Electrical and gas dangers exposed in thousands of homes

Electrical and gas dangers exposed in thousands of homes
  • British Gas identified over 26,000 unsafe appliances in customer homes in the first half of this year when completing routine safety checks during energy meter installations
  • One in ten people in the UK admits they would probably use an appliance if they saw it ‘spark’ and the average person has three broken electrical gadgets in their home
  • As part of Gas Safety Week, British Gas is urging people to have their gas and electrical items checked by an engineer on the Gas Safe Register

This week is Gas Safety Week and British Gas is urging consumers to get regular gas safety checks throughout the week. British Gas identified more than 26,000 unsafe and dangerous gas and electric appliances in homes they visited in the first seven months of this year alone.

Unsafe appliances were detected in one in 20 homes visited– with the most common faults found with boilers and old cookers.

The faults were uncovered during gas and electricity safety checks conducted by British Gas engineers when completing meter installations.

One British Gas customer, Dionne Noakes from Chart Sutton, Kent, was found to have had a cooker that was leaking dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, during routine checks by her British Gas engineer when getting smart meters installed [additional case study information available on request].

The figures come as new research from British Gas shows that the average person knowingly has three broken electrical gadgets – including items like toasters and laptops through to lighting and boilers – in their house.

Worryingly, almost two thirds (63 per cent) of respondents admitted they had used an appliance despite it being faulty, and one in 10 (eight per cent) said a fire had started in their home because of a broken appliance. The research also revealed that one in 10 (nine per cent) would ‘probably still use’ an appliance if they saw it spark.

Lauren Vazquez, Engineer and Safety Expert for British Gas, said: “British Gas engineers are in homes around the country and we’ll check your electricity is safely wired around your home and test all gas appliances to make sure they are safe. We’re regularly visiting customers who haven’t had their electrical wiring or gas appliances checked in 10-20 years which is a concern.

“We all have so many gadgets in the house nowadays that it can be difficult to keep on top of them all, but it’s important to keep an eye on whether they’re working as they should. Some of the unsafe appliances we’ve come across could have had a devastating effect on our customers’ health and safety, had we not identified them.”

To mark Gas Safety Week, British Gas is also raising awareness (via its social media channels) of the importance of having carbon monoxide detectors -especially for new parents where the impact of a carbon monoxide leak could be very severe to a newborn baby.

Lauren Vazquez added: “You can’t hear it, see it, taste it or smell it, and it kills around 30 people a year – but fortunately, carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable.

“Tell-tale signs of a carbon monoxide leak include sooty stains on your fuel burning appliances, finding your gas fire has become difficult to light, and spotting that the flame on your boiler is burning yellow or orange instead of blue.

“Faulty central heating systems are one of the most common sources of carbon monoxide in the home – so as well getting your boiler checked once a year, it’s essential to have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted, and to call an expertly-trained engineer if you have any concerns.”



Additional statistics:

  • 22 per cent of people said their adapter cables weren’t working as well as they should
  • 22 per cent said that they have faulty straighteners
  • 22 per cent are dealing with broken washing machines or driers
  • 19 per cent have a broken laptop
  • 25 per cent revealed their lighting is badly wired
  • Only 28 per cent of people know when their appliances were last tested or the age of the wiring in their home
  • Only 46 per cent have taught their children how to use an appliance safely
  • 36 percent said they have more gadgets in the home how than they did 10 years ago
  • 20 per cent think there are too many to keep track of
  • When asked to rate their home’s safety out of 10 (with zero being the lowest, and 10 being the best), respondents gave an average score of 7.6
  • 69 per cent don’t check the condition of plugs
  • 71 per cent don’t look at sockets in their home
  • 72 per cent never check cables
  • 17 per cent added that they simply don’t have time to do repairs around the house
  • 42 per cent said an appliance has tripped a fuse in their home
  • 22 per cent said they have blown a socket
  • 22 per cent have seen an appliance spark and 18 per cent have seen one smoking.