Even though recent temperatures have been around 27 degrees celsius it’s always recommended to switch your heating on for 5 – 10 minutes every couple of weeks to avoid any mechanical parts seizing. Depending on the type of heating system you have and its condition parts such as the pump and motorised valves can get stuck in one position if left un-used for too long. These parts can seize on all systems however older, open vented systems are more prone than others. Open vented heating systems are those that have water tanks in the loft. As the water in the system is open to the atmosphere oxygen can get back into the water which causes rust. As you may know the black sludge in the heating system is unoxidised rust. This sludge is magnetic and would stick to the magnet in the pump motor. The sludge can also block up other parts such as the heat exchanger on the boiler and the pipes themselves, in a similar way that eating a high fatty diet would block up your arteries.
If you know you have an old heating system that has not been treated or flushed in the last 5 years, then ultimately the best thing to do is to have a central heating flush. However in the meantime turning on the heating system for a few minutes will prolong the life of the parts on the heating system. If sludge is left to settle the sludge turns into a solid. For those of you who have smart heating controls have the benefit of being able to turn the heating on remotely while they are not home, so they’ll stay comfortable
If you have any concerns regarding your heating system get in touch to arrange a free review.
No one wants to feel like they are getting ripped off which is one reason why I’m writing this article. On small jobs where there is no floorboards to lift up or pipes to bury in walls there is no room to manoeuvre on price. However when on a big job a customer asks if I can do the job any cheaper than the estimate provided I always say the following:- ‘the amount on the invoice may be less than the estimate as there are some unknown factors in the job, because we don’t know what we’ll find when we lift up the floorboards etc which may mean we’ll use less materials however the labour cost will be the same and the we won’t charge more than the estimated amount.’
Pavlou Plumbers offer their best price every time. I believe those tradesman who agree on a lower price than what they have written down are basically saying ‘I thought you were stupid so I tried to rip you off, but you’re not so I can reduce the price’.
On small jobs the VAT is not as noticeable however beware of paying for big jobs for ‘CASH’ in an attempt to save money. I know VAT is a bit of a con however, for those of you who don’t know a company must be VAT registered if their annual turnover is above a certain amount. It’s the law. The only way you can avoid paying VAT is to find a smaller company who is not VAT registered. There are plenty out there. Otherwise if you choose a busier VAT registered company to do your work but pay them cash then don’t expect your new boiler to be registered with Gas Safe or the warranty to be registered with the boiler manufacturer, or the the commissioning checklist of the boiler to be completed as the fitter will want no record or proof of the job ever taking place. In fact you would be lucky if the fitter ever returns even to rectify an issue the fitter had caused.
For any business pricing has got to be one of the most important fundamental parts to get right. Price too high and you won’t get the work, price too low and the business won’t last long. At Pavlou Plumbers a lot of time is spent pricing work which is made easier with the use of spreadsheets. However finding prices for all the required parts, working out how long the job will take, entering the customer’s details into the accounting software, filling out the estimate sheet and emailing it to the customer is a process which needs to be done. Each estimate usually takes between 20 minutes and 2 hours to complete depending on the size of the job. Last month I sent 49 estimates which, if you do the maths is a lot of my time. As I provide free estimates it is vital that I provide the best estimate I can otherwise I am wasting my time which no one wants to do.
In order to provide some customers with an insight of how I work out my labour rates are calculated I have to take the following expenses into account:- Wages, Bank charges because business banking is not free, van insurance, public liability insurance, tool insurance, mobile phone insurance, the excess on those insurances which I must have available, income protection insurance, mobile phone, diesel cost, the cost of replacing tools because they don’t last forever or they get robbed or lost which does happen, personal protective equipment, clothing, the cost of keeping up with training, membership to various organisations such as Gas Safe, Water Safe, accountants fees, vehicle maintenance, software subscriptions, marketing, online storage space, stationery and business savings to pay for any mistakes. Mistakes happen which we always learn from, by putting money aside we are better equipped to deal with mistakes properly. I believe the quickest way to learn from your mistakes is to pay for them.
All the above is vital for Pavlou Plumbers to continue to provide the best service possible for our customers today and tomorrow.
It is commonly known that your boiler needs regular servicing to make sure it is running efficiently and safely. What is not commonly know is your hot water cylinder may do as well. Unvented hot water cylinders are the hot water system of choice for many new build properties with more than one shower coming from the hot water system. This is because they provide enough water flow for more than one shower to be used at the same time. If you have a hot water cylinder but do not have any water tanks in the loft or high up in a cupboard, then you’ll have an unvented hot water cylinder which looks similar to the pictures below.
These systems have certain safety devices which in effect prevent your cylinder from exploding. As extreme as that sounds it is the truth. When hot water is in a sealed environment the water has to be able to expand. This is the job of the expansion vessel. If however the expansion vessel should fail there will be a pressure relief valve that will automatically open to let the hot water out and the cold water in. This will in turn reduce the pressure in the cylinder. If another fault should occur with either your heating controls or boiler which would cause your hot water to remain on, there is a valve that would automatically open should the hot water temperature get too high. If an unvented hot water cylinder did not have functional safety devices then the picture below will show you what could happen.
This explosion happened in America where unvented hot water cylinders are more widely used. I’m happy to say the UK have better regulations on who can fit and service unvented hot water cylinders which means explosions like this are extremely rare in the UK.
A common symptom of an un-serviced hot water cylinder is a dripping is seen or heard when the water in the cylinder is being heated. The dripping will be seen from outside or the tundish, see below picture. If the tundish is wet then your unvented hot water cylinder needs a service urgently.
Make sure your service engineer is qualified to work on your unvented hot water system. The engineer must have a ‘Domestic Hot Water Storage Systems’ or ‘Hot Water Systems & Safety’ qualification. These comply with Approved Document G of the Building Regulations.
Its been a long time since my last post. The main reason for this is I’ve been busy repairing boilers and heating systems and replacing boilers over these last few weeks. If you have a non – condensing boiler, specially if your boiler was installed before the year 2000 then its likely that the boiler is coming to the end of its life cycle. The average life cycle of a boiler is 15yrs. If you have had your boiler serviced every year and the manufacturer of the boiler is a reputable one then your boiler could still be running fine, and it could last for up to 25yrs. However if the boiler has not been well maintained and it is a lesser known manufacturer then I would recommend saving for a replacement boiler. In 2005 it was made compulsory to install only condensing boilers due to them being a lot more efficient. This means it was not possible to buy an non – condensing boiler after 2005.
How do I know if I have a non – condensing boiler?
The main reason why condensing boilers are more efficient is because they extract more energy / heat out of the fumes that leave the boiler through the flue (chimney if you like) of the boiler. Due to more heat being taken out of the fumes condensing boilers have a plastic internal tube, which is fine because the fumes are not hot enough to melt plastic. A non – condensing boiler must have an all metal flue because the fumes are a lot hotter.
Here are a couple of pictures of old non – condensing, less efficient boilers.
Below is a picture of a more efficient condensing boiler
If you are still uncertain if you have a condensing boiler or not, or you would like a boiler service would like a more efficient boiler then get in touch to arrange an appointment.