Does your property have flues – effectively, the boiler’s exhaust pipe – which cannot be inspected because they are hidden behind walls or ceilings? Your gas-elec safety inspection engineer will be able to tell you. And if the answer is ‘yes’, you absolutely must get flue inspection hatches fitted.
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Most flues have, thankfully, been installed correctly, but if they haven’t they may leak. And in combination with a malfunctioning boiler, leaky flues can produce carbon monoxide – a hidden killer from hidden flues, if you like.
Since 1 January 2013, any Gas Safe-registered engineer who cannot see all of a flue must deem it to be ‘At Risk’ and request permission to turn the boiler off. And he will advise you not to use it until access hatches have been fitted in appropriate places – as a rule of thumb, very close to any joint in the flue system.
Our inspection access hatche size is 300mm by 300mm (Product reference: IHV/33).
They are fitted with a smoke and heat seal, and comply with the relevant building regulations and have been fire-rated to in excess of one hour.
Most affected boilers and flue systems have been built since 2000. In fact, if your property has inaccessible flues and is less than two years old, contact the builder. And if it the system was installed up to ten years ago, get in touch with the warranty provider as defects in the flue may be covered.
That said, the risk of faults that can lead to carbon monoxide increase as the system ages. To which there is but one answer: get your gas appliances serviced annually.
The recent requirement introduced by HSE concerning the 'Flues in Voids (TB 008)' amendment to the gas safety regulations is something that can be seen as a problem for landlords and agents. The recent requirement states that the entire length of the flue must be inspected.
Where a flue passes through a void or a false ceiling inspection hatches must be fitted so that the Gas Safe registered person carrying out a safety inspection or service can also inspect the flue to ensure that it is not leaking CO (carbon monoxide)
Inspection hatches should be fitted in approximately the same area as any joints in the flue. This is much easier for the engineer to properly inspect the flue. The better quality inspection hatch is typically made from metal and will be constructed with fire rated materials.
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