After a friend of mine had a scary experience with her boiler, we have all realised the importance of servicing the boiler regularly.
My friend recently had a baby. When her baby was a few weeks old, we spent some time visiting and meeting baby. We were having a lovely day with lots of baby snuggles when we decided to go for a walk into town to help baby go to sleep after all the excitement of meeting new people.
A Smell of Gas in the Kitchen
On our return, I went into the kitchen to put the kettle on. The smell of gas hit me the moment I reached the kitchen. My friend and her family had believed that the smell was down to the rubbish in the bin but I was sure that this was definitely gas and not just the smell of rubbish. She said that the smell had been there for about a week.
We immediately rang the phone number on the gas meter and they advised us to turn off the gas into the house and open all of the windows. They also said not to use anything that would involve any kind of ignition. So no cup of tea for us!
A gas engineer was sent out within 8 hours. He had travelled for 3 hours to get to my friend’s house as he was the nearest engineer that wasn’t busy.
Have you had your Boiler Serviced Lately?
While we were waiting, I asked my friend when she had last had her boiler serviced. She told me that she had never had it done. It was around twelve years old. My friend didn’t see the point in the extra expense.
My grandparents always urged me to make sure Heating Engineers came every year to service our boiler and check our gas appliances. They even paid for our first boiler service to make sure we had it done. I was repeatedly told how important it was to check that our gas appliances were in good working order. Since then, I’ve always had it checked.
There are many plumbers and heating engineers around, such as Watertite Plumbing and Heating Ltd. They are a local company in Bristol who have plumbing and gas engineers who also offer PAT testing for electrical appliances. No matter which area you are in, there will usually be a local heating specialist who can check your appliances to make sure they are safe. I think this is especially important when you have small children in your home.
A Major Gas Leak in the Home
The gas engineer arrived and told my friend that she had a major gas leak in her home. Her boiler and her gas hob were both unsafe and were leaking gas. They were not allowed to have the heating or any kind of gas on for almost a week before everything was fixed and made safe again. Luckily, this had happened just after the summer when the weather was still warm outside and the heating was not necessary. They were not too pleased about the cold showers though.
Fire in the Kitchen
Four weeks after this happened, the lights on their dishwasher started flashing orange when they usually flash green or red. My friend’s husband decided to pull the dishwasher out from under the counter to examine it further. As he did, a huge plume of smoke rose up as the dishwasher was on fire.
Waking his wife and baby to get them outside as fast as they could, they switched off the mains electricity as they went.
Two fire engines, a ride in an ambulance and a chest x-ray later, all three were given the all clear to leave the hospital. They were not allowed to return to their house again until the insurers had looked at house to assess the damage and had cleaned up.
They are currently in temporary accommodation for three months until their house has been declared safe to live in. Not the ideal first Christmas to have with their baby. We are all so pleased that they are safe though.
The Importance of Servicing the Boiler
My friend and her family were very glad that their gas leak had been sorted out before the fire. They will be getting their older appliances tested to check that they are still safe from now on. They will also be getting their gas boiler and gas appliances serviced every year in the future.
These situations could have been much, much more serious.
Do you get your boiler serviced every year? Do you have your older electrical and gas appliance checked for safety each year?
Disclosure: This is a Collaborative Post.