Delays to boiler repair leaves woman and two children in Finchingfield without heating or hot water during freezing weather conditions

PUBLISHED: 09:45 08 March 2018 | UPDATED: 09:46 08 March 2018

Rebecca Noakes and her two children in their Finchingfield home. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Rebecca Noakes and her two children in their Finchingfield home. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Archant

A woman and her two young children from Finchingfield have been living without heating and hot water for four weeks after her pleas for help over a suspected leak in the heating system were apparently ignored, leading to the boiler flooding.

Rebecca Creakes has been keeping her home warm with 10 electric heaters and an open fire, but due to the recent freezing weather conditions, she hasn’t been able to get any wood for the fire and her electricity bill since the boiler broke has hit almost £400.

Rebecca, 40, says she contacted the pipe insurance company HomeServe in December 2017 about a suspected leak in the heating system after a report by an engineer stated the boiler was in perfect working condition but the feed and expansion tank was constantly filling which would be hazardous to the boiler if left unattended.

Rebecca said she has been trying to get HomeServe to do the replacement works, but she was told due to the house being a Grade II listed building, Homeserve had to seek permission from the council.

The boiler flooded on February 12 and Rebecca said this wouldn’t have happened if the suspected leak had been addressed.

She said: “This would never have happened if they had followed the timeline of what should have been done with the suspected leak.

“If we don’t have the heaters on, the children’s bedrooms are nine degrees. On a normal day, I can get it up to 15 degrees. I’ve now got chilblains on my hands and my feet and so have my children.”

On March 1, Homeserve sent engineers to do a further test but it could not be done as there was no working boiler and no way of isolating pipes upstairs and downstairs to test each floor.

Rebecca said: “Last week my pipes all froze, so I had no toilet, dishwasher, or washing machine. On Monday my electrics blew because I was trying to heat the house with 10 heaters going. I had to have an electrician out that day, so then I had no water, no heating, nothing to cook with.”

Rebecca said she has been sleeping in the living room with her two children, a five-year-old boy and an eight-year-old girl, to keep warm.

She said: “I’ve already burnt out two extension cables so I’m at risk of fire. I don’t sleep, I have a fire extinguisher by my bed.”

A spokesman for HomeServe said: “This is a complicated claim that has involved a number of organisations beyond HomeServe, including the local council. We have someone out at the property today (March 6) and continue to do everything we can to make sure this is resolved appropriately. Our customers remain our highest priority and we are working really hard to deliver an exceptional level of service.”

Braintree District Council confirmed a general enquiry was made to their historic buildings advisor in late December, but no contact has been made since.

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