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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Faulty underfloor heating

Customer Question

Underfloor Heating

Good evening: Fire damage to domestic property. Time of Incident: Monday 11 Jan 2006 Time: 09.10am Place: Home Circumstances: Purchased an electric underfloor heating system for laminate flooring only (foil type thin wiring system) from one of the online large u/f specialist outlet, followed the instruction laid the floor matting and connected ourselves for the time being for the past 8 weeks. However last weekend I took two my sofa bed cushion type (square form type) to the new house we are renovating (for the past 13 month and nearly to completion). left on Friday even (as I went over everyday or every other day after works to do some more DIY). Electrician was there on Sunday to finishing other connections no problem. Monday morning my neighbour rang me left me a voice mail advised they can see thick smoke filled with the house and they reported the incident to the fire brigade, which to their credit they turned up in 5 minutes before I turned around on the motor way came home. After the fire brigade extinguished the fire and make safe the house with smoke level I was allowed in, and been advised the cause of fire was due to the under floor heating system, and one of my sofa bed cushion was already burnt to cinders. It appeared the underfloor heating was overheated and went down melted the poly insulation boards, then extended to the T&G chipboard and went down to the void, which was the reason neighbour can smell and see the thick smoke. By the time fire brigade attended the fire was just came through the surface and about the engulf. Complications: Due to the time took for our renovation works (commenced from 13 January 2015) we couldn't get any normal household building or content insurance cover, But just before Christmas I managed to take out a house content cover as I was so worried that something bad could happen! But no building cover. When the fire was extinguished I contacted my content insurance company made a claim, they advised me if its not live in then more than likely it will be classified as unoccupied, and pending for a loss adjusters visit. I also contacted the underfloor heating online supplier, initially they just blankly advised me that if it was ourselves connected the heating system, all guarantee will be void, although I argued although we connected the system ourselves but it was fully functional until the furniture started to arrive. As it is the cost to put back where I was I have rough estimated at around £15,000.00; this including the initial fire restoration cleaning services (£2500.00), the cost of the underfloor heating system and insulation boards £2,767.00, cost of emergency cleaning works done on the day of the fire and redecoration required to the building and repair (some of the double glazing units were heat damaged and no longer insulate I was advised by the fire restoration company). Bot***** *****ne £15,000.00 costs incurred and to put back where I was. After the underfloor heating company's independent assessor attended this afternoon, I have received a voice mail from the underfloor heating company that they are willing to replace the matting for me, but I was not sure whether they meant the remaining unused matting or the whole lot (as the poly insulation boards are totally beyond economical salvage due to the fire burning residual particles have gone into the fibre. Forgot the key information: during their independent electrical assessor's visit to our property, he took one look straightway he advised both myself and the content loss adjuster that the cause of fire was due to Mass blockage from the surface, and there fore the underfloor heating matting over heated and went downwards. The assessor then pointed out to us that they booklet advised not to install any heavy furniture, this and that, which in the nutshell they would like you to have an empty room. Which in my opinion its than not a consumer user friendly product is it? Please advise what is my legal position? Do I have any chance of recover of my loss against the online retailer of their product? I do have any high hope for the contents insurance company to cover me as its an unoccupied building Many Thanks for your time. Mrs Sutton

Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 11 months ago.
Hello,
I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.
I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.
Thank you!
Nicola

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