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27 July 2010 - GAS SAFE NEWS

Don’t risk lives to save pennies with dangerous DIY

Recession-hit Brits could be putting their lives and homes at risk by carrying out dangerous DIY to save money, warns Gas Safe Register. New research has found that nearly 1 in 3 (31%) people would fit a gas appliance in the hope of saving as little as £60.

This is a concern for Gas Safe Register, the official list of gas engineers. Three out of four people (75%) admit they would rather DIY than leave it to the professionals, but worryingly only 23% said they were any good at it. Gas Safe Register advises that even if you think you are good at DIY, you should never work on gas. Only Gas Safe registered engineers can work on gas in your home – it’s the law and will keep you safe.

DIY on gas appliances is not the only concern. Other DIY activities could also have a dangerous affect on gas in your home. Wallpapering over air vents, covering up gas pipes or accidentally hammering into one while laying a carpet, for example, could result in a build up of deadly carbon monoxide, gas leaks, fires and explosions.

Jamie Cooper from Gas Safe Register, well known for his work with BBC’s Rogue Traders and Cowboy Trap, warns people about dangerous DIY gas work:

“While the most capable of do-it-yourselfers might like to tackle things such as plumbing and tiling, when it comes to gas it’s not worth taking the risk. I’ve seen the aftermath of gas jobs that have gone wrong and it’s frightening what can happen. And it’s not just DIY gas work that is dangerous. Accidentally covering or blocking up air vents, or drilling into gas pipes by mistake can have serious consequences for you and your family.”

“For most gas jobs, the costs to call in a legal gas engineer are very modest. On average Gas Safe registered engineers charge £113 for fitting a new gas fire and £61 for a gas cooker. So why take the risk? It will cost you more money to put a DIY job right. But more frightening is the fact that badly fitted gas appliances can lead to fires, explosions, gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning. These incidents killed 18 people in the UK last year and hospitalised a further 310. I would urge anyone considering gas DIY to leave it to the professionals.”

Added Jamie Cooper: “During these hard economic times money is a big factor in household decisions, but when it comes to the safety of your family and home you can’t put a price on that by risking DIY on gas.”

Doing DIY? Follow Gas Safe Register’s top tips to stay gas safe:

  • Never DIY with gas appliances. Fitting a gas fire or cooker may look like a simple job but it’s not.
  • Always use a Gas Safe registered engineer and check their Gas Safe ID card to make sure they are qualified to do the work you want them to do.
  • Never block or cover air vents and flues. This could cause a build up of deadly gas fumes.
  • Never attempt to remove back boilers and fires* yourself. This could leave pipes and gas flues exposed.
  • Don’t cover up gas pipes without treating them with wrapping tape or paint first as this could cause them to rot and leak gas.
  • Know where your gas pipes are located so you don’t accidentally hammer or drill into them. Pipe detectors are available from most DIY shops.
  • If you’re doing general building or having a shed, extension or conservatory built make sure your boiler’s flue isn’t blocked.

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