Families in Essex are worrying that broken boilers could have made their children ill.
The Essex Chronicle reports that households in Arnhem Road, Melbourne, were left without hot water and central heating for a week after experts classed their boilers as ‘immediately dangerous’.
Charitable housing organisation CHP replaced the private tenants’ boilers, but residents are concerned that the appliances could have been releasing dangerous gases into their homes, leading to health complaints including respiratory problems, stomach aches and coughs.
The households are particularly concerned about the effects of nitrogen oxides – a combustion byproduct that has been linked to breathing problems.
Emily Smith, a 33-year-old mother-of-two, told the newspaper that she received an annual boiler safety check on September 2nd. The engineer had previously looked at her neighbour’s boiler and found that the two flue pipes – which extracted and imported gas – were too close to each other, and told Ms Smith that the appliance would have to be switched off.
Ms Smith then contacted CHP to ask why other boilers were not being checked, and the following day, engineers condemned her neighbours’ boilers and arranged boiler replacements.
She said she felt as if the housing provider “let everyone down”. She explained that she thought her home was safe until she found out her boiler could have been making her children ill – her six-year-old daughter Charlotte has asthma, which Ms Smith said appears to worsen in the house.
CHP “don’t seem to care about people’s safety”, she told the Chronicle.
Ms Smith suggested that CHP would not have arranged safety checks for her neighbours’ boilers if she had not emailed the firm, and wondered how many other people’s homes were dangerous.
Susan Carson, another tenant in the privately-rented households, said her husband has been advised to consider taking legal action against CHP. She said that she and her two children have had bad coughs since they moved in to the property, and that she only heard about the boiler safety problems through Ms Smith.
Ms Carson revealed that her boiler had a gas safety check three months ago and that she was told it was fine at this time. Both Ms Carson and Ms Smith revealed their children have stomach aches almost every night.
CHP Commercial Services Director Denise Kent told the Chronicle that her company’s contractor found that a “small number” of central heating systems in Arnhem Road were defective.
The firm “swiftly rectified” these faults and has responded to all residents’ concerns, she stated.
Free gas safety checks with our boiler breakdown cover
Take out boiler cover with 247 Home Rescue and receive free annual gas safety checks, enabling you to ensure that your gas appliance is running properly and does not pose any danger to you and your family. Call us on 0345 3192 247 to find out what we could offer you.