OFTEC, which represents the domestic oil heating and cooking industry in Ireland, has revealed a list of the most shocking DIY ‘fails’ seen by local technicians to outline to homeowners the dangerous effects of carelessly fixing or updating home heating systems.
By Damian Moran
OFTEC has issued the warning during Home Improvement Month, when many homeowners will take advantage of bank holidays to complete odd-jobs and do-it-yourself projects around the home. During this time, householders may also be considering their options to upgrade or modernise their home ahead of the spring property sales surge.
As technicians shared their horror stories this month, OFTEC was concerned with the level of dangerous heating tasks being carried out by householders, potentially causing great risk to their homes and their neighbouring area. The most common bodged heating repair jobs seen by registered local technicians include:
· Attempting to fix or replace a boiler
· Incorrectly blocking up flue pipes
· Attempting to fit new radiators
· Installing a new oil tank or moving an existing one
· Locating an oil tank close to gas cylinders
· Balancing an oil tank on an unstable makeshift stand
David Blevings, OFTEC Ireland manager commented: “Oil is a very safe fuel, provided it is installed, stored and maintained correctly. However, our technicians have responded to numerous cases where they have had to repair damage caused by attempted DIY jobs. Quick fixes carried out by handy men, technicians not in a competent persons scheme or by homeowners themselves often create more problems, resulting in a more expensive and time consuming professional repair job.”
With approximately 600,000 homes in Ireland using oil as their main heating source, the organisation is keen to alert property owners about the potential dangers of trying to fix, repair, move or install their own heating systems.
David Blevings added, “It is incredibly dangerous to service a heating system yourself as it could easily create a Carbon Monoxide poisoning risk, an invisible gas that can quickly kill with no warning. A potential fire hazard or fuel or water leak can also be caused by unqualified heating services.”
“If you’re considering upgrading your oil heating system this Home Improvement Month, it is vital that you use an OFTEC registered installer to safely undertake the process. Trying to do any heating work yourself or using cowboy installers to cut costs could lead to long-term problems and could put lives at risk.”
“With the price of oil so low, we recommend using your cost savings to employ a competent person (ie: OFTEC registered) to safely service your oil appliances and carry out the work, providing you with a professional heating check-up and a complete peace of mind.”
OFTEC registered technicians work across Ireland, at a very high standard. They are endorsed by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). It is easy to find registered technicians across Ireland from the OFTEC website using a simple postcode or county search.
For your nearest OFTEC registered technician go to http://www.oftec.org.uk/Consumers/FindTechnician