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Monday, 24 December 2012

The Ultimate Gas Saver

Do you want to reduce your gas bill? It's a silly question; of course you do. We normally do this for our customers by ensuring they have the latest energy saving heating controls and high efficiency boilers. However there are other ways.
If you have the right type of chimney and a ready supply of logs then a high efficiency wood burning stove may well suit you.
This one that we have fitted is the Hamlet 'Solution' inset 7KW model. It comes with a ten year warranty. We also fitted the fire surround which is the 'Palmerston' cast iron with polished back and slabbed hearth and took care of all of the associated building work too. These stoves are becoming more popular and rightly so. There is something rather pleasing about sitting in front of a log fire especially when the price of gas continues to rise.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Designer Radiators

Are you looking for something a bit different from the standard panel radiator? We can supply and fit all manner of different radiators to match your home or taste. Here's an example of one we fitted last week. It's a reproduction period style cast iron radiator. They are available in various different finishes, styles and sizes; this one is in metallic pewter. They come with a ten year warranty

The valve which is traditionally styled is actually thermostatic.
If you have any questions or queries about radiators of any type or style we are always happy to help.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Change of use job

Here are a few pictures from what the planning department call a 'Change of use' job. A former bedroom has been converted into an en suite bathroom. It compries of a 760mm shower cubicle, a wash basin on a pedestal, a toilet and a towel rail radiator. We are just doing the finishing touches today.
We had to excavate the driveway and form a branch into the the main drain for a soil vent pipe to serve the new bathroom. We also replaced a broken rainwater gulley and resited it against the wall. I took this picture whilst waiting for the building inspector to pass the drains so we could stone it up and back fill.

All walls inside were tiled and the existing radiator was replaced with a chrome ladder style towel rail with concealed pipes.

The shower valve is a built in Mira with a variable riser kit. All pipework is concealed in the cupboard we constructed that backs onto the shower.

I had to stand on a step ladder to get this shot. The tray is also by Mira as is the fold down seat and the cubicle. The floor you will note has been over layed with plywood in readiness for a non slip vinyl covering which is getting fitted once we are completed.

The 450mm wide basin is rather compact and has been selected due to space being of a premium. The tap is by Bristan.
We carried out all the external drainage work, the plastering, joinery, resiting a boiler, electrics and tiling as well as the plumbing. Our customer had just one company to deal with; us. If you'd like another bathroom and aren't sure if it's possible or think it may cost too much or don't fancy dealing with lots of different trades or building inspectors please give us a call. We can take care of everything and it may not cost as much as you think.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Vertical Flued Installation

Here's a roof flue on a boiler change job we completed yesterday. It always brings back many happy memories when I get my lead dressing tools out as a large part of my apprenticeship involved working with lead. Note the two hidden lead straps which are fixed to a roof batten and fold over the bottom of the flashing to hold it in place. This is good practice in exposed areas. Once dressed to the contours of the roof tiles the lead is treated with patination oil. We get to see some shocking examples of poor workmanship by heating engineers when trying to fit these type of terminals. Only last month we were called to a boiler that was reported as leaking. It wasn't the boiler it was rainwater running down the incorrectly fixed vertical flue terminal. Here's how it should be done so it's aesthetically pleasing and most importantly weather tight.

 In the not so distanct past we'd have done this job using a cat ladder hooked over the ridge of the roof. Happily those days are gone and we now work from safe platforms and don't have to worry about lead dressers and other tools sliding down the roof.

Here's the access tower. John is on the lower platform terminating the pressure relief outlet pipe.
Here's the business end of the job; a Worcester 'Greenstar' 30Si, high efficiency combination boiler. It's fitted in the former airing cupboard so is hidden but easily accessable for servicing. An old Plumber who did some small jobs for a housing trust we work for once said to me "I can always tell when boilers have been fitted by you".
"How's that" I asked him?
Your pipes are always neat, straight and clipped" he replied.
"Well it's only how they are supposed to be" I told him!
I guess it's about having pride in your work. I insist on neatly routed pipework. Strangely a great friend of mine who I served my apprenticeship alongside and now plies his trade in the USA suffers from the same insistance on perfection. It has stemmed from our training at ICI which I still rate as the very best.
If you'd like to know more about my neat workmanship, high efficiency boilers, energy saving controls and how to keep warm whilst paying the very least possible for your gas then please do give me a call.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

The Perfect Modern Replacement For Those Big Old Cast Iron Gas Guzzlers

The old, inefficient boiler in the previous post was replaced with this excellent piece of engineering. It's the Worcester Greenstar 42CDi Regular. A heat only, floor standing boiler with a seasonal efficiency of 90.3%. It weighs a hefty 55.1KG but thanks to some ingenius rollers is very easy to handle in and out of position during fitting. It proved a perfect replacement for the previous big old Myson 'Marathon'. It occupies the same alcove in the kitchen but its more compact size means it fits better and doesn't obtrude like its predessesor. We also replaced the hot water cylinder with a modern high efficiency model and upgraded the system from an inefficient 'gravity hot water / pumped heating' to 'fully pumped'. The controls are a Honeywell 'S-Plan' utilising a radio frequency analogue room thermostat. We also replaced the secondary return pump, which had been taken out at some point in the past, with a new Grundfos bronze hot water pump. It's a very large house with several bathrooms plus basins in each bedroom so the secondary return was vital to ensure instant hot water at all points of use.

We fitted this excellent piece of equipment on the return pipe to the boiler. This is the 28mm version. Despite power flushing this system it still filtered out some debris from what is a very old system. It is also an excellent dosing point for adding inhibitor. It's reassuring to know that this working all day everyday to keep the system clean. Our customer now has a system and controls up to modern standards with an extended warranty boiler and her gas bill will be dramatically reduced. The job she and her family were dreading wasn't as bad as they feared thanks in no small part to these innovative products.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Out With The Old.

The end of the road for this big old inefficient boiler as it awaits a one way trip to the scrap yard with our recycling contractor. It was a Myson 'Marathon' 150,000BTU, floor standing, open flued appliance with a permanent pilot light. It heated the hot water by gravity in an uninsulated cylinder with no controls. The water in the cylinder was reaching the same temperature as the boiler flow;82 degrees C, which was both dangerous and wasteful. The boiler itself was probably only around 55% efficienct. The radiators were once controlled by a room thermostat which had broke a long time ago and had been by-passed. All in all it was costing a lot of money to run.
Watch this space to see what we installed to bring this system up to current standards and save our customer money on her fuel bill.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Showroom Type Vanity Basin

This is part of a bathroom we recently completed.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

WIAPS {Water Industry Approved Plumber Scheme}

Does our industry need anymore policing?
I remember way back in 1985 when I first registered with C.O.R.G.I. which then stood for the 'Council for the registration of gas installers. I'd been in business for about a year and like now trading conditions were difficult. CORGI, back then was an entirely voluntary trade association and cost £75 to join. An inspector came out had a look at a couple of your jobs, watched you perform a tightness test and checked you had a set of the British Standards relating to gas.  It was as simple as that.
I was a young pup of just 21 years of age trying to be better than a whole load of others just like me. I was installing full plumbing, heating and gas systems for a builder, in a street of houses in Bootle {Longfellow St} belonging to Merseyside Improved Homes who were one of the pioneering housing associations on Merseyside. Most of the street was getting renovated so I was able to take the inspector in any number of  houses I'd completed so he could check my work. Membership of CORGI helped me get on various tender lists and pick up commercial work I wouldn't have otherwise got as well as giving support and technical advice. It was a good move and one I'm glad I made though few members of the public had any idea what CORGI was in those days.
In 1991 it became mandatory for engineers who worked on gas to become registered and it helped tighten up the industry. Sadly CORGI lost sight of its core activities and as a result lost the contract to run the scheme. In 2008 Capita won the tender and have since operated the registration scheme in a much better way under the 'Gas Safe' banner.
There is currently talk about a 'Water Safe' scheme being implemented which would be another good step forward for the legitimate installers in the industry. The scheme is currently voluntary and recognises reputable Plumbers who hold formal qualifications,  have been assessed in the water regulations, passed the assessment and work to the correct standards. It allows them to self certify certain work too. We are members of this scheme. As Approved Plumbers we are are happy to answer any customer queries regarding water regulations, approved fittings, contamination, supplies or any related matters.
In view of some of the shocking workmanship and contraventions of  the water regulations we regularly see by unqualified 'Plumbers', well meaning 'have a go joiners' and so called 'multi skillers this scheme becoming mandatory should be welcomed.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Easy If You Know How

Here's some pictures of a boiler breakdown from this morning {saturday}. Our customer was faced with a possible weekend of no heating and no hot water. Luckily he rang us and I was able to attend within the hour.
The boiler is an Ideal 'Isar' 30KW combination boiler that's around five years old. It was attempting to ignite before locking out and displaying the 'LF' fault code.
Here's the boiler with the front case and sealing panel both removed. 'LF' is a flame error fault code but it can be one of several faults.

The first thing I check is the ignition electrode which is highlighted below.

I was right first time. It has been distorted by heat making the  gap too large for the spark to bridge. We look after a lot of these boilers and carry a spares kit consisting of every part enabling us to fix them in a single visit.

We don't just specialise in repairing certain brands of boiler; we can fault find and fix any for you. Please don't hesitate to call if you wish to discuss any such matters.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Bathroom Refurb

 Here's a new bathroom we finished last week. The old suite and tiles were stripped out. In addition to the plumbing works there was some replastering, a new door casing, stud work, floor tiling and wall tiling.

We like to do everything on jobs like this to ensure continuity and perfection.
We are always happy to discuss your dream bathroom with you. We can help with the design and planning and share our inside knowledge with you of the best products.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Would You Like To Reduce Your Gas Bill?

 We are always keen to speak to people who wish to reduce their gas bills as we can help them. Here is how we done so this week for a new customer. How many big old boilers like this are still around? Quite a few I'd imagaine. This is an Ideal 'Concord' balanced flue model which has been a reliable boiler but is now at the end of its life span. Compared with modern boilers it is very inefficient.
Before we removed this boiler we had one last run to give it. We disconnected the pump and attached our flushing machine to it and gave the system a power flush . The system was surprisingly clean which is testimony to the landlords planned maintenance and use of inhibitor. Once disconnected it took two of us and our trolley to get it safely outside as it was very heavy.
With the system cleaned out it was now time for the new boiler. We are replacing it with a Worcester 'Greenstar' i, system boiler which fitted neatly in the same cupboard but up on the wall rather than on the floor. The system had previously been converted to a sealed system so we removed the remote expansion vessel and controls as they are all integral on the new boiler. The former balanced flue hole was bricked up and the new unit was soon up on the wall.
Just a few hours later with the pipework completed the new boiler is fired up and getting commissioned. John is checking the combustion settings in the bottom picture and printing off the readings to attach to the manual. The gas savings will be quite dramatic on this one.
Jobs like this aren't as bad or messy as many people imagine. They are very straight forward for us and we work with the minimum fuss and disturbance. We are always happy to advise on all matters relating to high efficiency boilers and energy saving controls.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Undersized Gas Pipes?

The Problem {a common one} ~ A combination boiler with an undersized {15mm} gas supply. As a result of this it wasn't producing enough hot water. The boiler was sited in a former airing cupboard within a first floor rear bedroom. All of the upstairs floors were over laid with laminate flooring which the customer didn't want disturbing. It was a two bedroom terraced property with both bedrooms fitted out and rather full so lifting the flooring would have been extremely difficult and time consuming. The floor had also been glued so if lifted would have been damaged beyond repair.
The Solution ~ We installed a new continuous run of gas pipe in 22mm  flexible 'Trac Pipe' as shown in the picture. We routed it from the meter cupboard up in the corner of the room, straight through the floor into the bedroom and up into the loft. It was all neatly concealed in trunking tight in the corners of the rooms and no flooring or decoration was disturbed. We then dropped it down from loft into the boiler cupboard where it adapted to 22mm copper tube via a male iron fitting and connected to the boiler. It's very easy to work with as it comes on a roll making long runs without joints possible. Before and after gas rating results showed the boiler was now working as it should in 'hot water' mode.
This product is also very useful when replacing sections of pipework in floor voids which have failed tightness tests. Please feel free to contact us to discuss any gas related matters.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Flame Free Pipe Jointing

In certain areas where we work we have to use flame free methods of joining pipes. This is usually down to insurance, health & Safety or when fast track repairs are required and hot work permits haven't been issued. The picture below was taken in a hotel in Blackpool where we had to surface mount some heating pipes along a skirting board to supply a radiator in a conservatory. Using blow torches to solder joints would have set off the fire alarm system. It wasn't permitted to disable the fire alarm system so the work was done using these 'Tectite Sprint' fittings from Pegler Yorkshire. No machines are required as the pipe simply pushes into them for a water tight joint. They are much more pleasing on the eye than some of the plastic push fit fittings which are available. They also maintain earthing continuity when pipes are part of an electrical earthing system. We have installed pipes in many unusual places, special environments or where heat restrictions apply and are always happy to advise on such matters which, incidentally are becoming more common.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

How To Fit A Watertight Shower Enclosure

Despite what tilers or bathroom showroom salesmen may tell you, plasterboard is unsuitable as a tiling surface in the wet areas of bathrooms. This includes over baths where showers are fitted as well as in enclosures. All wet areas in a bathroom should have the plasterboard removed and be boarded with waterproof tile board like shown in the pictures..
We use a product from Travis Perkins called 'Hardibacker Tileboard'. It is a cement based waterproof rigid board. The shower tray in the pictures is a Mira 'Flight' with two tiling up-stands which the finished tiles will lap over ensuring a water tight joint at the junction of the tray and tiles even before it is sealed with silicone. In fact once all the joints on the boards are sealed the job will be waterproof before a tile is even laid!
All tiles must be laid on waterproof adhesive. Once they have dried they are sealed with waterproof grout.

All junctions are then sealed with a good quality silicone sealant containing anti fungicide. We use the Dow Corning brand. Avoid the £1 a tube products from so called DIY superstores {you know who I mean}.
We do this as standard on all our bathroom refits. We also do a lot of remedial work and insurance claim work putting right poor quality installations that have failed. I can honestly say we have never had one leak or failure using these methods.
We are always happy to discuss any bathroom or shower issues. Please remember that the expensive finished bathroom is only as good as the foundation on which it has been fitted.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Power Flushing

The problem: a heating system that just doesn't get hot enough. The radiators were blocked up with sludge and sediment. There was also a partial blockage in the return pipe. A lot of gas was being consumed by the boiler with little heat in return.
Our Anton power flushing machine {pictured} and some water treatment chemicals solved the problem and the cost was much more reasonable than our 'friends' at B****** Gasp had quoted. The system is now running much more efficiently.
Correctly installed, leak free heating systems that have been treated with inhibitors seldom if ever end up blocked or full of sludge. Unfortunately many people neglect to maintain the inhibitor in their systems. Other systems have been incorrectly installed with pumps, feed and vent pipes incorrectly positioned causing air ingress. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you think your system may need cleaning and flushing out. We are happy to advise. Also call us if you have been quoted extortionate prices by a certain national company who's staff might just be on a bonus if you agree to their quote. We are tradesmen, not salesmen and won't make a mountain out of what is a fairly straight forward job.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Remote Controlled Gas Fire

We promised our customer more space in their lounge, the very latest fire and all the associated work done by one company; us. This was the end result. We fitted this fire and a new flue liner about eighteen months ago but for some reason or other I didn't take a picture at the time. I was back at this customers house today doing some other work and measuring for a new dream bathroom, so took the opportunnity to take this photo. The fire is called 'Desire' and is made by Flavel. It is operated by a remote control unit similar to that used for televisions. It was the first remote controlled fire we had fitted. It replaced an old fire, hearth and surround thereby creating more space in the room. We done all the associated building work for the flue {including at roof level}, remodelling the builders opening, concealing the gas supply pipe and patch plastering. We prefer to do any building work ourselves so the continuity of the job is maintained and also to ensure all manufacturers dimensions are exact.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Commercial Boiler Room Maintenance

This is a Grundfos twin headed pump, in a boiler room in a hospital. The top pump head had failed and was tripping out on the control panel. Swapping it is a fairly straight forward job as there are isolating valves either side and the electric control box just plugs back in. An automatic air vent above the pump {the brass fitting} was leaking, as was another on some high level pipework so we took the opportunity to replace these at the same time. This boiler rooms serves some Doctors accomodation. The Doctors work all manner of unusual hours so the building requires heating almost all the time. It is therefore essential that any maintenance such as this is carried out quickly and efficiently to minimise shut downs. We hold the keys to this and other boiler rooms we maintain which enables us to respond quickly and at all times to any breakdowns or problems.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Wireless Controls

  We actually install more wireless controls now than hard wired ones. The picture is of a seven day Honeywell programmable room thermostat which we fit a lot of when we install combination boilers. As these type of controls eliminating the need to run and conceal cables there is no disturbance to decorations. Getting them in the optimum position for sensing room temperature is easier too without wires to worry about.
On all replacement boiler installations it is a building regulations requirement that controls are upgraded to current standards. As most old installations have inadequate controls we find ourselves doing a lot of this work. Even if you are not replacing your boiler it still makes good sense to have your heating system properly controlled to save money on your energy bill. We rewired a heating system this week in a house on a fairly new estate. It had never been wired up correctly in the first place and the frost thermostat by the boiler in the garage had never even been connected! So much for building inspectors! It was supposed to be a 'Y-plan' system but was a mish mash of controls by different manufacturers. We changed everything to Honeywell for wiring clarity and it's all working perfectly and most importantly, efficiently now. We are always happy to discuss and advise on any heating control issues you may have. With wireless technology it's less disruptive than you may think to get your system under proper control.