Recently, Gas Safe Register published some data saying that the average Gas Safe technician may see one dangerous gas appliance a year.
In my experience, it is more like one a month. Here are a few examples of things I’ve seen in the last 12 weeks;
We were asked to install an Evohome multi zone system to a house in Tonbridge, Kent. While we were there, our customer asked us to service their boiler, which was a 6yr old Vaillant ecoTEC+ 831.
The boiler was in a little boy’s bedroom, and our customer was mindful that the boiler should be inspected annually.
It quickly became apparent that the flue spigot was not correctly fitted and misaligned, and I could see through the jointing strip. Upon closer examination, the flue hole through the wall had been drilled in an incorrect position and did not mate to the boiler.
This could have been catastrophic. When we removed the flue we found a large wooden lintel inside the wall of the Victorian house; the installer had simply bodged their way round the problem with no regard for safety.
If an immovable obstruction was found inside the wall preventing the flue from fitting on the boiler spigot, the installer could have simply raised the boiler on the wall. But this would have taken an hour or two, so instead it was covered up and left in an ‘Immediately Dangerous’ condition.
This boiler was installed when the property was modernised in 2009. What about the service inspections since then? Why had they not noticed?
Our customer advised us that they had been using British Gas on a maintenance contract for the previous two years and they had carried out annual servicing visits – shockingly, their paperwork, inspected by us, made no observation of the defect.
Hey ho, on with the next one.
PS: On the instructions of our customer,we sorted out the problem so all is safe now.
A house near Tunbridge Wells where we have recently been replacing the boiler had been purchased from the vendor only three weeks prior. This is their gas AGA;
and this is the flue;
– another Immediately Dangerous appliance, and the gas had to be capped off, warning notices written etc. This was a shame as our new homeowners were just starting to enjoy sitting around it after we put their old boiler in the skip, during replacement works.
In Tunbridge Wells again (actually, I like working in TW, if you need a new boiler and live in TW please get in touch), this time we’re removing a back boiler and fitting a new Worcester iJunior combination boiler. We’re in the back garden and I notice the boiler flue next door.
It looked a bit odd and it was in a difficult position for getting a good photo.
After some deliberation we realised that it was a horizontal flue for a condensing boiler, but mounted vertically. The enterprising installer had placed a plate on top to stop the water getting in, and had concocted some black tubing to achieve a sideways outlet. To finish it off, it had been capped with what we’d call a metal ‘Chinaman’s Hat’.
Now this is an ‘Immediately Dangerous’ appliance and should also be reported to the HSE for using incorrect materials for a gas appliance.
The problem I had was that;
– the old chap who owned the house appeared to be more than a few sandwiches short of a picnic
– When I mentioned how dangerous it was, he pointed out in very few words how much it concerned him.
– Our customer, his neighbour, did not want to upset him.
– having the local gas transporter rock up and cut his gas off would have upset him a lot.
So I took the easy way out and ignored it. After all, there is no law preventing people from installing gas appliances in their own home. Looking at the parts used, I’m guessing a third party unlicensed installer did it, hope it was very cheap.