Around one in five gas appliances in some parts of the West Midlands is unsafe, leaving families at risk of fire or carbon monoxide poisoning, figures revealed today.
A map shows thousands of cases of dodgy boilers, cookers and gas fires resulting from unsafe or illegal installations and poor maintenance.
And it shows some of the areas with the highest concentration of appliances judged to be a potential risk by engineers who inspected them.
The map includes how many incidents and emergencies there have been in an area as well how many botched jobs have been done.
Nationally, around one in three gas fires inspected by the Gas Safe Register – the safety authority for gas fitters previously known as Corgi – was found to be dangerous.
Across the Black Country, South Staffordshire and Wyre Forest there were almost 3,400 reports of unsafe gas appliances over the past three years, according to the Gas Safe Register.
Wednesbury alone accounted for 81 of them, comprised of 36 fires, 17 boilers and 28 cookers were found to be unsafe.
Another area with a very high level of badly installed or maintained appliances was around Wolverhampton’s Cannock Road.
There were 79 incidents recorded, made up of 32 unsafe fires, 37 boilers and 10 cookers.
The map also pinpointed 73 such problems in Aldridge and 52 in Hednesford.
Gas Safe Register has inspected more than 7,400 homes in West Midlands in the last three years.
It found in Wolverhampton that one in seven homes, 15 per cent, had an unsafe gas appliance, which could lead to a gas fire, explosion, leak or carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
Stafford was worse, with 20 per cent of appliances identified as unsafe
Birmingham was found to have the highest number of homes with dangerous gas appliances in Britain – more than one in three households were unsafe.
Of the illegal jobs investigated in the West Midlands, more than half left victims’ homes unsafe and nearly one in six were so dangerous that the Register had to turn off the gas appliance immediately.
Central heating engineer Mohammed Arshad, of Wolverhampton-based Domestic Gas Heating, said he had had to condemn a fire and a boiler because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning this year. He said: “I think it should be compulsory for people to have detectors for carbon monoxide.
“A lot of people may think they can cut corners by using someone who isn’t a registered engineer.
“Sometimes you hear about bodge jobs being done.
“Other times it can be down to a lack of proper maintenance and servicing.”
Russell Kramer, chief executive for Gas Safe Register, said: “Gas safety is a life or death matter and something that shouldn’t be ignored.
“People are aware of the potential risks of unsafe gas work and they know what they should be doing to keep themselves safe, but, as our research has found, not everyone is acting on that information.
“This is why we have launched the gas map. It is the first time that data on unsafe gas appliances and illegal gas work has been compared across postcodes in Great Britain.
“We want people to realise that gas safety is something that they should take seriously and by bringing it to their doorstep it makes it harder to ignore,” he added.