MyBuilder survey reveals that many don't know how to access live services quickly

Millions of homeowners and renters are putting their lives in danger and risk causing thousands of pounds worth of damage because they don’t know how to turn off the essential live services supplying their homes.

Our survey revealed that a third (33 percent) wouldn’t know how to turn off their gas in the event of an accident, admitting they would turn to Google to find out how to locate the shut off valve.

The survey of 2,000 UK homeowners and renters revealed that almost half (43 percent) don’t know how to turn their gas supply off and a fifth wouldn’t know how to switch the electricity off.

Almost one in five (19 percent) don’t know how to turn off their water - with this figure rising to 38 per cent among 18 to 34-year olds.

Lethal consequences

Not knowing how to locate these vital safety features can have potentially lethal consequences, as well as being costly to repair devastating water or fire damage.

One fifth of those surveyed has learned the hard way by discovering a major leak and not knowing how to turn the water off quickly.

This rises to 28 per cent among 18 to 34-year olds, while just 11 percent of over 55s have suffered the same fate.

Common issues include putting a nail through a water pipe while working on loose floorboards.

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Tenants and homeowners in London are the least likely to know how to turn their water off, while those in the North East are odds-on to know where the stopcock is to fix the situation.

Carl Goulding, MyBuilder’s Head of Trade Quality, comments: “It’s vital that all homeowners and tenants know how to turn off their live services.

“You never know when you might have to - and not being able to act quickly in the event of an emergency can have devastating consequences.

“We want to make sure that every homeowner or tenant has the basic knowledge so that if something does go wrong, they know what to do fast. Being too slow to turn off the water supply when there’s a leak could end up costing thousands of pounds worth of damage, so spending just a little bit time learning the basics will be time well spent.”

And homeowners and tenants could be risking their lives using unverified information from the internet to carry out jobs which should only be tackled by professionals.

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More than one in 10 (11 per cent) have Googled how to fix the boiler, while seven per cent have searched how to replace a gas cooker.

This is despite it being against the law for anyone not on the Gas Safe Register to carry out work on a gas boiler, gas fire, cooker or hob.

More than a quarter (26 per cent) say they’ve risked drilling into a wall while not knowing whether there were pipes or wiring behind it.

While 20 per cent admit they don't know how to turn off their water, six per cent have been forced to call out a professional to do it for them, while the same figure have brought an electrician round to switch the power back on.

Read our advice article on how to locate and isolate the live services in your home. 

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