Flues in Voids

Important advice for consumers who have boiler flues which run in ceiling spaces

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. 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 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 boiler is situated on an outside wall, it is unlikely you have this type of flue. Alternatively, if your engineer can see all the flue, you will not need to take any further action in relation to this matter.

If you do have a boiler where all or part of the flue cannot be seen then 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. As long as the boiler passes a series of safety checks − including having audible carbon monoxide alarms fitted − it can be used normally for the time being.

Carbon monoxide alarms are not an alternative to being able to see the flue and you will still need to have inspection hatches fitted. You have until 31 December 2012 for this work to be completed. 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 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 boiler and 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 serviced annually.

You need to take action now

If you are a tenant, it is the responsibility of your landlord to ensure that inspection hatches are installed and that the boiler and flue are checked every year.

If you have any questions please see the list of Frequently Asked Questions.

We can inspect your property to see if you are affected by this and can carry out all the remedial works required.

Taken from gas safe register website.