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Web chats tv | Archived consumer chats | Are you gas aware?

Web chats tv: Are you gas aware?

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A new report released by CORGI has revealed that homeowners are still not fully aware of the dangers of poisoning from their gas appliances. More than half of the homeowners questioned admitted that they would not be getting their gas appliances checked before the winter, although the colder season is when many gas-related fatalities occur.

Each year there are around 30 deaths and several hundred injuries from Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Raising awareness of gas safety amongst homeowners would play a vital part in reducing the level of fatalities. CORGI’s research shows a worrying number of homeowners in England and Wales are unprepared for the Government’s introduction of the Home Information Pack and the changes this will bring.

Almost half of those questioned weren’t even aware that the home buying process would be affected by the introduction of the Home Information Pack. Essentially the "log book" for every home sale, Home Information Packs will give a detailed assessment of a home's condition. It will place the onus on sellers to make sure their home is up to standard before it is put on the market. A certificate from CORGI (called a Declaration of Safety) will be a necessary part of the Home Information Pack.

How much do you know about the Home Information Pack? Have you got a Declaration of Safety certificate? Are you a gas aware homeowner? If not, find out what you should you be doing to stay safe.

CORGI expert Brian Adams joined us online on Tuesday 27th September at 1430hrs to answer your questions.


Good afternoon, everyone. We’re joined today by Brian Adams from CORGI.


Reg wants to know:

Why do we need these new Home Information Packs and how do I get one?


Brian Adams aid:


The Government have said that the Home Information Pack will be introduced from 2007. The home seller will have to put this together with the help of a solicitor or estate agent. It will contain information on planning permissions, building regulations and other searches, and the CORGI safety certificate will form an essential part of the pack. The idea of the Pack is to speed up the home buying process.


HG Smith wants to know:


How long is the certificate valid for? I worry that given the amount of time it can take to sell a house it can be out of date by the time the property is sold.


Brian said:


The CORGI safety certificate will be issued at the time a gas appliance is installed e.g. boiler, fire or cooker. The certificate will not expire but CORGI recommends that gas appliances be checked annually to ensure that they are safe. You should keep all certificates and documentation safe for inclusion in the HIP.


Johanna Matthews wants to know:


How will CORGI be able to issue a Declaration of Safety unless all gas installations have been inspected by CORGI? What about those householders who have installed their own gas appliances?


Brian said:


CORGI is issuing the safety certificate (or Declaration of Safety) on behalf of the CORGI registered installer who fits the appliance. When notifying CORGI, the registered installer is confirming that the appliance complies with all the necessary standards and regulations. CORGI will be inspecting a sample of these appliances as part of its ongoing inspection process. Householders who are competent to install their own gas appliances (i.e. they hold the relevant certificates of competence that gas installers hold) would need to call in building control in order to meet the new Building Regulations requirements.


JJ wants to know:


How do I know that a CORGI engineer is any better than every other plumber when it comes to testing and certification?


Brian said:


Any business that works on gas must be CORGI registered. In order to register with CORGI they must be able to prove that they hold the right qualifications and experience to carry out gas work and are safe to do so.


Barry wants to know:


Isn't this just a charter for CORGI engineers to make even more money?


Brian said:


No. CORGI is a not for profit organisation who's remit is strictly the enforcement of gas safety. The changes that have been recently introduced with the HIP and Building Regulations are Government initiatives.


Martin Petersen wants to know:


My house is on the market at the moment and I don't have a certificate - what do I do?


Brian said:


The HIP will be introduced in 2007 - so you won't need a pack until then. You should just make sure that if you've had any appliances installed since April 2005 you have all the relevant certificates. If you don't, then get in touch with your CORGI registered installer.


dsa wants to know:


How often do I need to check household gas appliances? 


Brian Adams said:


CORGI recommends that your appliances should be checked annually by a CORGI registered installer.


David wants to know:


How do I know if I'm getting the best person to do this certificate?


Brian said:


Ensure that you always use a CORGI registered installer, and check their CORGI ID card before they do any work.


May wants to know:


What's the connection with the Labour party conference? 


Brian said:


We are here at the Labour Party Conference to ensure that gas safety remains at the top of political agenda.


Adam wants to know:


If we can't see or smell carbon monoxide poisoning, how on earth do you know if you know if you are in danger.


Brian  said:


That is a good question Adam. Carbon Monoxide is indeed a silent killer which is why we must all ensure our appliances are checked annually by a CORGI registered installer and look out for warning signs such as sooting and staining around the appliance, excess condensation in the room or a lazy orange flame in the pilot light.


Tess wants to know:


I just turned the central heating on after several months and I can't put my finger on it but something doesn't seem quite right with my boiler - the pilot light in my boiler looks very flickery and orange, should I get it checked? I only ask, as I don't want to get stung for a callout charge only to find it’s nothing.


Brian said:


If you have any concerns about your gas appliance (and the flickery orange flame does concern me), always get your appliance checked by a CORGI registered installer before you use it.


Charles wants to know:


I read something recently that carbon monoxide detectors are a complete waste of money. Is that true?


Brian said:


Audible Carbon Monoxide detectors are a very useful second line of defence in addition to getting appliances installed correctly and then checked annually by a CORGI registered installer. We certainly do not recommend the use of small patch tests that change colour, or those that do not meet British Standards. A good Carbon Monoxide detector costs around £35 - what price can you put on your safety and that of your family?


Judith wants to know:


I'm about to get a new central heating system fitted, are there particular types of boilers you would recommend to ensure simple maintenance and regular passing of these tests?


Brian said:


You should seek the advice of your CORGI registered installer who will ensure that the boiler installed in your property will be meet your heating and hot water requirements safely.


Mrs C wants to know:


I had my equipment checked a few months back by a plumber; do I have to get it done again?


Brian said:


Was the plumber CORGI registered? If he was, then we recommend you get it checked again after 12 months unless you have a specific safety concern. If the plumber wasn't CORGI registered please contact CORGI. We can investigate this matter and report any illegal gas work to the authorities. If you have any doubts about the safety of your appliance, do not use it until it has been checked by a CORGI registered installer.


Ian wants to know:


I don't have a gas boiler, just a small gas cooker, do I have to go through all this palaver just for that? 


Brian said:


Gas cookers can still emit dangerous carbon monoxide fumes if they don't work properly. So, you must still use a CORGI registered installer to install and check it annually. If you have had it installed since April 2005, you should have received a safety certificate from CORGI.


Estelle wants to know:


What happens if I lose my CORGI Declaration of Safety Certificate? Can I get another one?

Brian said:


You can contact CORGI and we can arrange for it to be reissued.


Millie wants to know:


An engineer checked my home a few weeks ago but my family keep complaining of sleeping badly and headaches. I didn't connect the two until I saw this chat, what should I do?


Brian said:


If you have any concerns, you must stop using the appliance immediately and contact the CORGI installer. If you are still concerned, you can contact CORGI. We can arrange for a CORGI inspector to attend and ensure that your appliance is safe.


Eugene wants to know:


Is the price a CORGI certified gas installer can charge regulated? Some CORGI gas installers seem quite expensive to me.


Brian said:


CORGI's remit is to maintain a register of competent gas installers. That means that gas safety is our main priority and we are unable to get involved with any pricing or customer service issues. We always recommend that you seek alternative quotes and recommendations from friends and neighbours to ensure you are getting a fair deal - just make sure that they are CORGI registered before you use them. Remember to check their CORGI ID card!


Janice wants to know:


This may sound like a really dumb question but I didn't even know gas appliances needed regular checks. I've been in this house 5 years and I don't recall being warned about this?


Brian said:


It certainly isn't a dumb question. We recommend that you get your appliances checked annually, and if you haven't had them checked for 5 years, I urge you to contact a CORGI registered installer who can ensure that they are working safely and efficiently.


Vivian wants to know:


I'm not surprised you say that half those questioned weren't aware of this pack. I'm certainly not, whose idea was it and when does it all have to be done by?


Brian said:


The Government are introducing these changes, which become law in 2007. I am sure that there will be a lot more publicity from the Government soon. For further information you can contact the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.


Tom wants to know:


Can people go to prison or be fined if they are caught charging people to fix their gas appliances without being CORGI registered?


Brian said:


Yes they can. A landlord was recently jailed for manslaughter for 5 years and his handyman (who wasn't CORGI registered) was jailed for 3.


Laurence wants to know:


How do we find out more info?


Brian said:


You can contact CORGI by calling 0870 401 2300 or visit our website

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