Just how safe is your holiday let?

While there is somewhat of a mass exodus currently occurring as thousands of British holidaymakers start their summer holidays, there are many who are choosing to stay at one of the numerous self catering options scattered around the British Isles. What the blurb on the websites don’t tell you is that some of these cottages and apartments have old gas cookers, appliances and boilers.

The Heating Helpline is warning holidaymakers about the main danger of these old and defective gas appliances, namely CO, Carbon Monoxide, poisoning. They are also alerting them as to what to look for when they arrive, such as a current Gas Safety Certificate prominently displayed by either the lettings agency or the owners.

Heating Helpline is the free consumer advice service operated by B&ES, the Building & Engineering Services Association. B&ES Chief Executive Roderick Pettigrew comments, “Failure to properly maintain gas appliances in holiday accommodation puts holidaymakers’ lives at risk – infrequently serviced or defective gas appliances can leak potentially lethal quantities of carbon monoxide (CO). Around 40 people still needlessly die every year from CO poisoning and hundreds more are made seriously ill, with some tragedies occurring in holiday lets.

“Gas appliances in rented accommodation should be serviced annually, in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions, by a Gas Safe registered installer in addition to having annual gas safety checks carried out on them.

“Anyone renting holiday accommodation in the UK should expect to see a copy of the gas safety certificate displayed in the property and the holidaymaker should not hesitate to contact the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) if the landlord cannot provide this.

“As additional safeguards, we advise landlords or their letting agents to supply comprehensive operating instructions for all appliances and they should also fit carbon monoxide detectors in all their properties”.

The Heating Helpline says that there are some obvious warning signs that gas appliances may not be working correctly such as black, sooty marks or stains around an appliance, yellow lazy flames instead of blue flames and too much condensation – these could mean that the appliance is leaking potentially lethal levels of carbon monoxide.

For more information visit the Heating Helpline website at www.heatinghelpline.org.uk.