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HETAS complaints

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 Dave the Rave 18 Nov 2022

Evening, how you’re all having a good one.

Does anyone know much about how well HETAS deal with complaints about wood burner fitting by their qualified engineers?

Ive a bit of an issue and have exhausted all avenues with the company that sold it and their independent engineer.

Basically, the gap between the top of the stove and the combustible wooden beam is way too short, which was pointed out to me by a qualified person.

I have had no luck with the companies involved in rectifying the issue.

I’m not a serial complainer but this is a safety issue, and the company is showing scant regard for mine.

Any input gratefully received.

thanks

Dave

1
 jiminy483 18 Nov 2022
In reply to Dave the Rave:

Does it need a heat shield?

OP Dave the Rave 19 Nov 2022
In reply to jiminy483:

> Does it need a heat shield?

It needs summat. Heat shield would be an option but a potential eye sore and quick fix. Correct installation in the first place would have been better. 

 jiminy483 19 Nov 2022
In reply to Dave the Rave:

I was just thinking it might be an inexpensive way to make it safe. Good luck getting it sorted, no experience with HETAS but I guess they'd want to know if one of their registered fitters is ignoring building regs.

 Rick Graham 19 Nov 2022
In reply to jiminy483:

> I was just thinking it might be an inexpensive way to make it safe. Good luck getting it sorted, no experience with HETAS but I guess they'd want to know if one of their registered fitters is ignoring building regs.

Depends whether hetas wants to be a jobs for my mates only  club, money making exercise or a safety regulator. Dave could ask them.

In reply to Dave the Rave:

Have you paid the installer in full?

 Bone Idle 20 Nov 2022
In reply to Dave the Rave:

HETAS qualified engineers undertake a maximum of four days of training to fully qualify.

Ask your council building control to inspect the appliance. 

If there is a dangerous install sue the arse of the installer.

In reply to Bone Idle:

> Ask your council building control to inspect the appliance. 

I installed my own log burner under a building control notice. It was quickly apparent that I knew alot more about installing solid fuel appliances than they did.

Doesn't take away the fact that they would have alot more leverage over a dodgy installer though.

OP Dave the Rave 20 Nov 2022
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

> Have you paid the installer in full?

Yes it’s 17 months fitted. I’ve got aHETAS certificate too.

I’ve only emailed the company and then the engineer to create a trail.

Company- ‘it’s the engineer not us after 12 months’

Engineer- seemed to be quite helpful at first. Offered to install a plate if I was worried. I replied that I would consider it for free, and with pictures of how it would look first. 
Also asked if this would make it meet the regs for if I sold the property. 

He seemed to take his bat home and asked if I had a HETAS certificate.

Sent him a picture of it with his name on.

No correspondence since.

My only option is HETAS now.

OP Dave the Rave 20 Nov 2022
In reply to Bone Idle:

> HETAS qualified engineers undertake a maximum of four days of training to fully qualify.

Thata interesting

> Ask your council building control to inspect the appliance. 

> If there is a dangerous install sue the arse of the installer.

Just want it fitting properly and not a botched, unsightly quick fix preferably not by this engineer.

 wbo2 20 Nov 2022
In reply to Dave the Rave:  No you still have the lawyer options for the company , the engineer and you should likely give HETAS a sharp email/call.  

The work was still dangerous in the 12 months of the company guarantee, and to be honest that sounds hokey as heck

OP Dave the Rave 20 Nov 2022
In reply to wbo2:

Thanks. 
Im a bit disappointed with the both to be honest. 
A sweep spotted the issue and said the gap should be 450 mm from top of stove to any combustible material i.e oak beam.I emailed the company and he was to be fair quite rude. He said the gap should be 3 x the 5 inch flue diameter and that basically the sweep should stick to sweeping chimneys if he doesn’t know the facts.

Now the gap is 9” instead of 15” which makes the sweeps estimate more reliable than the engineers fitting. I pointed this out and that his guarantee wasn’t valid as it was installed incorrectly. I got short shrift.

I presume he tipped the engineer off.

Contacted him and he asked if there was any heat damage. Sent him a pic of the big split under the beam and that it was too hot to touch.

He said this was normal and ‘without being facetious’ things get hot near stoves.

Pointed out that they get hotter if the gap isn’t to regs…….. and so on.

They are no longer worth discussing with but I have all conversations on email thankfully .

In reply to Dave the Rave:

Have you checked the buildings regs to confirm the requirements? A quick look suggests things are quite complex.

OP Dave the Rave 20 Nov 2022
In reply to MG:

I haven’t to be fair. Where do I find those please?

In reply to Dave the Rave:

Google "approved document j"

In reply to MG:

> Google "approved document j"

Page 32 - 35 looks like the relevant part?

OP - be aware that a shield may not be enough if it gets ridiculously hot i.e. is low down in the flue near the hearth.  If the installer/engineer turns out to be in the wrong you should name and shame them on local social media, suggesting people check their installations. Their incompetence is a matter of life and death, so there's no room for niceties.

 Brown 21 Nov 2022
In reply to MG:

This sparked my interest having just had a stove fitted.

I've read the approved document twice now and cannot identify where it details the distance from the body of the stove to a combustible lintel. I can see the reference to distances between flues and combustible materials but not from stove bodies to combustible materials.

​​​

In reply to Toerag:

I don't know but I can't immediately see any 450mm requirement as the OP suggested was required. Ive a suspicion it will meet the requirements. Whether it is safe is a slightly different question.

OP Dave the Rave 21 Nov 2022
In reply to MG:

> I don't know but I can't immediately see any 450mm requirement as the OP suggested was required. Ive a suspicion it will meet the requirements. Whether it is safe is a slightly different question.

Yeah I couldn’t see anything in the document either. Interestingly I mentioned 450 mm quoted by the sweep to the company who sold it, and he said the sweep was wrong it was actually supposed to be 3x flue diameter or 15 “ in this case(370mm). So I assume that it must be a thing. 

 jiminy483 21 Nov 2022
In reply to Dave the Rave:

https://www.stovesonline.co.uk/flue-distance-to-combustibles.html

I think you will need to remove the oak or fit a heat shield.

 Snyggapa 21 Nov 2022
In reply to Dave the Rave:

I have a vague recollection that manufactures instructions override the building regs approved docs. What make and model stove is it, see if we can find you an installation guide.

 Brown 21 Nov 2022
In reply to Snyggapa:

Looking at Approved Document J and the insterlation guide that came with my stove it would appear that the distance from the stove to combustible materials is covered by the stove manual and not Document J.

Whilst both insterlation manuals talk about J with regards flues, neither mention it with regards the stove body to combustible materials distance. As both stoves give different distances I'd think this is determined on a device by device basis.

 tallsteve 21 Nov 2022
In reply to Dave the Rave:

I retrofitted an oak surround and was also told 450mm by the mail order surround company (sounded knowledgeable on the phone and refused to sell the solid oak to me -only the vaneer version as I had a solid fuel fire).   I only have about 250mm, so fitted a fire board shield made from Gyproc Fireline fire board against the oak.  At 250mm away the board is very warm on the fire side and the oak just a bit warmer than room temperature.  The board has the advantage that I could paint it and cover the ugly red brick. Screwed into brick so the screws don't transfer heat to the wood.

In reply to Dave the Rave:

IIRC the building regs specify that the minimum distance to combustibles is X, where X is specified by the manufacturer, and should be on a label.  Unfortunately, in every potentially defective installation I have inspected, the label has either been burned away (along with the surrounding timber-work) or was never there to begin with, which makes pursuing the matter a bit tricky!

In reply to Brown:

> Looking at Approved Document J and the insterlation guide that came with my stove it would appear that the distance from the stove to combustible materials is covered by the stove manual and not Document J.

> Whilst both insterlation manuals talk about J with regards flues, neither mention it with regards the stove body to combustible materials distance. As both stoves give different distances I'd think this is determined on a device by device basis.

Thinking about it, it will differ between stoves. Theres different distances for single skin and double skin flues, so the stove construction with the fire bricks and baffle plates etc will affect the distance.

Just looked at the manual for my Morso Badger and its 200mm behind, 600mm to sides. It then gets confusing, with 800mm to combustible furniture and 600mm to 'above the stove furniture', whatever that is, which might include a beam.

Edit: I suppose a stove top fan will also make a difference. TBH I'd be a lot more worried about a sofa 800mm in front of the stove than an oak beam 600mm above, but the OPs 9” does sound very close.

Post edited at 07:52
 Brown 22 Nov 2022
In reply to Ridge:

Yep. Not really commenting on the OP and whether that was safe/acceptable.

The stove I've just put in appears to require 375 mm which whilst short is bigger than the 229 mm (9 inch) mentioned above.

In reply to Dave the Rave:

I’m not a hetas engineer but this how I understand it :

The distance from the stove to the lintel is determined by the manufacturers instructions for the stove. 

The more critical dimension is the distance from the stove pipe/flue. This is normally single-walled in a typical recessed installation and needs to big clearance distance (15” ?). This is usually single- walled because it helps with more hot radiant black area to chuck heat into the room. 

The alternative is to use a section of compatible twin-walled flue system for the first section of flue. Lower heat output, but some twin wall systems can go as low as 50mm to combustibles and it has a low surface temperature. 

Post edited at 23:06
 Lord_ash2000 25 Nov 2022
In reply to Dave the Rave:

The fitter sounds a bit iffy to me. I had someone out (HETAS Registered) to look at installing my wood burner. The first thing he mentioned was the distance of my oak beam from the stove pipe stating that it should be at least 3x the distance away from any combustible item. Not sure about the distance from the top of the stove to the oak beam but under 450 does seem very close.

In the end, I installed it myself because he was going to cost a fortune for a relatively simple install, plus he wanted to remove my oak beam. Now although my stove pipe does technically get closer than it should to the beam it barely has an effect. It's plenty over 450mm from the stovetop though which is by far the primary heat source so I deem it fine. 

Post edited at 09:11
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

I think a lot depends on how strictly they define 'combustible'.

There's a big difference between a sofa, a sheet of foam cladding (the stuff they're removing from tower blocks) and a dense lump of oak when it comes to being a fire hazard when placing it near a radiant heat source like a stove.

 flatlandrich 25 Nov 2022
In reply to Dave the Rave:

I've noticed that in many of the replies here people are saying how warm the areas surrounding their stoves get during normal operation. Nobody seems to have thought about what could happen during abnormal operation. 

Consider this, you need to leave the stove unattended for a while so you add some extra fuel and close the dampers a bit before going out. But you neglect to close the door properly, or the damper sticks open, or the dog comes in and knocks the companion set over breaking the glass. Now you've got a runaway fire and an opening for flames to escape the firebox. The stove overheats, flames reach higher up the flu, maybe starting a chimney fire or escaping out around the sweeping access. You're definitely right to want it put right to the proper specs, whatever they maybe for your setup. 

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