British Gas research1 has revealed that private tenants and landlords in cities across Britain don’t know about the dangers of CO poisoning, placing renters at risk. The research, conducted in Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London and Manchester, showed that less than half of renters in these cities have carbon monoxide alarms fitted in their homes.
The stark findings show that there is a severe lack of awareness from landlords and tenants alike over what causes CO to escape. For instance:
• Only half of landlords and 40 per cent of tenants in Leeds were able to able to identify the cause of a potentially fatal leak.
• Whilst 92 percent of Birmingham landlords admit that fitting a CO alarm is their responsibility, only 18 percent see it as a top three priority when preparing their property for rental, identifying cosmetic improvements such as painting and decorating as more important.
• In London, renters are more likely to identify the symptoms of malaria and meningitis than CO poisoning. In fact, only 14 per cent of those polled could identify the symptoms.
Each year, around 30 people die from CO poisoning2 and tenants across the country are unaware of the potentially fatal symptoms. British Gas is calling for CO alarms to be made mandatory in private rented accommodation across the country.
British Gas is encouraging everyone to find out about the dangers of carbon monoxide. For a chance to win a Landlord Home Safety Pack worth approximately £95 please visit http://www.britishgas.co.uk/blog/articles/competition-win-a-british-gas-landlord-home-safety-pack.
British Gas is also encouraging landlords to ensure their properties are prepared for winter. The following tips will help keep properties warm throughout the coming months:
• Check your radiators are working properly
• Get the temperature right
• Make sure you have the temperature set at the right level for you and that heating is not left on unnecessarily.
• One way to manage this is with British Gas’s Remote Heating Control – allowing you to remotely control your heating from your smartphone or computer, making sure your home is at the optimum temperature when it suits you. For more information click here: http://www.britishgas.co.uk/products-and-services/remote-heating-control.html
• Did you know that by turning your thermostat down by one degree you could help cut your energy bills by up to 10%, which could save you around £60 per year?
• Insulate your pipes
• If your radiators have cold spots, this means you have air in the system, so you will need to bleed them to get them working efficiently.
• To do this, turn the system off and then turn the radiator key until the air stops and water runs consistently. Once you have turned the system back on, the problem should be solved.
• Stop your property losing heat
• Hang heavy, lined curtains at windows to help keep the heat in and close them as soon as it starts getting dark. If you have Venetian blinds tilt the blades so they face down.
• Make sure all of your property’s windows and doors seal properly to stop warm air escaping. For those that don’t, fitting draft excluders, which you can buy from most DIY stores, is a quick and cheap way to cut down on your energy bills.
• Did you know your home loses a third of its heat through the walls? Insulating wall cavities could save you around £110 a year, and insulating your loft could also save you up to £145. British Gas is currently offering free loft and cavity wall insulation for all (you don’t even need to be a customer), click here for more information: http://www.britishgas.co.uk/freeinsulation.
•Burst pipes were a huge issue for UK households during the cold spell last winter.
• To help prevent burst pipes, ensure all pipes are properly insulated using lagging, which can be bought cheaply from most DIY shops.
 ICM interviewed a random sample of 200 adults and 50 Landlords in each of the following 6 cities; London, Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Edinburgh. All adults where aged 18+ in GB and interviews took place online between 30th August-4th September 2012. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at www.icmresearch.com.
² Sources: Gas Safe and COCAA: http://www.britishgas.co.uk/products-and-services/gas-and-electricity/gas-safety/carbon-monoxide-detector.html