Winter is upon us and that means household boilers will again be working almost continuously. This is the time they can break down, especially if it’s been a long while since the boiler was last serviced. And if you have ever had your boiler break down in the middle of the winter you will know that it’s no fun being in a house or flat with no hot water and no heating. Winter is when reputable heating engineers are rushed off their feet – dealing with breakdowns and repairs – and getting one to come out “instantly” while you shiver with cold is not always possible, and it can take days before they can fit you in. So it might be tempting to simply get the first person available. However B&ES (the Building & Engineering Services Association) urges caution, as using a bogus gas installer could have tragic consequences.
B&ES chief executive, Paul McLaughlin, comments, “ Around 250,000 illegal gas jobs are carried out each year but homeowners must remember that dangerous gas work can be deadly. Badly fitted and poorly serviced appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning. Put simply, using a non registered, illegal gas fitter can put the lives of you and your loved ones in danger.
“In the UK it is against the law for anyone to do work on gas appliances unless they are Gas Safe Registered. So if your boiler breaks down this winter, however tempting, don’t simply rely on the recommendation of a friend or use a plumber that has done work for you in the past; i f the heating engineer you employ is not Gas Safe Registered then they are illegal.
“Always ask to see their Gas Safe Register identity card and contact the Register immediately on 0800 408 5500 if you have any concerns or if you think the gas fitter is using a falsified ID card. This is also the number to call to confirm if the engineer on your doorstep is Gas Safe registered.”
B&ES say that the easiest way to locate a qualified, reputable gas installer is to use TrustMark – the only trade competence scheme that’s officially endorsed and backed by the Government. Visit the TrustMark website at: www.trustmark.org.uk where you can enter your postcode to find local, reputable and registered heating engineers in your area.