British Gas engineers have found more than 26,000 unsafe electrical and gas appliances in British homes as part of routine safety checks carried out when installing energy meters.
As part of Gas Safety Week (September 16-22), the energy provider is urging people to have their gas and electrical appliances checked by a qualified engineer.
The most common faults found were with boilers and old cookers.
The survey results make for shocking reading, with faulty appliances found in one-in-20 homes visited and one-in-10 people admitting they would probably use an appliance even if they saw it spark.
From the British Gas data, it is estimated that the average person has three broken electrical gadgets in their home.
Worryingly, 63 per cent of respondents admitted they had used an electrical appliances despite its being faulty and one-in-10 said they’d had a fire break out because of a broken appliance.
British Gas tested both gas an electrical appliances and found one customer who had a gas cooker that was leaking dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.
Said Lauren Vazquez, an engineer and safety expert at British Gas: “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 to 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.”
She also warned of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning from faulty gas appliances.
“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,” she said.
“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.”
She recommended having central heating boilers, the most common source of carbon monoxide in the home, checked every year.
Other shocking revelations from the survey included:
- 69% of people don’t check the condition of plugs;
- 22% are dealing with broken washing machines or dryers;
- 72% of people never check electrical cables;
- 25% said their lighting is badly worn;
- 42% said an appliance had tripped a fuse in their home;
- 22% said they had seen an appliance spark;
- 18% said they had seen an appliance smoking.