Experts top tips for gas safety

Educating Yorkshire’s Matthew Burton, has joined forces with registered gas engineers across the country to urge people to stop making excuses for ignoring gas safety

His message comes after research of 2,000 adults found one in three make excuses at least twice a week to get out of, or put off, doing things they know they should do, with avoiding household chores the top reason for persistent excuse making (cited by 51 per cent).

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Over half of Brits (55 per cent) have used an excuse to skip work and two thirds (64 per cent) to side-step socialising.

The research from Gas Safe Register - the UK’s official registration body for gas engineers and gas businesses - also found one in three people (31 per cent) have used excuses to get out of having their home gas appliances safety checked, despite over three quarters (79 per cent) saying they would never make excuses if their loved ones’ safety was at risk.

Latest inspection figures

The latest inspection figures from Gas Safe Register demonstrate just how real these risks are and why excuses aren’t worth making.

Nearly seven million homes in the UK – one in four – house potentially dangerous gas appliances, including boilers, cookers and gas fires.

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If left unchecked, these faults can pose a threat to life from gas leaks, fires, carbon monoxide poisoning and explosions.

Mr Burton admits he thought he’d heard every excuse in the book from his pupils until he spoke to Gas Safe registered engineers about the tall tales they commonly hear.

Insights from over 500 Gas Safe Registered engineers show householders most commonly use ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ as an excuse for skipping annual gas safety check-ups - even though this could be masking lethal faults.

Further far-fetched excuses they’ve been faced with include: ‘The parrot doesn’t like gas fitters’; ‘I used a wine bottle cork to stop gas coming out of the hole in the wall’; ‘I just open the window if it starts smelling of gas’; and ‘I didn’t think gas was dangerous’.

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Matthew Burton said: “Having been a teacher for many years, I thought I’d heard a wide range of excuses, from the old-school ‘the dog ate my homework’ to today’s ‘my laptop has blown up’.

“And excuses don’t stop when we leave school, we all lead busy lives and find little reasons here and there that sometimes help us justify putting off or avoiding things.

“But, there are no excuses for not taking gas safety seriously in our homes.

“From personal experience, I know that unsafe and unchecked appliances – cookers, boilers, gas fires – can be deadly.

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“Taking action is easy though – it’s so important that we educate ourselves on the warning signs of gas safety, and that we choose prevention over cure.”

Bob Kerr, Gas Services Director at Gas Safe Register, added: “The vast majority of UK homes use gas.

“It works away in the background, heating our homes, powering our creature comforts. We don’t think about it until something goes wrong.

“Usually this means a minor inconvenience like a cold shower, but each year gas safety slips do result in fatalities that could have been prevented.

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“This Gas Safety Week we’re urging the nation to take a ‘no excuses’ attitude. Be better gas safe than sorry – don’t let excuses get in the way of the health and safety of your loved ones.

“If flames on gas appliances like cookers have gone floppy and yellow or orange instead of crisp and blue, there could be something up.

“Other things to look out for are increased condensation inside windows or sooty black marks on or around appliances.

“If you feel unwell – a bit like you have a hangover but haven’t been drinking – it could be carbon monoxide poisoning. If you spot one of these signs get a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer in ASAP to take a look.”

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“Take a lesson from Mr Burton – learn the signs, set a reminder for an annual safety test and never let anyone work on your gas without checking they are Gas Safe registered first.”

Gas Safe Register is the official list of gas businesses which are registered to work safely and legally on boilers, cookers, fires and all other gas appliances. By law, anyone working with gas must be listed on the Register. Visit for more information.


  • Learn the six main symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning – headaches, nausea, dizziness, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness and teach them to others. Unsafe gas appliances can put you at risk of CO poisoning, gas leaks, fires and explosions.
  • Check gas appliances for warning signs that they are not working properly e.g. lazy yellow flames instead of crisp blue ones, black sooty marks or stains on or around the appliance and high levels of condensation in the room.
  • Fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm. This will alert you if there is carbon monoxide in your home.
  • Have all your gas appliances safety checked every year by a Gas Safe registered engineer – sign up for a free reminder so you don’t forget.
  • Only use a Gas Safe registered engineer to fit, fix and service your gas appliances. You can find and check an engineer at or call 0800 408 5500. Check their Gas Safe Register ID card when they arrive – look out for the yellow triangle.

If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, get some fresh air and leave the house as quickly as possible. See a doctor and if you are very unwell call 999 for an ambulance. The National Gas Emergency Helpline is also available 24/7 on 0800 111 999.