Is modern life a bit rubbish? It would appear so and it’s Londoners who are leading the way in creating more hazards in the home, according to research by Neos. About 19 million UK homes are at risk from modern ‘must have’ appliances, as 35% of Brits have bought mod cons such as wood burning stoves, wet rooms and boiling water taps. Yet new research from Neos, the UK’s first smart home insurance provider, exposes the hidden dangers of these appliances – 28% of homeowners say they have, or know someone who has, experienced an accident in their home caused by these mod cons.
The most popular are connected thermostats (26%), washer/dryer combos (13%) and boiling water taps (10%), and 6.2 million plan to install one of the top ten most popular appliances in the New Year. Almost half (45%) say they installed one to make their life easier, whilst 17% like the way they look. Yet 64% of Brits don’t realise the dangers these mod cons pose.
This is because homeowners aren’t being given the right safety advice when mod cons are installed, say Neos. Just 13% of people who own a mod con have been given a demo by a professional, with 20% stating they received no safety advice at all. Just 15% of those with a wood burning stove have been offered advice about where to store logs and only 15% of those with a wet room were advised to leave an access panel to check plumbing.
This lack of advice is putting families at risk. Over a quarter (26%) admit to storing logs next to their wood burning stove, and a further 10% store them directly above the stove – which fire services warn increases the risk of fire. A third of homeowners only check their appliances for leaks once a year, despite warnings that wet rooms have led to an increase in water damage claims because of the complex pipework required.
Not all Brits are enthused by mod cons – 28% say they wouldn’t want one at all, with 35% worried about the increased risk to their home that these mod cons would cause. When asked how they would feel if a mod con caused significant damage to their home, 32% say it would make them feel stressed and one in five say they would feel frustrated if the problem could have been detected sooner.
Yet nearly two thirds (62%) say they would be much more likely to install a mod con if they had an early warning system in place, to give them peace of mind that any problems would be caught before significant damage is caused.
Matt Poll, co-founder of Neos, said: “Millions of people are installing mod cons to make like easier and add a touch of style, but, in doing so, could be unwittingly adding new risks to their homes. We wanted to understand the steps people are taking to prevent problems happening. It’s clear more can be done at the point of installation and post-sale to make sure they have the right advice to use these appliances safely.
Our early detection system includes a range of smart home sensors, all included as standard. Giving homeowners the peace of mind that if anything does go wrong, they’ll be alerted straight away and can minimise any damage that might be caused.”
Paul Harmer, Technical Director of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering (CIPHE) commented, “It’s not just the physical damage to properties that you have to consider, such as sodden electrics, damage to floors and ceilings, ruined carpets and wall coverings etc. It’s also damage to possessions within the home such as furniture, electrical items and those irreplaceable belongings such as photos. The sooner you can catch a leak, the less damage will be caused to your home. That’s why we urge everyone to take any steps they can to ensure early detection of leaks in order to avoid months of upheaval and damage to their home.”
Top 10 must-have mod cons – do you have them in your home?
1. Connected heating/thermostat
2. Washer/dryer combo
3. Boiling water tap
4. Fridge with water and ice dispenser plumbed in
5. Voice controlled speaker e.g. Amazon Echo, Google Home
6. Connected security camera
7. Wet room
8. Wood burning stove
9. Under floor heating
10. Connected home sound system (in multiple rooms)