The importance of being Gas Safe

At Rightio we believe in doing things right. From boilers to plumbing to locks to electrics, our expert engineers ensure we complete quality and efficient jobs while keeping our customers safe in the process. Jon Roden is a Rightio Engineer with more than 20 years’ experience; this week he visited a simple boiler service and used his expertise to solve a highly dangerous problem. Here he reflects on the job and highlights the importance of being Gas Safe.

I have been a gas and heating engineer for more than 20 years, mostly servicing and repairing gas appliances. Throughout the years I have come across some questionable boiler installations that could have led to horrible consequences. Issues often lie in ventilation and extensions to the home that have been built around existing systems are particularly problematic. This week I received a call to carry out a routine boiler service, yet even I was surprised at what I found.

The problem

It was a normal three-bedroom semi-detached home, with a Worcester Bosch boiler that was less than three years old and a vertical flue. The flue is a long pipe used to direct waste fumes from the boiler out of the house, keeping people safe from exposure to harmful chemicals. This particular boiler was located in an airing cupboard above eye level and there were water marks on the shelf underneath the flue. After checking that there were no leaks, I was instantly concerned that there may be a flue seal problem that could be putting the family at risk.

The cause

The owners had recently had a new roof fitted. Here it is important to note that when replacing roofing the flue should remain untouched, but if any alterations do have to be made, the completed job should be checked by a qualified Gas Safe engineer to ensure it is ok for the boiler to be turned back on.

In this case the flue had been taken apart by the contractors, put back together incorrectly and fitted incorrectly, damaging one of the pipes and leaving a separate large gap between the boiler and the flue before the boiler was turned back on. This allowed toxic fumes from the running boiler to leak directly into a little girl’s bedroom.

Putting it right

While we’ve all heard the horror stories about carbon monoxide poisoning, it is clear that these situations can easily become a reality. After getting to the route of the problem, I immediately made the boiler safe for this family home, priced up a replacement flue and had a cordial conversation with the roofer to advise him of the dangers of adjusting the flue.

It’s moments like these that make me so passionate about gas safety. This is why it is important to have regular boiler servicing – at Rightio, we always check the flue for adequate support and carefully look for any installation defects, testing the connections with combustion gas analysers to ensure everything is sealed correctly. Home owners should also always use a Gas Safe engineer for any repairs or alterations you need to make on your boiler. Your life could depend on it.

To find out more about gas safety and boiler servicing at Rightio, please visit https://www.rightio.co.uk or give us a call on 0800 331 7070.