26,000 unsafe appliances found in British homes

British Gas engineers have found more than 26,000 unsafe electrical and gas appliances in customer homes as part of routine safety checks carried out when installing energy meters.

The figures cover the first seven months of this year alone, with unsafe appliances detected in one in 20 homes visited.

The most common faults were found with boilers and old cookers.

One customer was found to have a gas cooker that was leaking dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, British Gas said.

The energy provider is urging people to have their gas and electrical appliances checked by a qualified engineer.

In a survey, almost two thirds (63%) of consumers admitted they had used an appliance despite it being faulty, and one in 10 (9%) would ‘probably still use’ an appliance if they saw it spark.

Another 8% said that a fire had started in their home because of a broken appliance.

Lauren Vazquez, engineer and safety expert for British Gas, said: “We all have so many gadgets in the house nowadays that it can be difficult to keep on top of them all, but it’s important to keep an eye on whether they’re working as they should. Some of the unsafe appliances we’ve come across could have had a devastating effect on our customers’ health and safety, had we not identified them.”

British Gas also highlighted the importance of having carbon monoxide detectors.

“You can’t hear it, see it, taste it or smell it, and it kills around 30 people a year — but fortunately, carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable,” Vazquez added.

“Tell-tale signs of a carbon monoxide leak include sooty stains on your fuel burning appliances, finding your gas fire has become difficult to light, and spotting that the flame on your boiler is burning yellow or orange instead of blue.

“Faulty central heating systems are one of the most common sources of carbon monoxide in the home — so as well getting your boiler checked once a year, it’s essential to have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted, and to call an expertly-trained engineer if you have any concerns.”

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