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New research published by the Gas Safe Register has revealed that 25% of UK households have gas appliances which are overdue a service, while computer modelling predicts that boiler usage will rise by 56% this winter.
With 35% of the working population based at home (compared to just 5% this time last year), it has been estimated that domestic boilers will be racking up an extra 504 hours per system on average over the next four months. Yet, worryingly, a quarter of adults using gas appliances haven’t had a gas safety check for over a year or are unsure of the last time they had an engineer visit to inspect their gas appliances.
Today’s findings are released as part of new national public awareness campaign – ‘Safety Starts at Home’ – to help improve awareness of how to stay gas safe in our homes, including knowing the signs to look out for when gas appliances are not working properly. The registration body for gas engineers and gas businesses is urging householders to get their boilers serviced to ensure they are safe for use, help reduce overall costs and minimise the chances of a breakdown this winter.
To help front the increase in energy bills, Gas Safe Register is also reminding householders of the new scheme introduced by Ofgem to help customers who may struggle to cover the increased costs. From 15 December, suppliers will be required to offer emergency credit or extra prepayment credit to households in vulnerable circumstances.
Bob Kerr, gas services director at Gas Safe Register, says: “Even during a ‘normal’ year, absolutely nobody wants to risk a faulty boiler – they are an integral part of our home lives and somewhat under-appreciated in the context of important things to consider and maintain. As householders are now beginning to turn on their heating and use their gas appliances more frequently, it is vital that they ensure they are gas safe.
Despite the latest lockdown restrictions, I would encourage everyone who does have gas appliances within their home, to book in their annual gas safety check with one of our Gas Safe Registered engineers. They are classified as essential workers and are able to carry out home visits in line with the latest Government health and safety guidelines.”