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Boiler Flues in Ceiling Spaces

Important advice for landlords who have rented properties with 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.


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 your tenant and their family in danger from carbon monoxide poisoning, which can cause death or serious injury.


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


If you do have a boiler at your rented property where all, or part of, the flue cannot be seen you will need to arrange for inspection hatches to be fitted. This does not mean that the 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 and formally advise the tenant 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 recommended that you have your gas appliances serviced annually.