Five Years of Which? Trusted Traders

Celebrating 5 years of Which? Trusted Traders

Nationwide endorsement scheme celebrates anniversary of its launch.

Which? Trusted Traders has come a long way since 2013 when we launched a pilot programme with just 18 businesses.

The scheme, which has grown to a membership of more than 9,000, is now celebrating five years of endorsing reputable traders.

Which? set up Trusted Traders to help people choose the right trader for their needs and give good traders the recognition they deserve.

Several traders who’d been positively reviewed by customers on the former Which? Local site were approached to be the pioneers.

Tony Byrne, A Byrne Carpentry and Joinery, has been a Trusted Trader since 2013 and is pictured above, left, comments:

‘I jumped at the invitation [to join] and it was the best thing I have ever done. Everyone knows the Which? logo and as Which? is known as the people’s champion, the customers have faith in the trader.’

Amy Jones, client relationship team leader, Trusted Traders (pictured above, right) also comments:

‘I joined Which? Trusted Traders at the start of the pilot back in 2013. It was such a busy, exciting time talking to all these businesses about our brand new service and everyone absolutely loved it. So much so that the pilot was a huge success allowing us to continue and grow the service even more.’

Trial

The first 18 businesses trialled the Trusted Traders assessment process, including credit checks and face-to-face interviews from trading standards professionals.

The assessment remains a key part of the scheme to this day, and only those who meet our high standards can become Which? Trusted Traders.

Once endorsed, Traders receive the full use of our logo, an online profile on the website, an alternative dispute resolution service should any complaints arise and a subscription to the Which? Magazine.

‘I stay with Which? Trusted Traders because I think it adds further credibility to my business. It is a robust system backed by a great, trusted brand. You have a massive reputation to protect so don’t cut corners.’ suggests Tim Mycroft, Mycroft Heating & Plumbing Ltd, Trusted Trader since 2013.

Raj Kakar-Clayton, Managing Director at Which? Trusted Traders says of the success of the scheme.

‘The success of Trusted Traders over the past five years is testament to the hard work put in by traders to pass the assessment and maintain high standards, to the dedication of my team in supporting them, and to the input of many thousands of customers who have taken the time to write reviews.’

Partnerships

Since 2014, the Which? Trusted Traders scheme has continually expanded to cover traders, trade associations and retail brands based across the UK, including the partnership with HETAS.

The way we recognise traders has evolved, with the creation of Trusted Trader of the Month, and our involvement in the annual Which? Awards.

Thousands of customers have added their voices too, rating our endorsed traders to help other consumers make informed choices. Since day one we’ve moderated all the reviews and and continued to add checks to prevent abuse of the system.

Further Success Stories

‘Customer reviews are genuine and monitored. It’s great for both traders and customers, and it’s fair. I dedicate my endorsement to a lifelong customer, Mrs Pearce, who posted my first ever review on Which? Local. She sadly passed away this year.’ Anthony Sawczuk, Bourne Plumbing and Heating, Trusted Trader since 2013.

‘I think client reviews are a fantastic way for new customers to find out more about myself and my company. I think it gives customers real peace of mind. Which? gave my company such a boost, I can’t Dave Newman, Newman’s Electricals Limited, Trusted Trader since 2013.thank them enough.’

Thank you to all our traders and customers for five successful years.

Join the scheme and get endorsed!

If you would like to find out more about how to get endorsed as a Which? Trusted Trader, you can give us a call on 0117 456 6032 or visit our website to request a call back from one of the team. As your a HETAS member, you get 50% off the first 6 months of being endorsed, subject to an application fee of £200 + VAT to get assessed by our Trading Standards professionals (for businesses with less than 19 employees).


 

What is Public Liability Insurance

What is public liability insurance and why do you need it?

Public Liability insurance is an essential type of business cover for companies who conduct work on client’s premises, or who have members of the public attending their own premises.

What does public liability insurance protect you from?

  • The cost of damage to a third parties property, caused by you or a member of your staff
  • Compensation claims from members of the public for injury or death as a result of a negligent act by you or a member of your staff
  • Any legal expenses incurred following a compensation claim.

Public liability insurance is often a contractual requirement, enforced by governing bodies, industry regulators or a client. It also assures your customers that you have their best intentions at heart, and run a professional business by ensuring they and their property are protected while work is being carried out by your business.

The amount of public liability insurance you need will depend on the level of risk you undertake with your job on a day to day basis. It is important to think about the premises you work on or at, and if the worst should happen, how much it would cost to reinstate that property.

There are a number of situations where public liability insurance does not apply, such as employee injuries while at work, or damage to your own tools or property. You can protect yourself from these incidents, under other cover options available under your business insurance.

If you have any questions regarding your existing levels of public liability insurance, or your general business insurance, why not speak to us at HETAS Insurance. Call the team on 01905 886 462, or send an email to insurance@hetas.co.uk.


This is a marketing communication.

HETAS Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Jelf insurance Brokers.

HETAS Insurance Services is a trading name of Jelf Insurance Brokers Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Not all products and services offered are regulated by the FCA.  Registered in England and Wales number 0837227. Registered Office: Hillside Court, Bowling Hill, Chipping Sodbury, BS37 6JX.


 

The Right Firewood

The Right Firewood

The Right FirewoodYou will all be aware of the Woodsure Ready to Burn scheme that was launched back in 2017. Here, the Woodsure team provide us with an update on the scheme and its role in the recently published Clean Air Strategy 2019.

The recently announced Clean Air Strategy 2019 and while we still await the outcome of the August 2018 consultation on cleaner fuels, the strategy confirms that Government “will legislate to prohibit the sale of the most polluting fuels.”. Woodsure’s Ready to Burn scheme was identified as one of industry’s voluntary initiatives to tackle air pollution.

Ready to Burn

The Woodsure Ready to Burn initiative is for wood fuel producers (both firewood and briquettes), who are able to demonstrate through audit and fuel testing that wood fuel they sell as ‘Ready to Burn’ is:

  • Labelled as ‘Ready to Burn’
  • Is less than 20% moisture content
  • There is point of sale information, labelling and support
  • Where appropriate provides retailers with information on how to effectively store and keep the firewood in good condition

The Ready to Burn scheme is open to suppliers of all sizes and allows for both seasoned and force dried suppliers.

To join the scheme suppliers must undertake both an on-site audit and laboratory analysis of a representative sample of their product. In addition, the supplier must also demonstrate the legality of their product. Last year Woodsure produced some useful guidance for suppliers on how to demonstrate legality of firewood suppliers. Click here to find out more.

Once certificated Woodsure buy a number of samples of your product throughout the year. The more firewood you sell, the more checks are carried out. The mystery shopping ensures that once the fuel is produced, the quality is not reduced through poor storage or mishandling during the supply chain. This helps ensure consumers can choose the right firewood.

National Retailers

Back in October 2018 Woodsure worked in partnership with Defra during Green Great Britain Week to get major retailers to pledge to encourage customers to buy cleaner fuels. The following were some of the commitments made during the week.

Retailers are carrying out a wide range of actions to help consumers switch to cleaner, alternative fuels and the right firewood:

  • Lidl have committed to only sell wood that adheres to Woodsure conditions, meaning consumers have a guarantee that the fuel meets specified standards, including having the right moisture content and being sourced from sustainably managed woodland.
  • B&Q has trained store colleagues on the benefits of cleaner fuels and more efficient stoves and heaters to help educate their customers.
  • Asda has removed non-kiln dried wood logs and house coal from all of its London stores, guiding customers towards making better choices.
  • Tesco has produced in-store advertising promoting the benefits of “Ready to Burn” solid fuels and where to find them in store.
  • Booker, which provides stock for newsagents and convenience stores across the country, has confirmed it will be including “Ready to Burn” products as part of their autumn/winter range.

Woodsure continues to work with both suppliers and retailers to ensure that products that hold the Woodsure Ready to Burn mark will be properly stored and made available to customers at the correct moisture content.

Continued Growth

The Woodsure scheme continues to grow and the website saw record visitors during January 2019 following the announcement of the Government’s Clean Air Strategy. See our recent announcement on the strategy here.

Whilst the scheme remains focused on woodfuel quality, Woodsure has for some time encouraged Government to consider fuel quality alongside sustainability and legality.  With the current focus on air quality and part of the cause associated with wood burning both Defra and BEIS see the benefits of burning the right fuel to help reduce the impact on emissions from wood burning appliances.  The Woodsure wood fuel scheme and ENplus scheme for pellets are already recognised by Biomass Suppliers List, but BEIS and the BSL advisory panel are considering the benefits of further promoting fuel quality within BSL to ensure woodfuel sold to RHI boiler installations meet the expected fuel quality designed for the boiler. More should be known in the next few months.


Further Reading


 

Hearth Guidance

Further Hearth Guidance

Hearth GuidanceIn the latest HETAS Technical Bulletin which we sent out last month Brian Bailey, Senior Product Evaluation Officer at HETAS expands on his recent hearth article providing clarification on brining a hearth up to specification.

In a previous hearth article (HETAS Technical Bulletin #11, June 2018) a number of queries were raised which we hope to address here with additional guidance notes.

Guidance

The guidance given in Approved Document J (ADJ) for using only a single sheet hearth seems to exclude their use if the appliance is situated in an appliance recess (ref: ADJ paragraph 2.23). Unfortunately, as explained  in my previous article, there may be circumstances whereupon the constructional hearth of an appliance recess has been “modified”.

Be wary when bringing fireplaces back into use when they they have been redundant for some time. If the construction of the fireplace recess and hearth has been modified in any way then it may require correction to enable it to be used as a fireplace once again. In particular the hearth base may have been structurally changed or may have been incorporated with a damp proof membrane that will degrade or even disintegrate or flame off if the fireplace is used again particularly if used for an open fireplace.

ADJ Guidance

In such circumstances it may not be ideal or desirable to bring the hearth back up to specification. ADJ does offer some guidance which offers a “work-around” via paragraph 2.27 in that any hearth can be adjusted to suit the particular appliance. Based on the assumption it would be acceptable to use a non-combustible sheet hearth within a fireplace recess (where the constructional hearth is of inadequate dimensions or materials) provided:

  • The appliance can be situated on a single sheet hearth (see ADJ paragraph 2.23 (a)) and the appliance manufacturer is able to provide written confirmation that it can be installed in this situation (i.e in a recess).
  • The single sheet hearth complies with ADJ Note 2.23 (a)
  • The dimensions of the sheet used will provide at least a hearth that satisfies the minimum hearth perimeter dimensions detailed in ADJ Diagram 26 (a) or alternatively the appliance manufacturer’s specified dimensions where the appliance can satisfy the caveats given in ADJ paragraph 2.27.

Measurements given in ADJ Diagram 26 (a) Fireplace Recess are shown below.


Further Reading


 

How to use social media

How to use social media to promote your business

Social Media tips from Which? Trusted Traders

How can sites like Facebook, Twitter and and Instagram help your business? Which? Trusted Traders talked to some of their endorsed traders who have built up their social media presence to get their tips.

All Which? Trusted Traders have an online profile on our website and most also have their own site beyond that. But what about using social media? To the uninitiated Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and the rest can seem a bit pointless – broadcasting selfies and food pictures to the void.
But some of our traders have successfully taken on the social media challenge, using it to generate work, increase customer awareness and communicate with their customers.
Get the recognition you deserve from the UK’s largest independent consumer body. Find out more about the Which? Trusted Traders endorsement scheme. HETAS members get 50% off for the first 6 months. Request a call back here.

How to get started on social media

Most traders we spoke to use Twitter and Facebook. Twitter restricts you to short posts but you can reach more people, building followers in your local area to raise awareness of your company and networking with other local businesses. On Facebook, a business page enables you to share information about the services you offer, the personalities behind the services and the human side of the business.
Think about what you want to achieve with your social media use and which platforms would best help you achieve this – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or others.

Find other traders and companies in a similar field with a lot of followers and see what they are doing. Copy their tactics – if they work for them, there’s no reason why they can’t work for you. Gareth Williams from Gareth Williams Heating told us: ‘one of the big things I did was follow a guy in Newport, who was a newsagent with about 10,000 followers. I picked his brains. He told me the ins and outs and I could see who he was following to find people in the area, and start following them myself.’

Think about what you could feasibly post and what it could do for your business. Common uses of social media include advertising services, publicising changes to your business or general interest stories. Sharon Hack from Prestige Plumbing told us that her company tends to share stories about extraordinary jobs, such as when the firm helped a bride who had dropped her ring down the sink at her wedding reception. The company also promotes itself, the Which? Trusted Traders scheme and news from within the business.

Keep going. ‘Stick with it,’ advises Mark Chadwick of Stadium Garage Ltd. ‘You can’t get bored – you’ve got to keep at it, keep going. Until you’ve built your followers then it’s not doing much.’

adding website content

Using Facebook groups

Most local areas have their own dedicated Facebook groups. These are a great place to advertise your services. Gareth Williams finds Facebook really brings in the business. ‘I probably get about five or six boiler installations a year just from Facebook groups,’ he said. ‘It’s really good advertising and most of it is free.’ He has also found success on Twitter, building up over 1,700 followers.
Gareth shares before and after images of boilers. ‘It’s not very glamorous because it’s boilers, but people seem to like looking at these things. They like to see that we work cleanly and in a nice way.’ He made sure that he joined groups associated with the different areas of Newport and posted his articles and photos there.It takes Gareth around an hour a day in total to maintain his social media presence on Twitter and Facebook. That might seem like quite a lot, but as it nets him jobs worth thousands of pounds, he is confident that it’s time well spent.

Engaging your social media audience

All the traders agreed that the best way to build your audience is to really engage with your friends and followers. Tapping into local networks is one way to do that. ‘Use the correct hashtags for the location, so things to do with the local area,’ said Mark Chadwick. ‘Just search on the hashtags that are available, and people will retweet your posts.’
Mix personal and professional posts on your timelines – to present the human side of your business. ‘I did have two accounts on Twitter and Instagram, my personal ones where I’d share holiday photos and then just purely work,’ Gareth Williams told us. ‘I decided that wasn’t the way forward and to try and put my face on the business if you like. Some of my most popular posts are nothing to do with boilers.’
Competitions are a great way to get people’s attention. Mark Chadwick used to run a guess the car competition, using #guessthecar on the Stadium Garage Ltd twitter account, and this boosted the firm’s followers in the early days. It became so popular he had to stop running it as it took up too much of his time.
Gareth Williams uses competitions to get more likes of his Facebook page and shares of his posts. It’s cheap advertising, as giving away a boiler service costs him £60 plus around £40 to Facebook to place the ad on the timelines of people in the areas he chooses. A recent example reached over 6,000 people in Newport.

Keeping your social media accounts active

Not everyone wants to spend hours on social media. One option to keep your Twitter account active is to use a retweeting service in addition to your own posts. You set your parameters of what subjects you would like it to retweet, based on hashtags and it retweets on your behalf. You can add in as many or as few tweets as you want.
This works well for Mark Chadwick. ‘It’s all about people being aware of us’ he explained. ‘If we run a campaign on local radio it probably pays for itself but with social media, the brand, the name is out there all the time.’ Sometimes he will tweet a lot himself, ‘It’s so convenient,’ he says, ‘You’ve always got your phone on you, so you can always tweet something. You take a picture and pop it up on there.’
Alternatively you can link your website and social media accounts. Prestige Plumbers’ Sharon Hack told us that her company uses a system that automatically posts website updates to Twitter as they happen.

Outsourcing your social media network

Some companies outsource their social media activities altogether. Barton Electrical Services has over 4,000 followers on Twitter, with a work-focussed account that is updated with relevant content several times a day – but all of the tweets are created by an external agency.
The growing company wanted a social media presence but felt it lacked the skills in-house to manage it. ‘We are working hard to brand ourselves and expand the business generally,’ Matthew Barton told us, ‘I would advise anyone who hasn’t got Twitter to get it, to keep up.’ Like many traders he felt that social media helped with branding and creating an awareness that the business was there.

Whether you manage your social media activity yourself, or outsource it, the message from all our traders who are using it successfully is that you can’t be half-hearted. Growing the relationship between you and your customers takes time and energy but persistence does reap rewards.


HETAS members get 50% off for 6 months

To learn more about what an Endorsement from Which? can do for your business, give Which? Trusted Traders a call on 0117 981 2929 and quote PA -LEAF. Due to the long standing partnership between HETAS and Which?, members get 50% off for 6 months. Don’t miss out!


 

Protect Your Van

Protect your van from theft

Protect Your VanFor many business owners their van is a key part of their team. It’s not just vital for getting to a job but also carrying all the tools and materials you need to complete a piece of work. Unfortunately it’s not just the van owners that are recognising their value as a van is broken into every 23 minutes in the UK[1]. In fact, last year 82% of vans were stolen without the owner’s keys[2]. Mainly because the criminal market have access to the same technology as the manufacturers. A criminal can easily hack a keyless entry system by using tech that they find online.

Technology

Keyless technology allows a vehicle to be unlocked and started when the key is within a certain distance. The problem for drivers of these vehicles is that by using a remote key thieves can extend the range of an owner’s key giving them easy access to the van.

Despite this heightened exposure to vehicle theft, there are steps that you can take to reduce your risk of being targeted:[3]

Protect Your Van

  1. Only park in secure garages, buildings or fenced-in areas. Alternatively, you could try and park somewhere that you would have a clear view of your vehicle.
  2. Keep your keys somewhere secure within your home, away from any windows.
  3. Don’t leave any valuables, high-end electronics or tools in your vehicle.
  4. Consider using anti-theft devices, such as a steering wheel lock or a fuel cut-off switch.
  5. Have a tracking device installed in your vehicle.
  6. Have your vehicle’s windows etched with its registration number or the last seven digits of the vehicle identification number, as this makes it harder for criminals to sell your van and easier for the police to identify it.

Insurance Policy

Don’t forget to check your van insurance policy. You need to check that you are adequately covered, and if there are any security conditions you need to follow to ensure your cover is valid. If you have any questions or queries regarding your van insurance, why not get in touch with HETAS Insurance.


This is a marketing communication.

HETAS Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Jelf insurance Brokers.

HETAS Insurance Services is a trading name of Jelf Insurance Brokers Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Not all products and services offered are regulated by the FCA.  Registered in England and Wales number 0837227. Registered Office: Hillside Court, Bowling Hill, Chipping Sodbury, BS37 6JX. FP18.775


[1] https://www.factsmagazine.co.uk/news/how-can-the-van-theft-epidemic-be-tackled/

[2] https://www.driving.co.uk/news/blight-van-man-huge-rise-theft-vans-smart-keys/

[3] Zywave Personal lines perspective newsletter February 2018


 

Heat Shielding Requirements

Heat Shielding Requirements

Back in the September Technical Bulletin, HETAS provided an update on the development status of the BS8303 standard for installation of domestic heating and cooking appliances burning wood and solid mineral fuels. HETAS was pleased to announce that on the 26th October 2018 the BS8303:2018 standard was officially published; this supersedes the requirements contained within the previous 1994 version.

The newly released standard contains some significant amendments, which HETAS will continue to inform registrants about through its Technical Bulletin publications and refresher training sessions. For the purposes of this article, the provisions surrounding the protection of combustible materials via an appropriate heat shield in freestanding configurations (not situated in an appliance recess) are covered, particularly in scenarios whereby the property in part is constructed of lightweight construction materials (i.e a timber stud inner leaf).

When can a heat shield installation requirements be applied?

In most cases, the heat shielding provisions will be applied in situations whereby the installer is limited for space and is unable to meet the appliance manufacturers required clearance distance to combustible materials stated within the appliance installation instructions.

Using an appropriate heat shield will allow for these distances to be reduced to those prescribed within the newly released BS8303 standard, and in doing so ensuring adequate protection to adjacent combustible materials is maintained at all time, in compliance with J4 Protection of Building, stipulated in the UK Building Regulations requirements.

Appliance Selection

Before commencing works using the prescribed shielding techniques, it is important to ensure that the installation design incorporates the use of a solid fuel appliance of suitable performance and also a heat shield manufactured from suitable materials. Under all circumstances, the following criteria shall at least be met:

  • The appliance installed has a nominal heat output not exceeding 7kW, as referenced on the CE data plate or as referenced in the manufacturers installation instructions technical data
  • The heat shield is manufactured from a minimum 1.5mm galvanized steel, and is appropriately affixed to the surrounding structure using non-combustible fixings
  • In instances where the appliance manufacturer provides the heat shield, confirmation of clearances within the manufacturer’s installation instructions when using a heat shield shall be followed

The heat shield shall at all times remain open at both the top and the bottom to allow for a flow of cool air between the heat shield and the combustible materials it is installed to protect.

Installation

If the appliance selection criteria and heat shield construction caveats as stated above are met, then the clearance distances to combustible materials as stated by the appliance manufacturer can be reduced to a minimum distance of 95mm from the rear of the appliance to the front face of the heat shield when installed at 90° angle parallel to two internal walls. If the appliance installation is at an angle of 45° to each to each wall, then these distances may be reduced to no less that 65mm from the nearest point of the appliance to the front face of the heat shield as stated.

Heat Shielding RequirementsImportant installation points to meet the heat shielding installation caveats of BS8303 include:

  • An air gap of 25mm is maintained at all times between the rear face of the heat shield and front face of the protected combustible material
  • Clearance distances from the size of the appliance to the front face of the appliance shield when installed in a 90° configuration is a minimum of 95mm
  • The shield extends to at least the extremities of the hearth, and at least 300mm above the top surface of the appliance
  • There shall be no protrusions above the shield to hinder flow of cool air behind (i.e shelves)

HETAS has created a series of diagrams  to help visually illustrate required heat shielding clearances and other measurements. Click the images to download the guidance images.


Further Information

For more information and guidance on the new heat shielding requirements prescribed within BS8303, HETAS registrants can contact the HETAS Technical Helpline on 01684 278194 (please have registration number to hand) or email technical@hetas.co.uk.


 

Clean Air Strategy 2019

Government Announces Clean Air Strategy 2019

Clean Air Strategy 2019Today the Government published the Clean Air Strategy 2019, a key document in tackling air pollution, making our air healthier to breath, protecting nature and boosting the economy. The strategy looks at a range of actions to reduce emissions/pollution, including:

  • Transport
  • The home
  • Farming
  • Industry
  • Clean growth and innovation

For our industry, chapter 6 of the strategy is of real importance, actions to reduce emissions at home. One of the aims of the strategy is to raise awareness of the breadth of everyday activities that contribute to air pollution.

The government’s objective is to raise awareness of the potential impacts of air pollution at home and ensure that consumers are armed with reliable information enabling them to make informed choices to protect themselves, their families and their neighbours.

 As you will no doubt be aware open fires and wood burning stoves have risen in popularity over the years, providing an additional form of heating for many, and for some, the sole heat source. While emissions from domestic burning have reduced significantly since the 1950’s, there is more that can be done to reduce pollution.

What does the strategy tell us?

It is clear that not all forms of domestic burning are equally polluting. Appliances, how well they are used and maintained along with what fuels are used can all make a big difference to how much pollution is produced.

The strategy also identifies that “using cleaner fuels, in a cleaner appliance which is installed by a competent person, knowing how to operate it efficiently, and ensuring that chimneys are regularly swept, will all make a big difference”.

Strategy Key Actions

HETAS summarised many of the key developments in a post last year in a post about misleading headlines relating to the banning of wood stoves, with many of these points remaining applicable to the strategy.Here are the key action points from the Clean Air Strategy 2019.

  • Legislate to prohibit sale of the most polluting fuels

We have already seen the launch of Woodsure’s Ready to Burn scheme which now has a large number of accredited suppliers committed to the scheme and HETAS is updating it’s list of Approved smokeless fuels to meet future legislation requirements.

  • Ensure that only the cleanest stoves are available for sale by 2022

HETAS appliance approval is already recognising appliances that are ahead of the game and already Ecodesign compliant. By 2022 HETAS will only accept Ecodesign compliant stoves. HETAS also works with the SIA to list Ecodesign Ready Stoves on the website.

  • Make changes to existing smoke control legislation to make it easier to enforce

HETAS recognises that enforcement can be challenging so any developments made through the Environment Bill will be welcome. Dealing with polluters is an important step in improving air quality.

  • Give new powers to local authorities to take action in areas of high pollution

HETAS is keen to see a uniform approach across the UK to enforcement to avoid confusion, again with a focus on tackling polluters.

  • Work across government to look at opportunities to align work on air quality, clean growth and fuel poverty in future policy design

In recent years we have seen the important role Defra has in working with key industry organisations like HETAS, Woodsure, the Stove Industry Alliance and chimney sweeping organisations. It is pleasing to see a joined-up approach taken at government level regarding future policy.

  • Develop a dedicated communications campaign targeted at domestic burners, to improve awareness of the environmental impact of their actions

HETAS recognises the vital role our registrants play in any consumer awareness campaign. From retailers offering advice on the right appliance and fuel, installers commissioning appliances to sweeps and service engineers offering ongoing advice. HETAS along with Woodsure and other industry organisations continue to liaise with Defra on any awareness campaigns.

  • Work with industry to identify an appropriate test standard for new solid fuels entering the market

Again, both HETAS and Woodsure are playing a key role in these developments. HETAS was recently awarded the Defra contract as the Contractor to provide technical support to enable it to meet its legal obligations under the Clean Air Act 1993, with effect from 1st December 2018. For now, ensure you check the HETAS approved fuels list for solid mineral fuels, Woodsure for woodfuels along with the manufacturer’s instructions for specific advice on what to burn.

HETAS will continue to update our registrants through our monthly newsletters and Technical Bulletins, all of which are available in the Technical Area of the website. We do expect further details on this strategy over the coming months, make sure you stay tuned to the website and newsletters for further updates.


Further Reading


 

Festive Fireplace Plans

Festive fireplace plans?

It’s that time of the year where you will be getting ready to deck the halls with boughes of holly. There is every chance you will want to dress your fireplace with some seasonal flourishes, in the traditional way. Be warned, this could prove to be a fire risk!

There’ll be much mistletoeing and hearts will be glowing, there’ll certainly be parties for hosting and marshmallows for toasting. Can you tell that we have started playing Christmas tunes? The mini mince pies are back and no doubt you’ll have your tree up now.

This year make sure you aren’t creating your own fire hazard. Your stove or fireplace can pump out some heat that could lead to decorations catching light.

The instructions for your stove will have clear guidance on safe distances to combustible materials, make sure you stick to them.


Further Reading


 

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Here at HETAS we want to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable festive period with your family and friends. Here are some of our top festive tips to help you along the way, including getting your chimney swept and checking smoke and CO alarms.  

Be alarmed!

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an extremely poisonous gas that can be present in the fumes from the combustion of fuel’s which aren’t burnt under the correct conditions. Fuels such as gas, oil, solid mineral fuel and biomass all have the potential to emit CO. The gas cannot be seen, smelled or tasted making it difficult to detect.

Every Tuesday we support the #testittuesday initiative encouraging everyone to check their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.

Head over to the HETAS Facebook page for regular tips and advice.

CO alarms must be in a permanent, fixed position and located in the same room as the appliance, as per Approved Document J of the Building Regulations. The handy picture below identifies the best position for a CO alarm.

Make sure you are aware of the signs of symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, our advice page has some useful tips.

Safely Stored

We have seen it so many times, a pile of logs stacked neatly next to a stove. This can be very dangerous and has led to firewood igniting before it’s even made it into the stove.

As recently as last weekend we were informed of a fire caused by logs being stored too close to a wood burning stove. Click here to find out more.

Earlier this year, logs stored next to a stove ignited and caused a house fire. Read the full article in the Dorset Echo.

Where is your firewood stored? Make sure you keep your firewood a safe distance from the stove.

Keep guard!

As the story above highlighted, an unattended stove can have dangerous consequences. Never leave a stove unattended and make sure the fire has been put out before you head off to bed or leave the house.

You might also have family visiting with younger children or elderly who might not be used to a stove. If the stove is lit, ensure the use of a fireguard.

Bin that ash

Hot and cooling ashes can be a fire and carbon monoxide hazard. Make sure that you leave sufficient time after a fire to let the ash cool and keep the door to the stove closed. Ensure that all disposing of ash is done so with the correct equipment, such as safety gloves. Use a galvanised steel or metal ash can or bucket that can be sealed to collect all the unwanted ash. Take your time to remove the ashes to avoid any ash spreading across your room. Slowly transport the container outside of your house and dispose of in a designated area. Do not allow ash to collect in the bucket inside your house for any period of time.

Take a read of our full article on stove ash at https://www.hetas.co.uk/safe-disposal-of-ash-from-your-stove/


Further Reading