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Gas Safety Week 2020: Top Tips to Ensure Your Boiler is Fit for Winter

Gas Safety Week urges boiler maintenance
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The organisers of Gas Safety Week 2020 are encouraging homeowners to maintain their gas boilers to avoid being left without heating in the winter months. 

This is the 10th year of Gas Safety Week (14-20 September), a national campaign coordinated by Gas Safe Register to raise awareness of the dangers posed by not maintaining gas appliances. 

Another key warning of the campaign is that when you find a plumber or heating engineer to fix or maintain your appliances, it is important to make sure that they are registered with Gas Safe, which is a strict requirement. Industry bodies such as Gas Safe and OFTEC will help you identify qualified plumbers who are available in your area.

Boilers are most likely to break down in the winter months, so homeowners are being urged to check their gas boilers now to avoid being left without hot water or heating if their boiler requires fixing. 

(MORE: Beginner’s Guide to Heating)

Checkatrade has released the following tips to mark Gas Safety Week, and to help homeowners maintain their gas appliances. These include:

  • Have your gas appliances routinely checked to ensure they are working correctly
  • Be aware of the signs of unsafe gas appliances; for example, flames on a gas hob which may be yellow or orange and lazy, or pilot lights that frequently blow out
  • Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headaches, nausea, breathlessness, collapse, dizziness and loss of consciousness.

New Gas Safe Register research shows that one in every five UK homes has at least one dangerous gas appliance inside, and not maintaining or poorly maintaining gas appliances such as boilers and cookers can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Improve the Efficiency of Your Gas Boiler

Having a high-efficiency boiler is one of the quickest ways to augment the energy rating of your home, and even simple changes such as those advocated by the #KillaKilowatt campaign can have a prominent effect. 

Most boilers out of the box have their flow set around 75 degrees, which means their return temperatures are too high to condense efficiently. Getting your boiler to a temperature where it can condense water is a simple and cheap way of reducing carbon emissions and will also lower your energy bills.

If you’ve been experiencing problems with your boiler, now is a good time to replace it, especially as domestic heating technology has improved significantly in recent years. Choosing correctly means you’ll end up with a system that is not only cheaper to run but is easier to use.

(MORE: Choosing a New Boiler)

One thing you won’t be able to do though is get a new gas boiler on the Green Homes Grant. Gas boilers were a notable omission from the eligible improvements from the scheme, launching this month, which will give homeowners up to £5,000 in vouchers to improve their energy efficiency. 

Heat pumps are among the eligible improvements on the scheme, and because the Green Homes Grant can be used in conjunction with the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive, this means that a heat pump is less expensive to install.

However, experts believe that gas boilers still have a pivotal role to play in the decarbonisation of homes, particularly as hydrogen boiler technology gathers pace.