HETAS and Woodsure are discussing our sector’s contribution to clean air and carbon saving with Government Departments Defra and BEIS.
Both have recently consulted and published strategy documents. We recognise that our industry is part of the solution and we are discussing a number of initiatives where we want to work with Government and with industry key stakeholders like installers, servicing businesses, sweeps associations, manufacturers of appliances and equipment, retailers and consumers.
As an industry, we need to adapt to changes in our working environment and through a variety of initiatives working with our industry partners, we strongly believe we can make the necessary changes to give them the confidence to carry on buying and using solid fuel, wood, biomass appliances and fuels whilst reducing environmental impact.
We already see from our work notification statistics that the number of installations notified to HETAS in the last three years has remained relatively steady; not varying by more than 5% up or down. In order to maintain that level of confidence in our sector there are a number of challenges:
- Getting the installations right first time! The reputation of our sector relies heavily on our registered installers doing a great, compliant job, first time and avoiding the need for customers to complain. The reputation of our industry is at risk when installations are not correct first time and customers have to complain to HETAS, Trading Standards etc
- Ensuring customers are advised properly and choose an appliance that is suitable for them and the location they choose for installation – otherwise thermostats shut down, or appliance controls are closed off causing long periods of slumber if the appliance is oversized; or never heats the space due to under sizing – and then people over-fuel the appliance and cause other problems
- Customers benefit from training by installers, service engineers and sweeps – they must be taught to burn the right fuel in the right way and to keep up to date with servicing and sweeping – this reduces environmental impact and enhances the reputation of our sector.
- Use a HETAS registered installer who can give the right advice and install right first time – the trained installer can make the difference between a good job and a bad one – and can be responsible for training consumers to use appliances and fuels responsibly.
- Know your products really well; the consumer usually chooses a stove based on looks – if their chosen installer really understands the appliances they can help customers make the best choices – the HETAS web site lists large numbers of appliances and each listing contains details like output, efficiency, re-fuel times, fuel types etc – looking at our web site or Guide helps you to be the expert that the customer looks to for advice – and our installer helpline for registered installers helps you find solutions for those tricky installations – or helps you to say no to some of the odd things some customer ask for!
It is important to remember that you are the expert and you are the person most likely to influence the customer – the installer, sweep, service engineer, is at the centre of all of this and is the trusted adviser. HETAS gives you support through newsletters, technical bulletins, the helpline for registrants, the technical committee, installer feedback group etc. Together we can make a difference.