Thousands of homes have been fitted with illegal and potentially dangerous gas boilers, it has emerged.
The Consumers Association of Ireland (CAI) found that more than 10,000 uncertified gas boilers were installed in homes last year.
Of the 27,500 gas boilers sold in 2011, just 17,400 were officially certified boiler installations.
CAI chief executive Dermott Jewell said the consumer watchdog was more aware than ever of the financial pressures that were causing people to opt for the cheapest offer or alternative available.
“In this case, however, the cheap, illegal option could end up costing lives,” he warned.
Mr Jewell said consumers and their families should be protected from what is obviously a significant and life-threatening health and safety problem.
Figures compiled by the HSE show around six people die every year in Ireland from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.
Only a registered gas installer can legally undertake gas work in Ireland and all gas installers must issue a completion certificate.
Commission of Energy Regulation’s figures show that safety disconnections of customer installations increased from 962 at the start of last year to 1,504.
Mr Jewell said the CAI surveyed the number of gas boiler units sold by all of the main suppliers.
“I did not get figures from some of the smaller providers so the actual number of illegal installations would be greater than what we found,” he said.
“However, the fact that there are 10,000 illegally installed gas boilers is frightening.”
The CAI has given a copy of the survey to the Plumbing and Heating Contractors Association, which has been highlighting the lack of regulatory action taken against illegal operators.
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