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Housing (Room Heaters)

Volume 407: debated on Tuesday 24 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many glass-fronted room heaters have been replaced by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in each of the past 10 years; what health and safety procedures are in place to ensure that second-hand room heaters pose no risk to those tenants having them installed; and how often these procedures are updated.[119713]

The Housing Executive is currently in the process of replacing all glass-fronted room heaters with oil or natural gas systems and, over the last four years the number of room heaters in Housing Executive homes has been reduced from around 52,000 to 25,284. It is expected that the majority of the remaining room heaters will be replaced over the next three years. Figures for the 10 individual years are not available in the form requested and could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.Damaged or unserviceable glass-fronted room heaters are only replaced with second-hand units as an interim measure in situations where a full-scale heating replacement scheme has already been programmed. Each second-hand room heater is examined and assessed by a major heating contractor and if deemed to be in good order it is then fully re-conditioned before it is re-fitted. During the re-conditioning process the appliance is thoroughly checked and tested in the same manner and to the same standards applied to a new appliance. At the time of commissioning, the installation is checked in-situ to the same standards as a new appliance and a commissioning certificate produced. This procedure is now only into its second year of operation and is presently under review.