Boiler shortage could prevent vulnerable people from heating homes, plumbers warn Business News

Vulnerable and elderly people may not be able to heat their homes this winter due to a shortage of parts for boilers and central heating systems, plumbers have warned.

The industry has sounded the alarm in the face of growing problems with the supply of boilers and spare parts due to supply chain chaos caused by Brexit bureaucracy, high demand, manufacturing disruptions during the pandemic and the shortage of truck drivers.

The combination of problems left supermarket shelves empty and led to shortages of products, from building materials to microchips.

People could face long waits for a qualified plumber to be able to repair their heaters, the industry’s trade body said. Charities have warned that any shortages will add to a “potent mix” of factors that fuel poor people already face.

Nearly 3 million people could not afford to heat their homes this winter, according to estimates from the End Fuel Poverty coalition. The number has risen significantly after energy regulator Ofgem raised the energy price cap by £ 139 this month – a measure that will take effect on October 1.

Kevin Wellman, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineers, said plumbers had already been forced to delay work and manufacturers were struggling to keep up with growing demand.

“It has a direct impact on the consumer,” he said. “My fear is that as the winter months approach, there will be even more problems for vulnerable people if their appliances fail, if their boilers fail and there is a delay in the process. ” obtaining a replacement boiler or parts. “

The problems are exacerbated by a long-standing shortage of qualified plumbers and heating engineers as well as a high demand for labor during the pandemic. A lot of people have used the money they saved on things like vacations, clothing, and travel expenses to make home improvements.

A stamp duty holiday and a “space race” have energized the real estate market, further increasing the demand for skilled craftspeople.

Mr Wellman also cautioned plumbers to be careful where they buy parts and not to go to potentially substandard suppliers.

“What could make matters worse is if there are non-conforming products purchased, not through reputable wholesalers, but perhaps online. There could unfortunately be all kinds of dangers ahead. People have to be very vigilant.

He added: “Dutiful plumbers work as many hours as they can work to help

“Our advice is to know a good, competent plumber because when it comes to an emergency, if you’ve never had contact with them, you may not be high on their priority list.

Charities and campaign groups representing the elderly and those facing fuel poverty have expressed concern over the warning.

“Any labor shortage that impacts the ability of households to warm themselves is a dangerous addition to the already potent mix of issues facing people in fuel poverty,” said Simon Francis, coordinator of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition.

“Skilled workers will also be at the heart of the installation of new, more environmentally friendly heating systems. Therefore, a solution to this skills crisis urgently needs to be found.”

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at AGE UK, said: “Staying warm is really important for the health of the elderly during the winter, so any suggestion that there might be a shortage of spare parts for boilers or Qualified engineers capable of repairing heating systems if they are bad is a cause for concern.

“Seniors are more likely than others to have aging heating systems which, in turn, are more likely to fail, so any supply problem is likely to hit them particularly hard.”

Anyone who is struggling to pay for a boiler repair or replacement should check with their town hall or energy supplier to see what assistance they can offer, Ms Abrahams said.

AGE UK has also published a calles guide Save energy, pay lesswith practical tips to help keep homes warm this winter.

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This notice was published: 2021-08-27 19:36:17

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