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No Hot Water: What Do I Do?

You are getting ready to go to work early in the morning, and you want to wash your face. You turn on the tap and wait for a minute or two for it to heat up, but all you get is cold water. It isn’t exactly the best way to start your day. No hot water problems can continue throughout the day, and you have to deal with it when you come home. 

Not using hot water can be a lifestyle choice, and yes, there are people in the UK who don’t mind the cold. However, when you want it and it isn’t there, it can be one of the worst things. The lack of consistent hot water can significantly affect how you go about your day. Let’s take away the helpless feeling you get from these types of plumbing and heating problems. Here are common questions for your no hot water problems and things you can do about it: 

Why Don’t I Have Hot Water?

Your central heating and plumbing system is a complicated network. Any of the pieces could be faulty, and the domino-effect follows. One after the other, different parts of the system will follow. The best way to detect the source of your no hot water issues is to break down your system and inspect them yourself. You could have a boiler, pipe, diverter, or water problems.

How Do You Get Your Hot Water?

Before you can inspect your set up, know your setup better. You get your cold water from the main supply pipe just outside your house. It enters your home through the main house shut off valve. From there, it goes to your boiler for heating hot water. Some of the heated water goes through your pipes and into the radiators around your house. That hot water cycles through your home, creating your heating system. 

The rest of the heated water enters your hot water cylinder. It stays there until you need to use it. From this cylinder in the basement or attic, it goes to the hot water taps around the house. 

This process is how most people in the UK get their hot water supply. There is only one exception to that, and it is for those who use a combination (combi) boiler instead of a system boiler. Combi boilers use electricity instead of gas or fuel. This means that they do not have a hot water cylinder. Its compact body makes it a popular choice for smaller flats. You get your hot water with your combi just by turning on your tap. It heats as you go. 

Is It A Central Heating Problem?

Now that you know the process of how you get your hot water, where did it all go wrong? If it is a central heating problem, pay close attention to your boiler and hot water pressure. See if your boiler is turned on, for gas and oil boilers there should be a steady pilot light. To check if your boiler is working go to your radiators and see if they are warm. If you haven’t balanced your radiators in a while, your radiators might not heat evenly. It is best to check all the radiators around your home. 

My Boiler Is Not Working

Broken boilers are not the only things you should fix. A weak boiler’s hot water isn’t ideal either. It takes too much and might not cool faster. The boiler for hot water must be able to handle different jobs around your home. Don’t wait for no hot water problems to come before you make the changes. If it doesn’t work for you, try to replace or replace it. There are three obvious problems for a faulty boiler: 

  1. It isn’t on
  2. It’s emergency lockout activates
  3. There are faulty parts

While many things can go wrong, the problem might be a simple one. Did you turn on your heating? Did the power cut off recently? Repairs and renovations might require turning off your heat. Check if they did anything to your thermostat or boiler. 

When the issue is with the boiler, it has an emergency lockout feature. The boiler turns itself off to inform you that there is something wrong. The reason for the shut-down varies. The common causes are in your manufacturer’s handbook. If you don’t want to go through the list, call a professional heating engineer to take a look. 

For faulty parts, it could be the diaphragm, airlock, valves, or thermostat connection. Poor maintenance leads to these issues, and there is no DIY friendly way to go about it. The worst-case scenario means you need a new boiler. Please find a professional for all your major boiler repairs and new boiler installations. They must be Gas Safe engineers. You can check their ID numbers through the Gas Safe Register website

There Is No Pilot Light

A significant gas /oil burning boiler problem that leads to no hot water is the pilot light. It should be an intense blue flame. No pilot light equals no hot water from the boiler. If it is out, try to restart your system boiler. It might come back, but rebooting is not a permanent solution. It might last long enough to get your house in order before you call a heating engineer to take a look. Again, do not do gas-related work. It is dangerous and illegal to attempt on your own. 

The Pressure Is Wrong

Now, even with your boiler working, you can still struggle to get hot water. Your boiler pressure might be too high or too low. Anything too extreme means your boiler will shut down as a safety measure. 

Fixing your boiler pressure isn’t hard. You can do this yourself by bleeding your radiators if the pressure is too high. When the pressure is too low, you add more water in the system with the filling loop. The pressure gauge varies from boiler model. Whether it uses dials or levels, you can always check the manual for more details.  

The Timer Is Not Working

Every boiler has a timer or program to help manage your heating schedule. Modern models no longer run 24/7. There are different settings you can customise to create your ideal heating and hot water set up. 

A recent power cut could affect your timer. It can reset to default settings. So check the timer and see if that is the case. Your timer could also change time automatically. Check your timer and set it to the right time. When the schedule is off, you get no hot water. If the timer is not working after that, the problem might be more serious. It needs professional help.

Is It A Pipe Problem? 

When your boiler is in the clear, and there are no apparent problems, move to the pipes. While you do not see your pipes, they play a vital part in ensuring the water and heat distributes evenly throughout the house. Two common pipe problems lead to no hot water: frozen pipes and pipes with leaks. 

Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes are a common problem as you approach winter. If you lose your hot water and heating during this season, this is your prime suspect. Besides the main pipe entering your house, your condensate pipe can also freeze. The condensate pipe is to properly ventilate your home. The water vapour from your heating travels through these flues. It can collect and block off your pipe. 

Frozen pipes are easy to spot. Your taps might give weak, uneven, or no water at all. If the pipes are visible, you can see a bit of frost around it. When the problem is severe, your walls can be a bit damp from the condensation. 

Try to clear the blockage the best way you can and slowly thaw your pipe. You can heat water on your hob or electric kettle to pour over your pipe. You can also try purchasing defrosting kits from the hardware store. 

Water Leaks 

Leaks in your pipes or other facilities could reduce the pressure in your system. When that happens, you get pressure problems. Follow the steps in the previous section to get hot water again. You can read more about dealing with leaks here

While you can adjust the pressure, it is not a long-term solution for your pipe. Tying it off with rubber or tape is not an ideal solution either. For every kind of pipe repair, even leaks, contact a professional. You can get your hot water back and save money in water bills. No matter how big or small your leaks are, they are too expensive to leave on their own. 

Is It Neither?

Hot water supply will always boil down to your heating or water system. When the methods above do not work, it is probably a mechanism that we don’t always notice. It could also be a response to changes in your environment. Here are common scenarios where it may seem like it is not the boiler or pipes: 

No Central Heating, But I Have Hot Water

When you lose heating in your home, but still have water, there are two possibilities. The first is that your boiler went out, but you still have a full hot water cylinder. When you still have hot water running through your pipes, it means the breakdown is pretty recent. Go through the common boiler problems and the steps you can take to repair them here. 

No central heating, but you have hot water could be a radiator or flue problem. When your radiators are not bleed and balanced, there are cold spots in your house. You can read more about radiator problems here

No Hot Water, But I Have Heating

If it is the opposite scenario and you have no hot water, but have proper heating check your timer. Maybe the boiler did not heat the water because of the faulty schedule. Another issue could lie with the diverter valve. The diverter valve controls the hot water flow in your home. You can get a plumber to replace it and have it good as new. 

When you replace the diverter valve, but the replacement doesn’t work, don’t be quick to judge! Issues persist when it is stuck on the central heating system. It could be minor issues with installation. A plumber can tweak it, no need for a replacement.  

The Hot Water Only Works When There Is Heating

This scenario is common among combi boiler users. However, for those with a hot water cylinder, it might be a bit odd. In this case, you may need to get a bigger hot water cylinder. Ask the other members of your family about their hot water habits. Your experience might not be the same as the others. If no one else has a problem, then you mostly get the tail end of your hot water supply. 

If the size is good enough for your family, but only get hot water with heating, your cylinder might not be insulated. Hot water tanks stay in cold parts of your home with inadequate heating and insulation. You can get an insulated jacket from the hardware store. 

Hot Water In Some Parts of The House

When you get hot water, but it limits to different parts of your house it could be the mixing or anti-scalding valve. It might be stuck in one setting or destroyed. You may need a plumber to repair this. 

How Do I Prevent This From Happening Again?

The winter can be cruel, and no hot water makes it even more unbearable. You can actively combat this by maintaining your plumbing and heating system. Preventive measures you can do on your own is to lag your pipes before winter comes. You can buy DIY kits in stores near you. Don’tDon’t forget the insulated jacket for your hot water tank. 

You can try to maintain your system the best you can by keeping the pressure within the best range possible and taking away clutter surrounding your boiler. You can also clear out the things blocking your flues. 

Annual check-ups can make a significant difference for your boiler, radiators, and pipes. Besides dealing with your no water problem, it can also keep your system working efficiently. So no more high gas or fuel bills! Plumbingforce provides regular service for all your plumbing and heating needs. You can check our other gas and plumbing-related services like our same-day service. If you need a quick fix, we try to respond within the day.

Best Smart Thermostat to Use: Hive Vs. Nest

Since their first introduction in the 1830s, thermostats are an industrial invention that made its way into our homes. They do more than regulate the heat. They are a tool that makes homes across the UK eco-friendly without too much compromise. So we cut down on electricity and fuel bills while living in a warm and comfortable space. 

How does a small panel manage to achieve all of that? Besides heavy-duty appliances like refrigerators, the top expense for home energy consumption is our central heating system and hot water collection. These systems run like clockwork, and in the cold and wet UK weather, it is a necessity. The proper regulation of our heating system saves energy, budget, and repair costs. When you upgrade to a smart thermostat, you can have better control over these things and move towards a smart, sustainable home.

Smart Thermostats Vs Traditional Thermostats

Now, what is the difference between a regular thermostat and a smart thermostat? A smart thermostat follows the trend of creating smarter homes. Smart homes are all about control. You can control how much energy you use and plan ahead without too much effort.

The main feature of a smart thermostat is that it can connect to other devices like your mobile phone or tablets. Say good-bye to small errors like forgetting to turn off your boiler while you are away. Cold showers or long waits when you run out of hot water will be a thing of the past. 

You cannot compare smart thermostats against their traditional counterparts. It isn’t a fair fight. It is easy to sink into the new habit of checking your phone instead of walking to your thermostat. They can work with most modern homes and can pay for themselves. Smart thermostats are a convenience that is here to stay. With so many features, it is quite obvious that a smart thermostat is the way to go.

There are two stand-out brands for thermostats with smart tech: Hive and Nest. Let’s go into the nitty-gritty details and see which one between the two is the best. 

Nest Vs Hive

Both companies have the same goals. They hope to improve your home experience by giving you more control by managing your heating schedule. From there you can use the saved money in other projects and focus on living your best life. As you read the Hive vs Nest comparison, think about your heating system and your home to see how they can fit. 

What Is Hive?

The Hive is a company that now creates smart appliances. Their first model is a riff of the British Gas remote heating control. Their current model is the Hive Active Heating 2

The Hive Active Heating 2 can control up to 3 zones of heating in your home. From your mobile phone, you can manage the schedule of your heat. Maintaining your heating schedule means that while you are away on holiday, you can keep your home warm enough for things without blasting the heat. 

There is also a frost protection feature for your pipes in the winter. Besides your pipes, your Hive thermostat can also control your floor heating. You can get into detail about their features on their website. 

In your everyday life, it can turn off the heat while you are at work, and warm up as you brave traffic on your way home. There is also a geolocation feature that reminds you to turn off your heating if you left it on. When your hands are full, you can voice activate this thermometer. Smart houses are all about the hands-off experience. 

The Hive Active Heating 2 is compatible with the majority of the boilers available in the market. You will have no problem with combi boilers. They can work with oil and electric boilers if they have a thermostat or programmer. It is a bit tricky with gas and LPG models, it’s okay for the majority, but some models are not compatible. There are so many boiler models out there. There is a chance it won’t work, so it is best to ask first. 

Design Features

The sleek version of Hive 2, both wired and wireless, is a small box with a colourful frame. You can select from 12 different colours and purchase them separately at £19.99 per piece. It has a mid-century modern vibe with its strong geometric shapes and bold colours. 

It has a dial that you can use to control the temperature. There are three buttons for your main controls. You can also opt to use the thermostat stand and keep it in the room you use it most for your convenience.

The Hive app covers all its bases. However, in the Hive app vs Nest, Nest has a more user-friendly design. Though finger-crossed that this changes in the future. Hive is steadily improving their design to catch up with the competition. First, it was their device. Maybe the app could be next? Who knows. 

What Is Unique To The Hive Thermostat?

The model is quite easy to install. You don’t necessarily need professional help since it uses batteries. The A4 batteries can last you 2 years without replacement. It is portable and there’s no messy wiring here! The Hive hub and Hive receiver that comes with your active heating purchase take care of that for you. Talk about convenient.

How Much Is Hive? 

The Hive Active Heating 2 cost £179.00. The box includes the Hive Hub and Hive Receiver. Every purchase has a 1-year hardware warranty. Right now, there is a promotion for a free Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen) for every Hive active heating purchase. This price does not include installation since you can do that yourself. If you are a British Gas customer, you can get a discount with the Hive active heating packages. We, at PlumbingForce, would be more than happy to install your Hive system for you so you don’t have to do it yourself.

Hive also has a monthly subscription service for their smart house packages. The subscription aims to bridge the gap between smart houses and renters. The monthly payments make the expensive price tag that usually comes with these devices affordable. You can cancel your contract any time, but you may have to pay the remaining balance. 

The prices online for the Active Heating subscription tend to vary. It should be around £12-£27.99 depending on your setup. 

Hive In Your Home

The best way to check if a smart thermometer works for you is to see how well it fits into your smart home ecosystem. Your Hive thermostat is compatible with both Amazon and Google assistants. You should have no problem connecting it to your current setup. 

What Is Nest?

Google and Nest are now one entity since the merge in 2014, as Google Nest. It is all about taking the Nest products and pairing it with Google Assistant and Home to create the whole smart house experience. Despite its rocky start, the focus right now is to be a competitive presence that can rival Amazon. 

For the most part, their Nest Learning Thermostat accomplishes most of that. Their smart thermostat is the first to get an Energy Star certification. Surveys show that homes with Nest thermostat can save 10%-12% off of your heating bills. 

The thermostat can heat up to 20 different zones in your home. You can manage them all from an app on your phone. You can remotely control the heating and cooling inside your house while you are away. 

You can manually set your heating schedule, but it defeats the purpose. The thermostat–smart, compact, and convenient– learns from your habits. It tracks how you use your boiler and adjusts. Even without pre-setting anything, it only takes a matter of months for Nest to create a customised plan for you.

Similar to other smart thermostats on the market, Nest has a geofence feature. When you get past a specific area, it will remind you about your boiler, and you can remotely adjust. Nest also controls the heating for your pipes and your floors. 

They also are compatible with 95% of the heating and cooling systems on the market. Old boiler models and certain oil boilers might not work with it, but combi boilers and condensing systems should be fine. 

Besides being a feature that adjusts so you can live an energy-efficient life, it also tries to make it a learning experience. A leaf symbol appears every time you change the temperature to save energy. The balance depends on the home and climate, so the leaf’s appearance is customised as well. 

The Nest app can show your energy history. They have daily, monthly, and yearly reports. The report is an excellent reference if you want to change your boiler and hot water habits. 

Design Features

The early models of their thermostat like the Nest Thermostat E have the same circular shape. But while they tried to blend in, the new model is here to stand-out. It now has a high-res colour display, a significant difference from the old frosted glass. You can also customise the ring/frame with 7 neutral colours. For the app interface Nest vs Hive, Nest has a sleeker, user-friendly interface. 

What Is Unique To The Nest Thermostat?

Stand out features for the Nest thermostat is its ability to learn. No worries about the data leaking though! Since it is a part of Google, they have a strict privacy setting for your home data. The way it keeps track of your energy-saving habits is also unique to the Nest.

How Much Is Nest?

You can purchase the Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Gen) in the Google Store for £219 with free shipping. This price does not include installation fees. You can opt to do it yourself or just call the professionals to avoid unnecessary hassle.

Google Nest does not provide installation services, but they can link you to recommended services. Or you can look for Gas Safe engineers in your area to help with your installation. Companies like Plumbingforce are based around the country and can help you with your thermostat and boiler needs. 

Your Nest thermostat comes with a 2-year limited warranty. Read the terms and conditions to know more. Always consult your sales representative if you have more questions. 

Nest In Your Home

Nest has a bunch of other smart home appliances that have a similar design to the Nest Learning Thermostat. Besides them working seamlessly together, they have a consistent look. There are no clashing styles here. 

Despite being a Google sub-company, Nest also works with Amazon or Google assistant. It can blend in your current home from the home assistant to the other smart appliances. There is no problem. 

Which Is Better, Hive Or Nest?

So, which one between the two is the best? The Nest vs Hive question is difficult because they do the same things. It isn’t a battle between the one with the unique features, but between which product does the job better. No matter the outcome of Nest vs Hive, always purchase according to the needs of your home. 

 

Hive Active Heating 2

Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Gen)

Price

£179.00 or with a monthly subscription
Installation not included

£219

Installation not included

Connection

Wifi

Wifi

Geolocation

Available

Available

Design Customisation 

12 different colours 

7 neutral colours 

Mounting

Wall Mount or Stand

Wall Mount or Stand

Multizone 

3

20

Heating Schedule

Manually set

Self-learning

Warranty 

1 year

2 years limited

Heating Package

Available

Available

Voice Control Compatibility 

Amazon Echo and Google Home

Amazon Echo and Google Home

A couple of years ago, Nest would have blown Hive out of the water, but the steady changes and updates by Hive have put them on an even playing field. However, even with the upgrades, Nest Learning Thermostat is still the best on the market. The extra £40 is worth its self-learning abilities.

However, Hive Active Heating 2 is still a great option, especially for those who like the monthly subscription. There is always a little manual input, but it is more convenient than traditional thermostats. 

Can Nest And Hive Work Together?

Nest and Hive smart thermostats do the same thing. So there is no need to have both in the same home. However, if you are considering mixing and matching your other smart home appliances, then yes, you can make it work. 

Hive’s smart light bulbs with Nest’s wifi? No problem. Nest’s smart thermostat with Hive’s sensors or plugs? It’s okay too. You cannot, however, control Nest products through Hive and vice versa. It is best to buy the things in the same range so you can better control them.

No matter what you decide, homes that are always on the go can rest easy with Nest and Hive thermostats in their home. The smart home might still be a distant possibility for most families, but the tech is here. It will only advance more in time. 

Besides Hive vs Nest thermostats, you should also consider the other bare bones of the house. These systems cannot work well if you have a faulty boiler or damaged pipes. For any central heating and hot water needs, just contact us here at Plumbingforce and work towards building an energy-efficient home. 

Things You Need To Know Before You DIY Your Gas Hob Connection

Food is one of our basic needs as human beings, needing it primarily for energy and nutrition. That is why homes need to be fitted with cooking stoves, whether electrical or gas. As opposed to the open fires that our ancestors used to cook with, using stoves produce less smoke and needS less work. Because we can adjust the heat accurately, stoves are also less dangerous and more efficient. With just a flick of our wrist, a blue flame flickers to life, ready to cook up your meal. If your old stove is starting to break down or you’re moving into a new, unfurnished home, we’ll be tackling everything you need to know about connecting and fitting gas hobs in your property.

The Different Parts of a Gas Hob 

As their names suggest, gas appliances use gas as fuel. Before installing a new one in your house, you need to first understand how it is meant to work and what are its different parts. It’s also beneficial to know a gas hob’s difference from a gas cooker.

Natural gas comes from a gas main that is connected to the cooker or stove. When you turn the control knob on, the valve regulator opens and gas flows through the jets of the burners. And once the cooker ignition is pressed, a circuit or batter produces a spark that ignites the gas. A hob burner is merely a part of an entire cooker. Let’s examine its parts.

The valve of your gas hob controls the gas supply from the pipe to the jet. It is either fully opened or fully closed. The jet is used to distribute the gas evenly through tiny slots that form a circle on the edge of the burner. In the middle of this circle, a burner cap prevents food from spilling onto the burner and keeps the gas flow focused on the burner slots. When you switch your knob on, the ignitor creates the spark that should burn the gas as it exits from these slots.

When part of an entire cooker, the gas is shared by the oven and the grill. Setting the oven to your desired temperature will trigger a gas flow to the burner at the back of the oven. While the grill works the same way, the gas flames flow our from the pipe’s tiny holes to heat up the gauze or grid equally.

Can I DIY my Gas Hob Connection?

Now that you know how a hob operates, it’s important to learn what you can or cannot do during a gas hob connection. If you want to fit a gas hob yourself, always remember that you are not allowed to connect the hob unless you are a Gas Safe registered engineer. 

According to the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, you must be competent before working on a gas appliance. Regulation 3 (3) it states that anyone who is rewarded for gas work (whether fitting or otherwise) should be registered with Gas Safe. While a lot of DIYers debate the meaning of “competence” under the regulation, we believe that you must have the knowledge and experience to fit gas appliances before installing your own. There are different exams, as well, that cover domestic, commercial, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and other gas fitting skills.

While this regulation prevents unregistered professionals from selfish motives, it also protects the public and the customer from dangerous activities. Should some catastrophe result from your work, then that is a clear sign that you are not competent enough to handle a gas fitting task and have broken the law. Assuming no major accident befell you, you are most likely going to face legal action.

When looking at instructions fitting your gas hob may look simple and straightforward. However, this four-step process needs to comply with different standards that your installation manual may not mention. Gas Safe Registered engineers normally run many checks before, during and after their work. Though tedious, the process is necessary. Before carrying out any gas work, it’s important to know and understand the regulations and standards for every aspect of your task.

A good compromise we recommend is to call a registered fitter and work together in a mentor-student type of fashion. The fitter can act as your adviser when dealing with finer points of the regulations, approves the final plan before starting and checking the work once finished. While you may have a difficult time finding registered fitters who are willing to do this, this is still a better way to DIY your gas appliances without breaking the law.

What are the Regulations for Gas Hob Connections?

Before you start fitting your gas hob, you need to draw out your plans. Here are some things you can take note of:

  • Distance: While you work, keep a safe distance from anything that could be a fire risk. If you’re working with an LPG instead of NG, it is worth noting that LPG tanks are more flammable than NGs and should not be placed below ground level. For this reason, consult a gas engineer for specific regulations.
  • Ventilation: While you’re keeping a safe distance from any fire risks, make sure that the room you’re in is also ventilated. Should a gas leak occur before or after installation, it is better to place the gas appliance where there is a window or door nearby. With this in mind, there are also guidelines when it comes to positioning your hob:
  • If the hob is placed under a window, the window should be at least 500mm away from it.
  • If it is by a door, it should be at least 500mm away.
  • The hob should always be against a wall and at the end of a worktop.
  • Hot Zones: When installing your cooker or hob, take note of the hot zone on top of and on either side of the appliance. Make sure that there is nothing fixed for 760mm above it, including the extractor hood. On both sides, the hot zone is at 150mm where nothing is placed up to a height of 460mm. Once you have your hot zone laid out, there should be no plugs, kitchen units or wares placed here that could burn or melt.
  • Gas and Electricity Supply: Your gas and electricity supply should be placed within 1.5m from your appliance’ location. Check what kind of feed your hob will need. Normally, most gas appliances only need 13A. In some cases, however, you will need a 32A fused spur.

Fitting a gas hob into your home is not as simple as it sounds. While you may have these regulations and standards down pat, we still recommend having an expert on board. Our engineers at Plumbingforce are Gas Safe registered and can install and test your gas hob. Book an appointment with us today.



Gas Fire Installation: The What’s and The How’s

Coming home from a long and cold drive home, it feels nice to settle on your couch in front of your fireplace. The sight of the swaying flames, the smell of burning oak and the sound of crackling wood is enough to calm the mind of the day’s worries. While it can be comforting to lay in front of your open fire, having to sweep up the ashes, stabilising the temperature and keeping the warmth in your room is time-consuming and inefficient. If you want to be more efficient with your time and money, you may want to consider replacing it with a gas fire. 

In this blog, we will tackle what a gas fireplace is, the process of gas fire installation and how much it may cost you.

What is a gas fire fireplace: Open Fire vs Gas Fire

Heating your room through an open fire will give you the ambient temperature, allowing you to choose between different types of wood or coal available in your area. However, as its name suggests, having an open fire leaves your fuel (the wood) to burn up quickly, wherein most of the heat escapes through the smoke and out of the chimney and warms your room only by 30%. Even after the fire is extinguished, the heat from the room will still rise up and out of the chimney. What’s more, it’s hard to put out a full grate of coal once it starts burning. You will need to make sure it keeps burning by stoking the flames from time to time. This means, four hours into your sleep, you will need to plan ahead before refuelling your fireplace with more coals.

Your gas fire is a cleaner and more convenient way to heat up your room. While there are real flames, a modern gas fireplace is sealed with glass and provides radiant heat. Because the fuel is gas, the fires don’t emit smoke. Instead of a chimney, they will need a tube in the wall where waste gases can escape. The experience is very like having an open, giving off radiant and convected heat without wasting so much energy. In comparison to wood fires, the air in your home is cleaner and the installation is more affordable. You won’t need a complicated masonry hearth and chimney that can take up a lot of floor space. If you already have a hearth, engineers will have an easier time fitting a gas fireplace insert instead of building a fully-functioning chimney. While, of course, electric fires offer the highest level of cleanliness, gas also has the lowest cost among the three choices. And you don’t even need to buy wood and find a space to keep them dry.

Now that you know how gas fireplaces work, it has three different build types.

  • Insert: As mentioned earlier, if you already have a wood-burning firebox, it can be retrofit with a gas fireplace. This is a reliable source of warmth, filling your room with warm air and heat.
  • Built-in: If you don’t have a hearth in your home, built-ins are more common in minimalist and modern homes as they can be built according to contemporary styles. Whether you want your fireplace underneath your television or in Scandinavian design, built-ins tend to be more flexible.
  • Log sets: Built for style more than heat, basic burners are installed in open fireplaces.

With each type, you may choose to either have a vent where the fumes are sent outside of your home or have no vent where all the heat and exhaust disperses into the house.

How does gas fire installation work?

While it may be cheaper to run a gas fireplace than an electric one, gas fire installation requires a Gas Safe registered engineer for safety and legal reasons. This badge of credibility assures you that your appliance will be tried and tested before and after installing it. While it may be tempting to connect a gas fire to your system on your own, it is illegal and dangerous. Given this, it is important to add an installation fee to your budget. Though most retailers also offer installation services, this easy route may not be the most affordable.

If you’re in need of a replacement instead, you will need new plasterwork where the old gas fire was removed. This means, hiring a plasterer and redecorating the affected areas. 

Before choosing a new gas fire, make sure that your engineer comes to your place to have your flue or chimney lined and tested. If you don’t have one, you may opt to install the matching flue to your gas fire or choose a gas fire that does not need one. These models use catalytic converters to change the particles into a harmless vapour that can be dispersed into the room.

How much does installation cost?

An average gas engineer will charge about £100 to £150 per day in labour. It can take about one to two hours to fit a new gas fire but if the engineer were to replace an old model, the work may take up to three hours. The price of your installation will depend on the model you choose and on any extra work (e.g. pipe repairs). 

Once your new gas fire has been installed, make sure that you or your landlord procure a Gas Safe certificate. Carrying out an annual maintenance check may cost from £60 to £100 and take up to two hours. We also recommend installing a carbon monoxide detector in your room to alert the household if your gas is leaking.

Should I DIY?

If you are interested in building your own fireplace, we recommend that you still call a gas engineer to check your DIY-ed creation and have professionals install your gas fire. Whether or not you have a background in construction, having other experts check on your build can prevent further accidents from happening (especially when you have no prior experience with carpentry). When it comes to installing your gas fire, however, leave it to the Gas Safe Registered engineer.

When it comes to heating your home, we always recommend choosing the safest option. Not only are gas fires cleaner and more efficient, but they also keep your family and pets from unnecessary burns from getting too close to the flames. Our engineers at Plumbingforce are Gas Safe registered and can install or repair your gas fireplace. Book an appointment with us today.



Do I Need A Gas Safety Certificate As A Landlord?

If you decide to become a landlord, it is your responsibility to provide your tenants accommodation that is fit for living. The standard of the property should adhere to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, wherein it has to be structurally sound and in good repair, with natural lighting and facilities for hygiene. To make it appropriate for the colder months, the property will also need enough insulation and water and electrical supply. This means the landlord has four main responsibilities when caring for his or her tenants:

Build or furnish a property that is free of health hazards 

If you want to place a fireplace or a wood-burning stove in any of the rooms, you need to ensure to fit a carbon monoxide alarm. Using the right, high-quality materials for the place can also hinder any damages that are detrimental to your tenants’ health. This also means regularly scheduling inspections done by professionals.

Ensure that there are fire safety tools in place

In relation to the previous point, it is also helpful to have your walls made of fireproof material (or check if it is up to the standards of the 1988 Fire Safety Regulations). Because it’s best to prepare for any calamities, natural or manmade, the best way to appreciate your property’s value is by keeping its build sturdy. Always have a fire extinguisher, fire blankets and fire alarm in places where fires are more likely to start (e.g. kitchen area, fireplace, boiler room, etc). You must also ensure that the furniture meets the same standards, checking the manufacturer’s label if they are fire-safe.

Carry out repairs once faults and defects are detected 

Once the place is furnished, it is also the landlord’s responsibility to keep it in top shape. Of course, this will also depend on how quickly your tenant can report these faults may they be moulds, infestation or short circuits.

Install and test if gas and electrical appliances work according to industry standards 

According to the 1994 Electrical Equipment Regulations, all of your electrical equipment needs to be regularly tested by a professional, ensuring that wirings are concealed and plugs are BS1363 compliant. Meanwhile, fire-guards need to be BS3248 compliant, and fire extinguishers need to be BS6575 compliant.

If the gas appliances are your own and not the tenant’s, you are required to have a Gas Safe engineer check if they are safe and in good working order. The 1994 Gas Safety Regulations also require a landlord Gas Safety Certificate that is valid for one year. Make sure to keep a record of these safety checks and give your certificate within the 28 days that a potential tenant agrees to the tenancy contract.

Gas Safety: The Most Important Certificate Of All

While you have a lot of legal obligations to your tenant, procuring a Gas Safety Certificate is the first and most important step when keeping your property in the market and winning a potential tenant’s trust. Widely known as the CORGI Proforma or CP12, this takes note of the dates that all of the gas appliances in your property have been checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer. These people are the only ones qualified and certified to ensure the safety and the efficiency of your appliances. You can find the official list on Gas Safe’s website. 

If your tenant owns the gas appliances, it is still your duty to have the flues and fittings regularly checked. While these may be time-consuming on your end, a whiff of gas in a home can turn into something more dangerous had it not been prevented. Here are some risks landlords may encounter is the compliance system is ignored or bypassed:

Gas leaks: The first sign of a faulty stove, fireplace or pipeline is the smell of gas that lasts for longer than normal. While it may not be poisonous, these things can quickly escalate into fires or explosions if not handled immediately. If your appliances are not being regularly maintained or checked, the metal will start to rust through and pipes will start to have a green discolouration.

Fires and explosions: Because of continued neglect or a sudden action, the gas can explode into flame really quickly. Once exposed to a sudden spark, the fire can spread throughout the building and cause great damage to your property and to the lives of your tenants.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: If your kitchen is not well-ventilated and your LPG gas burns incompletely, your tenants may report experiencing sleepiness and lethargy. Before they get sick and report your unit to authorities, it will be better to install a detector in the kitchen and have your appliances regularly checked instead.

When a gas engineer arrives at your property, the inspection normally starts with checking the density of your appliances and verifying the standing and working gas pressure. Afterwards, the engineer also checks the manufacturer’s nameplate for a burner or gas pressure and assesses if your appliance is placed in a room with enough ventilation. A smoke flow test will also be conducted to ensure that there are no combustion products anywhere near your appliances. Once the safety devices are checked, engineers also look if the gas appliance has been misused in any way. 

Normally, if your gas appliance is damaged or dysfunctional, the engineer will carry out repairs. Because of this, you may incur additional charges before you can get your certificate. That said, we recommend properly cleaning and maintaining your gas appliances to avoid higher rates. If you notice potential damage, we also advise calling professionals immediately. With the previous risks that we explained, dealing with gas problems can be tricky and dangerous if handled with inexperienced hands.

Once you have your property checked, you will receive your compliance certificate within ten to fifteen working days. If you are due for a yearly maintenance check for your appliances, our Gas Safe registered engineers are available to provide gas and plumbings services throughout London. Simply contact us here and we can schedule our visit to your property immediately.

 

 

 

 



Boiler Maintenance Tips: What You Can Do Without Calling an Engineer

Boilers are the heavy-duty heroes that keep our homes warm during the cold seasons. Prevent boiler breakdowns during the snap by staying on top of their problems. As a homeowner, landlord, or tenant, there are things you can do to help maintain your boiler. 

What is boiler maintenance?

Boiler maintenance is the work you do to ensure that it has no hiccups that could lead to a broken machine. It is a combination of inspection, cleaning, and small repair tricks to keep your boiler functioning and fuel-efficient. Since boilers vary from type and brand, read through and see what applies to the one you have in your home. Before we begin, we have to consider what work is safe for us to DIY versus what isn’t.

The line between you and a Gas Safe engineer

  While you can pick up tricks from the boiler maintenance work previously done on your boiler, it is essential to note that it is illegal to do gas work. You are not protected when boiler issues arise when you do it yourself. Warranties require regular boiler service from the professionals in the Gas Safe Register or the OFTEC else they become invalid. When you do the job yourself, you are accepting the risk that comes with misdiagnosing or aggravating the problem. When you spot a problem during your visual inspection or tricks don’t work, please call a Gas Safe engineer in your area. 

Who are Gas Safe and OFTEC? 

In case you are not aware, Gas Safe or the Gas Safe Register and OFTEC are the regulating bodies for gas and oil work respectively. They conduct tests and inspections to check the company and trade workers in the industry. They issue IDs to every engineer and plumber registered with them. You can run ID numbers through their website to confirm. Any complaints of work done or suspicion of illegal boiler maintenance work should be reported to them. 

What happens when you do work meant for Gas Safe engineers?

When you do gas fittings or repairs without being a Gas Safe engineer, you are always in the position of ruining your boiler. Your boiler can last for 15 years or more with proper maintenance. Shoddy work leads to an expensive repair or replacement that could have been avoided. You could also miss vital signs of boiler failure, which ranges from a broken boiler, a gas leak, and possible fire, among other things.

How do you maintain a boiler?

Before problems occur, make it a habit to check on your boiler regularly. Keep the manual on hand and highlight important manufacturer notes. 

Personal Inspections

Keep your boiler well-ventilated, avoid cluttering the area with old clothes, coats, or other miscellaneous items. When living with other people, you may have to check every month–case they forget. 

All air vents and flues must be free of obstruction. They are the passageway of the air; any kind of blockage could affect your boiler performance. If you do not have a flue access panel, have one installed.

Check if your boiler flame is blue. If the fire is orange or red it is an indicator of improper combustion or build-up of dirt and debris which may lead to carbon monoxide (CO) leak. You may need to contact a British gas boiler service.

Inspect the water/boiler pressure. The proper range should be indicated in your manual. If you do not have a manual on hand, the ideal pressure is within the first two levels. If they are not on the correct level, you can adjust it. Turn on the taps on either side of the system to fill the loop, or consult your manual. It is safe to do this yourself.

Check your radiator, if you find that the top is hot, but the bottom is cold it is a sign of dirt building up inside. To fix this call an engineer for a power flush If the radiator is not hot at all, you may need a valve replacement.  

Last but not least, visually inspect your external pipe for any leak or dripping. One of Gas Safe’s testimony was of a family that did not spot the dripping of the boiler because a dresser blocked the water damage. Their broken boiler had been in bad shape for a while, regularly releasing CO. Keep an eye out for any leaks and contact an engineer to have these issues addressed.

Boiler Maintenance Tips

After your inspection, there are things you can do at home without calling an engineer: 

When you notice the nights are getting colder as winter approaches, lag your pipes. For conventional, condensing, and system boilers, check the pipes in your loft. They should all be insulated. If you find any gaps around the pipe, joint, or taps cover it with pipe lagging. You can find DIY lagging kits at the hardware store. Fit your tank with an insulated cover, if it does not have one yet. Frozen pipes are tricky to deal with and deal with losing central heating and hot water.

Electric boilers don’t have pilot lights, but if you have an older model, check them. If your pilot light is out and you cannot generate a spark when you release the spark generator button, you may need to replace the universal thermocouple. Find a spare and replace it by undoing the nuts holding it in place and remove it from its tube then replace. Not all work to bring back the pilot light can be done by yourself. Do not work with the jets and consult an engineer. 

When you live in areas with hard-water, reduce/ descale your system. Scale builds up inside the heat exchanger. Fit a self-dosing phosphate scale inhibitor on the supply pipe between the feed and expansion tank to the boiler. It comes with a cartridge that needs to be replaced annually.

  If your boiler doesn’t work, try troubleshooting it by turning it off and on a couple of times. If the switch is stuck, this is a short-term solution, and you may need to have the switch professionally replaced. Another reason for your boiler turning off is the system that kicks in when it overheats, which occurs when the pressure drops. You can add water in the system (as mentioned earlier) and reset. 

How often should a boiler be serviced?

A lot of things are going on inside the boiler. Boilers are serviced once a year, ideally. Since the state of your furnace varies, sometimes not a lot of work is necessary if it is new. You can apply the steps listed above to maintain it yourself. However, if you spot any problems or would rather have a professional do it, please contact your local boiler service. Prices vary so consult your homeowner’s cover and check if boiler services are included. Annual boiler services are also provided, for a fee you can be covered the entire year and have access to boiler maintenance and repair when needed.

There is a lot you can do to stay on top of boiler problems without calling an engineer. However, this means putting the time in and regularly consulting your manual. Even if you do everything right, you may come across issues that are beyond your capabilities. Stay vigilant and stay safe!  





Before the Boiler Breaks: When and Where Should I Get My Boiler Serviced

In 2017, 18% of the UK faced winter with boiler breakdowns and had to dip into half of their savings to repair or replace their boilers. In 2019, 12% of homeowners prioritised renovations over boiler issues, and 24% of British citizens have never had their boilers serviced. The numbers may not be overwhelmingly high, but the fact that they are in the double digits and two years have passed without proper boiler knowledge is appalling.

Boilers are essential especially in countries where three out of the four seasons are unusually cold, especially in households who are temperature sensitive or have existing conditions that are aggravated by the cold. Before your boiler breaks, look into long term boiler maintenance. Anticipate the chill and avoid spending winters in houses with no centralised heating or hot water.

What is the average lifespan of a boiler?

While boilers are used almost on a day to day basis, we often neglect it. They are machines that are built to last, installed out of sight, and any hiccups seem to be only comprehended by an engineer. They aren’t like cars whose problems are easy to spot and experience. They aren’t like personal computers where we are taught to diagnose underlying issues. Without proper boiler service, the problems can accumulate and next thing you know it–you come home to a cold house in the middle of peak service season. The average lifespan of a boiler is 10-15 years. Top-rated boiler models are in the upper bracket of that range at 12-15 years. In homes with the top boiler brands and with regular service they can outlive the average at 20 years or more.

How often should a boiler be serviced?

No matter what you consult, the answer is the same: annually. Your boiler should be inspected and serviced every year. As heavy-duty as boilers are, they are frequently used, and they become less efficient over time.  Boilers should be repaired before efficiency issues surface. The high fuel cost and the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning are two-pronged issues that can be avoided if they were taken care of early.

In the case of boilers with a warranty, how often should they be serviced?

If you have an active warranty with your boiler brand, it should be the same: annually. It is important to note that long-term warranties, the type that goes from 5-12 years, require a yearly boiler service to maintain validity. Without proper boiler maintenance, it is difficult to identify who is at fault. It protects you as well, so you can get a relatively worry-free replacement. When you purchase a new boiler, don’t forget to have the warranty registered within 30 days or it becomes invalid. Check the fine print!

What is done in a boiler service?

The hesitation in having boilers serviced probably stems from a lack of awareness of what is done when you ask for it. Your boiler service may vary depending on the brand and the manufacturer’s instructions, but generally, boiler service does seven things:

–       Check boiler controls

–       Check gas pressure and flow

–       Check safety devices

–       Check your boiler seals

–       Check the main internal components

–       Inspect the water and gas pipework

–       Inspect the flue and combustion releases

Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are not required as a household feature in the UK, though they are highly encouraged. A possible source of CO emission comes from your boiler. Since they are colourless and odourless, it is not easy to detect. The Gas Safe engineers aim to identify corrosion and leaks, clean boiler parts when necessary.

Where should I have my boiler serviced?

Seek out a reputable company. Boiler service needs to come from engineers who are registered with the appropriate authorising body: Gas Safe Register (GSR) for gas boilers that deal with propane and LPG and the Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) for oil-based furnaces. On top of working with a reputable company when the engineer comes, be sure to ask for their ID. When it comes to heating, you want to ensure that you have the professional you need. 

How much does it cost to service a boiler?

Similar to the purchase of your boiler, the service price may vary. Take note that the cost of the service and value of the materials/ fitting are separate and that these prices may inflate depending on your location. A conventional boiler may cost between £ 50-80, and high-efficiency boilers like the condensing and combi are between £80-160.

Can the cost be lower?

Yes! Boiler services may go down during the non-peak seasons, so late spring to the whole of summer. If you have availed of a service plan, boiler cover plan or have added your boiler to your homeowner’s insurance; these fees can come at a discounted price depending on your service provider.

You can also try to avail of the ECO’s initiative for affordable heating. You may be able to get a free boiler replacement or reduce the cost of repairing/replacing your boiler.

When should I have my boiler serviced?

As essential as it is for health and safety, consider your budget and try to set aside money to have it done during seasons when it is cheap. If you have a newly installed boiler, you can probably get away with holding on boiler service, but only when it is not financially feasible. When your boiler is five years older, and above, it becomes more urgent that you follow it up annually.

Is boiler maintenance worth it?

Boiler maintenance is worth it. It may seem like an unnecessary expense, but when it comes to public health and safety, you know what should be first. Besides keeping an eye out for potential issues, boiler service addresses problems as they come. By having steady efficiency, you can keep your heating bills low in the long-term. Yearly service means your warranty stays valid and breakdowns don’t have to eat up 50% of your savings to repair or replace. Call us for a quote!

 

 

 






You Have A Leaking Boiler? Here’s What You Should Do!

A leaking boiler is no joke. In fact, it’s so serious, you can’t just choose to ignore it, because doing so would pose you and the rest of your household with some potential risks. Such leaks can lead to the rusting of your boiler’s external and internal component, or worse the short-circuiting of the electrical components inside your boiler. That is why it is crucial that you get the problem fixed as quickly as possible when you notice that your boiler has started to leak. It is, however, important to note that repairing a leaking boiler is not some DIY job, but instead one for gas safe registered engineers

The following tips are not for you to perform the repair job on your own, but rather some tips on how to determine the presence of a boiler leak, what you should do in the event of one, and the risks of ignoring a leaking boiler. 

Signs of Boiler Leakages

For you to know that your boiler is leaking, you should be on the lookout for the following signs. 

Water and water damage

To put it simply, it is not a good sign when your boiler is leaking water. Water is the telltale sign of a leaking boiler system. If you notice water dripping or a pool of leak water or moisture around and underneath your boiler, then your boiler probably is leaking.

Additionally, if there is water damage anywhere around your boiler, you’ve probably got a boiler leak longer than you realize. 

Slow heating process

A boiler working in perfect order would power up the heat on your tap or central heating systems almost instantly. If this is not the case, then your boiler may be damaged or leaking.

Low water pressure

This one is exceptionally easy to spot on combi boilers and system boilers that have a pressure gauge. Boiler pressure dropping is another sign that something is wrong with your boiler system. In cases like these, you may want to start trying to locate the leak, but again, do not attempt to repair the boiler yourself. Just knowing where the leak is can help your engineer diagnose and repair your boiler.

Common Causes of a Boiler Leak

While trying to stop the leak yourself is not advisable, it would be smart of you to know what exactly caused it. Here are some of the usual causes of a leak in your boiler:

System Damage/Corrosion

The most common cause of a boiler leak is damage in the pipework and overall system. Over time, the combination of the water and the metallic debris within the system will naturally corrode your pipes and your boiler’s components, eventually making gaps that are big enough for water to escape. 

If the corrosion is isolated in one part of your boiler system, then a gas safe engineer would be able to replace the component without any issues. However, if the damage is extensive, then you may have to replace your boiler. 

Pressure Issues

While low water and boiler pressure is also a sign of a leaking boiler, too much boiler pressure can also be a culprit to the leak. If your boiler is leaking from the boiler pressure valve, then it’s best to check if your boiler pressure is too high. To determine, simply check the pressure gauge and make sure that it is in the green or safe zone. If it is, then you may use the pressure relief valve to ease some of the pressure on your boiler, thus preventing further damage to your home and your appliances.

Although bleeding your boiler ideally is something you can do on your own, limescale and other obstructions in your system are often involved. That is why, to be cautious, this is something that you may want to pass on to a gas safe registered engineer.

Temperature Probe Problems

If the leak is coming from your boiler’s temperature valve, then there is a probable issue in the temperature probe. For such problems, you may refer to a gas safe engineer. 

Internal Seal Damage

A boiler’s whole system is sealed, that’s how it works. However, the wear and tear eventually cause the rubber seals inside your boiler to harden or even break. While this is usually more common in old boilers, it can also happen to new boilers that have been running overpressure. This, in turn, can cause water to leak out of your boiler. To find out if this is the case, you may open the boiler cover and take a peek at the inside of your boiler. However, you must remember not to touch anything. 

Damaged Heat Exchanger

Unfortunately, this is not something you can identify for yourself. Additionally, most of the time, when your boiler has issues with the heat exchanger, it is almost often beyond economical repair. The heat exchanger is the most expensive part of a boiler, and trying to salvage your boiler by getting this fixed would probably just be a pinch cheaper than getting a new boiler altogether. 

If a gas engineer diagnoses your boiler with heat exchanger damage, you may want to start getting a quote online for a boiler replacement. 

Installation Faults

If your boiler is leaking at the pipe fittings, then chances are there has been an installation fault. If this is the case, you will want to call for a gas engineer to look over your entire boiler system to make sure there are no loose joints, poorly sealed pipe fittings, etc. 

Is A Leaking Boiler Dangerous?

If left unchecked, yes. It could cause electrical components to short circuit. This, in turn, could affect the power supply in your entire home. Additionally, it can be a health hazard if there is extensive water damage caused by a boiler leak. Water damage in your home can cause the growth of mould and fungi, which both have dangerous effects on one’s health. When exposed to moulds and fungi, one could experience a blocked nose, coughing, sneezing, difficulty breathing, and asthma. It may also cause structural damage, which will pose many physical risks to anyone in your home.

How Do I Prevent Potential Boiler Leaks In The Future?

Boiler leaks occur, and there’s no preventing that. However, to minimize the chances of it ever happening in your home, you may want to consider the following:

  • Look into buying big name boiler brands.
  • Get your boiler periodically checked. Once or twice a year should do the trick.
  • If you need your boiler serviced by gas safe registered engineers 

What If My Boiler Is Not Leaking Water, But Gas?

If this is the case, then you must know that this poses a much bigger risk than just water leaks. Unfortunately, for such cases, you almost always can’t tell if it’s happening. This is because natural gas is odourless, despite gas manufacturers usually adding in some chemicals for gas to give off the faint smell of sulfur or rotten eggs. However, you don’t have to worry, as there are other ways to tell if there is a gas leak in your home

If you suspect your boiler has a gas leak, make sure to switch off your gas supply, open all your doors and windows, vacate the premises, and call the National Grid Gas hotline at 0800 111 999. Make sure all electronics are turned off and that there are no naked flames in your property’s immediate vicinity.

Final Thoughts

While we have already stressed it enough, do not attempt to replace or repair your boiler on your own. Yes, DIY-ing this would save you a few hundred bucks, but what good would that be when there’s a much bigger risk of you aggravating the problem instead of providing a solution? Gas safe engineers exist for a reason, so leave it to the professionals to get it done!

The DIY Guide On Pressurising A Boiler

It might take a while getting used to not having hot water available in your piping system, but it entirely becomes a pain when winter comes, and you’re left with only cold water to deal with. This may lead to chattering teeth after a good shower and general discomfort among the members of the household. So, you check for a problem and realise that your boiler pressure has been going down. I imagine the first thing you did before anything else is google “repressurise boiler,” and that’s what has brought you here today. So here’s our little gift for you, a short how-to on how to get that pressure working back to its best form. 

Checking the boiler if the water pressure is low

To assess if pressure really is the problem, start by checking the gauge for water pressure in the boiler’s facade. To make sure that you are looking at the right gauge (because different makes and models tend to display this differently), check the user instructions provided when you bought the boiler. 

A digital gauge will either show only 1 bar (reading here is quantised as bars) or an alarming sign such as a flashing reading or a pressure warning. Hydraulic gauges, on the other hand, show only red sections or zones both on the left and right side of the display dial. An indicator needle lying on the far right red zone indicates that the water pressure is high, while if the needle is on the far left red zone, it means that the water pressure is low. 

How to find out your boiler’s correct water pressure

The best possible pressure to reflect on your gauge would be something between 1 and 2 bars. For reference, a cold radiator will show only 1 bar. If the pressure reads 2.75 bars or higher, it is indicative of dangerously high pressure, and anything lower than 1 bar is considered low pressure. It’s quite dangerous to have your boiler keep such a high pressure as this may be signs that the boiler’s pressure release system is broken or there’s too much water in the heating system. For such cases, always consult professionals so as not to endanger your entire household.

A few instances that may be the cause of your low water pressure

There are only two common mishaps that occur in your boiler for it to have low pressure:

You just conducted radiator bleeding – For case 1, it usually occurs after water from the central heating system is let go. By bleeding radiators, you release water from your central heating system. Sometimes, this could cause low boiler pressure. Fortunately, this could be easily remedied by when you repressurise the system. 

Your heating system has a leak – For case 2, there might be a hard-to-find leak somewhere in your central heating system that’s the cause of boilers losing pressure. If you check the pipes, the boiler, or the radiator, you may notice damp spots around. These are usually small hence the slow drop in pressure on your boiler, as you may have noticed. 

Also, please do not attempt to check for a leak inside the boiler – it’s too dangerous. Please leave the job to a Gas Safe registered plumber or heating engineer instead. If you may have found any leaks, do not hesitate to contact an engineer to have it fixed to save you time and money. 

A Step-by-step guide on repressurising a boiler

There are two ways to increase the pressure on your boiler, depending on its the make and model. So make sure to check your boiler’s user manual before proceeding. You may opt to search for yours online if you seem to have misplaced your copy. You may also opt for something visual; manufacturers usually put up videos of a DIY fix that can be found through a quick google search.

FIX 1: To repressurise your boiler with a filling loop

  1. Switch off the boiler and leave it to cool.
  2. When cool to the touch, check on the filling loop or filling hose to see if both ends of it are correctly connected to the boiler.
  3. Open the two valves on your boiler and wait to have cold water from your mains fill it.
  4. Leave the valves open for a while. When the pressure hits 1.5 bars, close both valves subsequently.
  5. Try powering on your boiler again. In some cases, electric boilers have reset buttons so you may also opt for that.
  6. Check the pressure gauges to see if you have successfully topped up the pressure. Watch the pressure rise. 
  7. Once the pressure on your boiler has reached the optimum level, take out the filling loop or filling hose from the system and make sure the water caught in it doesn’t spill.
  8. Dry out the filling loop and store is a safe place until needed again.

FIX 2: To repressurise your boiler with a repressure key

  1. Switch off the boiler and leave it to cool.
  2. Underneath the boiler, look for a concealed tray that houses the key and its slot.
  3. Insert the key and make sure it lines up on the unlock position or the “open padlock” engraving on the slot.
  4. Give it a push and turn it to the locked position or the  “closed padlock” engraving.
  5. Make water flow into the boiler by turning the white square nut in a clockwise direction. 
  6. Let the water in until it reaches a pressure of 1.5 bars. After this turn, the nut in a clockwise direction again to stop the water from coming in. 
  7. Push and turn the key back to the unlock position or “open padlock” engraving. Some water may fall off the boiler; it’s normal.
  8. Power on the boiler again. Again, check the pressure gauges to see if you have topped up the pressure. If the pressure reads an ideal level, then your boiler is up to the task of once again heating your home!

How many times should I repressurise my boiler?

You may conduct this every time you find the pressure is low. However, repressurising the boiler should only be done once a week at the maximum. If you seem to be conducting this too often or too regularly, might as well outsource for help as water damage, as well as further damage to your boiler, are both bigger problems to resolve.

To avoid this from happening, do consider having annual boiler checks just to see if your boiler is in tiptop shape! If you doubt you could do all this by yourself, it would always be best to have a Gas Safe engineer do this for you instead. After all, boiler repairs cost less than having to purchase a new one and pay for boiler installation services when you cause irreparable damage to your boiler. So, don’t hesitate to call a professional today!

 

Common Causes Of Boiler Breakdown

repairing-gas-boiler

A boiler is one of the more important parts of the house. When it stops working properly, it can result in countless problems. There is never a good time for your boiler to stop working. Your bathroom experience can get pretty harrowing if your boiler becomes dysfunctional during the colder seasons. It can lead to an overall unsatisfying start to your day or even health concerns. Extreme temperatures can cause not only discomfort but also health complications that could’ve easily avoided with a well-maintained boiler.

Unless you enjoy freezing cold showers, it is better to have your boiler working at optimal condition all of the time. Wear and tear can be the common culprit as to why your boiler is working inefficiently. However, there are other causes of boiler breakdown like faulty installations and incompatible parts. This is the reason why we recommend hiring a licensed engineer to install your boilers.

Your boiler functioning inefficiently can cost you a lot of money through your bills or even in its replacement. Boiler replacement is quite expensive, which is why it’s best to identify and fix any issue when it arises instead of letting damage pile up until it breaks down. Boiler maintenance is so much better than boiler repair.

If you have boiler cover or home insurance, then boiler breakdown, though still a bad thing, will not affect your finances as much as households without boiler cover. Home repairs, especially for low- to middle-income families, can create quite a disturbance on the household’s finances, even force them to take personal loans just to pay for repairs.

In this article, I shall discuss how to avoid boiler breakdown, including common boiler problems, how to diagnose whether your boiler isn’t working properly, what to do during a gas boiler breakdown, and when to give up with DIY repairs and call for a boiler breakdown service.

Some of the common boiler problems include:

Low Boiler Pressure

Boilers come with a built-in pressure gauge. If the boiler pressure is below 1, then chances are your boiler won’t be able to function properly. Low pressure is caused by many factors: water leaks, overused pressure relief valve, and a bleeding radiator. Low boiler pressure can put you in quite an inconvenient situation. Check for any signs of a leak and immediately call a Gas Safe Engineer if you find any. Even if you do not locate any, if you think that there is a problem with your gas central heating system, you should contact a gas engineer registered in England already to fix your boiler. There may be micro leaks that would be hard for the untrained eye to detect.

Radiator Not Heating Up

What use is a cold radiator? Usually, sludge, rust or air can build up inside the gas central heating system. Because of this build-up, cold patches in radiators are caused by an unequal distribution of heat. In most cases, this will not need an engineer as all you have to do is bleed out your radiator and relieve your boiler of pressure. However, if the problem still persists, there may be a bigger underlying problem that is best left to a plumbing and heating professional.

Frozen Condensate Pipes

Over time and frequent use, the small traces of condensation left in your pipes accumulate. During the winter or cold seasons, the condensation goes back to liquid form and freezes, causing a major blockage. Never subject your pipes to direct heat like a propane torch or an open flame as this can result in a fire. Instead of just dealing with boiler insurance, you might be dealing with life insurance if the fire comes in direct contact to your gas line. Only use thermostatically-controlled heat tape to thaw out your pipes. Pipe insulation can be bought from any home improvement store and is cheaper than dealing with the consequences of burst and seized pipes.

Boiler Switching Off

Your boiler automatically switching off can mean several faulty problems: the boiler pressure is too low, there could be a blockage in the pipes which is restricting the water flow or that the water is not being circulated properly due to a malfunctioning pump. 

Unreliable Thermostat

An unreliable thermostat can lead to unsatisfying home experience. Before panicking and calling for a Gas Safe Engineer, inspect your thermostat if it’s in the right position. Usually, the knobs can get a bit loose after years of use. It may be set incorrectly.

Another factor that you have to take into consideration is that your house may not exactly be optimized to lock in temperature. Check if your windows and doors have the proper insulation. Your houses’ temperature may already be higher than the temperature you’re setting, making it impossible for your boiler to reach your desired temperature.

Leaking

Boiler leaks can be quite dangerous for so many different reasons. Locate the spot where there is a leakage and determine whether it’s from a broken internal component, burst pipe, or just wear and tear. It is best to leave any repairs of boiler leaks to the professionals. Make sure that you hire only a Gas Safe registered Engineer so you know that you and your house are in safe hands. 

Usually, micro-leaks can go undetectable for many months or until they turn into a bigger problem i.e. corrosion of pipes and tank. This is why it’s recommended for household owners to call a Gas Safe registered engineer to perform an annual boiler maintenance check. Make the sensible decision of replacing your boiler should there be any major damage. Your safety should always be your priority.

Kettling

One of the unavoidable occurrences that happen with boilers is a limescale build-up. If you happen to live in an area whose water supply has high mineral content, then kettling will be one of your issues.

Hard water is formed when deposits of limestone, chalk, or gypsum accumulate over time restricting the flow of water and causing it to overheat and boil. When hot water evaporates, it leaves small residues of minerals. Kettling will not only drastically decrease your boiler’s lifespan but also cost you more on energy bills as the boiler has to work twice as hard.