Important advice for consumers who have flues which are concealed within ceiling spaces etc
Some properties, mainly flats and apartments, have been built with boiler flues which cannot be inspected because they are hidden behind walls or ceilings. The boiler flues that this information relates to are connected to room-sealed fan assisted boilers only. If you live in one of these homes then please read on for more information so you know what to do.
Gas Safe registered engineers need to be able to see the flue − which take fumes away from the boiler − as part of essential safety checks whenever the boiler is worked on. A flue in poor condition, combined with a room-sealed boiler that is not working properly, could put you and your family in danger from carbon monoxide poisoning, which can cause death or serious injury.
If your room-sealed boiler is situated on an outside wall, it is unlikely you have this type of flue. Alternatively, if your engineer can examine all of the flue, you will not need to take any further action in relation to this matter.
If you do have a room-sealed boiler where all, or part of, the flue cannot be seen, you, or your landlord, will need to arrange for inspection hatches to be fitted. This does not mean that your flue system is suddenly unsafe.
Room sensing carbon monoxide alarms are not an alternative to being able to see the flue and you will still need to have inspection hatches fitted so that the flue system can be checked. It is recommended that inspection hatches are fitted as soon as you are able to do so. From 1 January 2013, any Gas Safe registered engineer will classify the boiler as At Risk, this means that they will turn the boiler off, with your permission, and formally advise you not to use it until inspection hatches have been fitted in appropriate places.
Although most of the affected room-sealed boiler flue systems are relatively new (installed since 2000), the risk of faults leading to the release of carbon monoxide increases as the system gets older, especially if it is not serviced regularly. It is important that you have your gas appliances safety checked annually.
If you think the flue system serving your room sealed boiler is concealed in this way you should have it checked by a registered gas engineer who will be able to check it is safe and assess the installation and be able to provide you with advice on inspection hatches etc. If your property is less than two years old then contact your builder. If your property is between two and ten years old contact your home warranty provider, as you may be covered by them if there are defects in the flue. A list of the main home warranty providers is shown below. If your property is 10 years or older you should contact a Gas Safe registered engineer.
If you are a tenant, it is the responsibility of your landlord to ensure that the boiler is checked every year and the flue is able to be examined.
By Steve Roberts 4th March 2015