a boiler breakdown which I repaired and I discovered that the air vents in the wall were also blocked up because the occupant sometimes felt a draft that they didn’t like. If a gas appliance does not have enough oxygen the flame will be distorted and will produce a much higher level of Carbon Monoxide (an odourless deadly gas which is heavier than air). After making the occupant aware of the risks I was given permission to unblock the vents.
On another job I was asked to cap off a gas fire which was in a bathroom of all places. We passed through the living room I noticed something wrong with the gas fire in the living room. After checking the manufacturer’s instructions it was confirmed that the new laminate floor the occupant had fitted was positioned too close to the fire. The fire needed a certain amount of space around it where no flammable material was allowed.
The most common issue I come across when servicing or checking gas boilers is not being able to service or check the boiler, because the boiler is situated in a fitted kitchen and the kitchen fitter has not checked the manufacturer’s instructions of the boiler to see the clearance required to service the boiler. So I’m left to give bad news to the customer who has paid thousands for a new kitchen that they are going to either pay me more to modify the cupboard around the boiler in order to service it, or to try to get the kitchen fitter back to rectify the mistake. If a gas appliance can not be serviced this breaches the Gas Safe regulations.
*Referenced from Registered Gas Engineer issue 93