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Buyers' unchecked new homes pose CO poisoning risk

A failure to check gas appliances in newly-purchased homes is putting UK homebuyers at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, according to new research.
Two thirds of the 2,500 London residents questioned by the CORGI Trust, admitted they did not get their home's gas fires, boilers and cookers inspected after moving in.

The findings revealed by the Corgi Trust's Carbon Monoxide Exposure & Neurological Symptoms (CENSY) report, found this to be the case despite 94% saying they are aware of the threat posed by poorly maintained or incorrectly fitted appliances.

As part of the one-off survey, some 209 received visits from registered gas engineers and as a result 4% of the homes inspected were found to have gas appliances rated 'Immediately Dangerous' or 'At Risk' of causing CO poisoning.

Corgi Trust manager Nigel Dumbrell said the findings added weight to the call for gas safety certificates to be made a compulsory element of the Home Information Pack (HIP).

He said: 'Information relating to energy efficiency is mandatory in HIPs, but not the safety of gas appliances; the onus is on the owner to be gas safe and arrange a check themselves.

'If the vendor can't supply an up-to-date safety certificate for all gas boilers, ovens, hobs and gas fires, then it's paramount they instruct a registered engineer to check their appliances to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.'

Capita now operates the UK's gas safety registration scheme. Other research (from Corgi's annual 2008 C0 report) shows that previously when Corgi operated the UK scheme, there were 150 CO exposure incidents in the 12 months leading up to April 2008 - the highest number since Corgi Trust records began in 1986.

The CENSY report also reveals that although 85% of households assessed have a smoke alarm, only one quarter of those questioned have fitted a carbon monoxide detector. The CENSY report is scheduled to be published on the Corgi Trust website in September.
24 August 2009

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