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Appliance Direct boss hits back at BESA’s DIY claims

UK: Nick Glynne, CEO of Buy It Direct, has accused BESA of being “ill-informed” and “offensive” in criticising its subsidiary Appliances Direct for selling R290 split systems to DIYers. 

Last week, BESA, which runs the UK’s main F-gas certification body Refcom, claimed that Appliances Direct was “irresponsible” and “playing fast and loose with public safety” for selling R290 split systems to unregistered installers and end users.

Amongst a range of split systems Appliances Direct offer two Electriq brand inverter controlled wall-mount splits using R290 – a 9,000Btu and 12,000Btu model. On its website, Appliances Direct says the air conditioner “does not require installation by an F-Gas registered engineer or specialist equipment for typical installation – everything you need is supplied”.

Graeme Fox, head of technical at Refcom, claimed that selling air conditioning products containing propane “to all and sundry online” was “an accident waiting to happen.” 

While not illegal, Graeme Fox described the practice as “clearly dangerous”.

In response, Buy It Direct CEO Nick Glynne said it was offensive to suggest the company didn’t take the safety of its customer’s seriously.

“While developing these products, we have taken numerous steps to guarantee their safety,” he said. “These include increasing the length of pipe on the rear of the indoor unit to 1.5m with clear instructions that mechanical connections should only be made outdoors. This pipe is pre-connected, making nonsense of the claim that the user could make a mistake whilst tightening the connecting nuts.”

He also maintained that the units have been pressure tested to ensure there are no leaks. In addition they also provided clear information to the consumer on the minimum room sizes the units are suitable for, in order to ensure that, in the unlikely event a leak was to occur inside, it would not accumulate at a level which poses a risk.

“As such we believe this unwarranted criticism is not related to the safety of the units, but an unwillingness by key parties within the industry to embrace new technologies,” Nick Glynne said. 

“We firmly believe one of the drivers against us is vested interests within the installer base and dealer network to protect traditional income which is contrary to providing value to end-user customers.”

Glynne maintained that the units are supplied with a “comprehensive” installation manual containing detailed information to ensure the units are installed safely. 

“Our units are compliant with UK and EU regulations and have been tested and approved by a leading test house. Given the pipe-kits are pre-installed, the testing house confirmed that these units are as safe as if they were installed by a professional,” he added.

“Given there are no mechanical connecters in the indoor area, we fail to understand BESA’s argument.”

Related stories:

Sales of R290 splits to DIYers is “irresponsible”31 July 2020
UK: The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has accused online retailer Appliances Direct of being “irresponsible” in selling R290 split systems to unregistered installers and end users. Read more…

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