Prime Minister, Liz Truss has announced the introduction of the Energy Price Guarantee, (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/energy-bills-support/energy-bills-support-factsheet-8-september-2022) to ensure that a typical household in Great Britain pays an average £2,500 a year on their energy bill, for the next 2 years, from 1 October 2022.
While this capped price is a relief to many, bills are still rising for those on variable rates from 1st October, when the new threshold kicks in. It is important to be aware that while rates may not be rising to the extreme levels that were expected without government intervention, they are still rising significantly. This, combined with inflation and the cost of living crisis, means that money is tight for an increasing number of households. It’s understandable that extra expense like servicing gas appliances may seem like an additional burden, but it is a vital piece of home maintenance, which can actually help to lower your bills.
Not only this, but gas safety checks protect your health, home and the lives of those within. A recent spate of fatal residential gas explosions has had tragic consequences. The CIPHE is concerned that households may be tempted to forgo important gas safety checks as they try to cut back on costs. If you are considering cancelling your annual gas boiler or gas cooker/ hob service, we hope we can change your mind with our gas safety tips.
1) An annual service can save you money
Gas appliances should be serviced annually to ensure they are working safely and efficiently. While this may seem like an expense, it will save you money in the long run as regularly serviced appliances are less likely to break down and tend to have longer lifespans. They also work more efficiently and effectively - Savings through efficiencies are most effective when unit prices for energy are at their highest.
An added bonus is you can talk to your installer about configuring your system for the best energy use. They can also talk you through any energy saving steps you can take in your home this winter. All systems and homes are different, so if you’ve ever wondered if it’s cheaper to keep your particular system constantly running, or just heat your home as and when, your installer can let you know.
2) Only employ a professional, Gas Safe registered installer for work on gas appliances
Not only is it against the law to employ an unregistered gas fitter, but it could also cost you your life. Poorly installed and maintained gas appliances are at best unreliable and expensive to fix, and at worst can be deadly. It is never worth the risk, even if their pricing looks appealing with the cost-of-living squeeze.
3) Make sure you check your installer’s ID
Installers should always carry their Gas Safe Register ID card and clients should always verify an engineer’s credentials. Anyone can verify a Gas Safe ID online at https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/
While we’re on the subject, did you also know that you can verify a CIPHE membership card online too?
4) Know the signs of incorrectly operating appliances
Be aware of the danger signs that appliances are not working correctly. These include:
- Lazy yellow or orange flames instead of crisp blue ones
- Black marks on or around the appliance
- Too much condensation in the room.
If you spot any of these signs, it’s time to call in a registered professional to have your appliance checked over. It’s better safe than sorry.
5) Know the signs of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning
Everyone needs to know the signs, including:
- Collapse and loss of consciousness.
These symptoms can be easy to confuse with illnesses such as coronavirus, so it’s vital to be extra vigilant. You can find out more about CO poisoning and symptoms on the CIPHE’s Carbon Monoxide page.
6) Always have a working Carbon Monoxide alarm
To stay safe, households should have an audible carbon monoxide alarm fitted. This will alert you if there is a carbon monoxide leak in your home. Portable alarms are a must to take on holiday too.
7) Test your alarm
Just like your smoke alarms, you should test your Carbon Monoxide alarm regularly. This is especially important if you have a battery powered alarm.
8) Set a safety check reminder
If it’s not quite time for your annual service, did you know that you can set an annual gas appliance safety check reminder (for free) at www.staygassafe.co.uk?
9) Know how to find an engineer
Our last point is, in many ways, the most important. If you don’t already have a regular, trusted, heating engineer, there are number of ways to find one. Head over to the CIPHE Find a Plumber or Heating Engineer online tool to search for heating engineers in your area, or visit the Gas Safe website direct at https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/