Benefits of annual boiler service

You might have already heard a lot about the importance of carrying out annual boiler service but despite so much awareness being created, we do come across people who ignore boiler service The common reasons cited by them for not arranging annual boiler service are “It is too expensive”, “my boiler is working fine without annual service”, “I don’t have time”, etc. Though most of these reasons might sound valid, they are not. A boiler might be working fine without service, but you can never predict when it will shut down. Yes, boiler service is expensive, but it is definitely worth the money. To further justify the importance of annual boiler service, we are listing down all the advantages here.

Legal implications

The government of UK has passed a law which makes it mandatory for landlords to carry out annual boiler service. It is considered illegal to skip annual service. If it is either reported or comes to the limelight that you have not done the boiler service then you can be subjected to the judicial punishment which can be either imprisonment or hefty penalty. It is better to pay a small price and carry out the boiler service instead of paying heavy fines later.

Gas poisoning

One of the biggest threats posed by the boiler is carbon monoxide gas poisoning. Boilers might emit carbon monoxide gas when it becomes faulty. This is a poisonous gas which can cause server health problems for your family. When you arrange an annual boiler service, the heating engineer will ensure and fix all possible problems and will also test your boiler for gas leakage. Treating people affected with gas poisoning is difficult and it might even lead to death. This is where annual boiler service is extremely crucial as it safeguards your family.

Warranty and Boiler cover validity

Since boiler repairs are expensive we always recommend our clients to opt for boiler cover and purchase high-quality boilers with extended boiler warranty. It is also important to read the terms and conditions mentioned in the warranty policy. One of the common conditions for boiler cover and warranty validity is the annual boiler service. If annual boiler service is not carried out, both boiler warranty and boiler cover might become invalid. This is why one should never skip annual boiler service.

Frequency of repairs

A well-maintained boiler will last a lifetime while the others may not. Boiler service ensures that all the parts of the boilers are thoroughly inspected and if there are any problems found they are fixed. Annual boiler service will prevent boiler problems and will reduce the cost incurred for repairs.

Boiler efficiency

During the process of annual maintenance, the heating engineer will fine tune all the parts of the boiler which will improve the performance of the boiler. This includes cleaning the burner and also the heat exchanger. When these parts are fine-tuned, it will enable the boiler to burn efficiently. Your boiler will consume lesser energy which will reduce your monthly heating costs.

We hope these benefits stress the importance of annual boiler maintenance and for the maximum benefit we recommend you to schedule the service before the winter.

Tips to optimize indoor humidity levels

One of the common problems faced by people residing in colder areas is dryness caused by extremely cold weather. Dryness in the air causes a lot of troubles not only for humans but also for plants and pets. Moist air is the perfect solution for fighting dryness due to cold but there is a catch. Too much moisture is not good too as it has its own set of drawbacks. It is important to arrive at the optimum moisture level required for each household depending on various factors. Moisture requirements also vary from season to season and higher moisture is required during peak winters.

Moisture level for winter

Moisture becomes a serious problem mainly during the winter months. When the mercury drops below the sub-zero level, the indoor humidity can drop as low as 10% which is not favorable. Experts recommend that one should maintain the humidity levels to 30-50% during winter and it can be adjusted to 20-30% during peak winter days. If you are wondering how to check the humidity levels, here is the answer. There is a device named hygrometer which will help measure the indoor humidity levels. This is a simple device which can be bought from a hardware store.

It is critical to keep the humidity levels at the optimum as too much humidity is bad too. If the humidity goes above 60% then it leads to moisture to build up indoor and condense on the surfaces. Both bacteria and fungi can form and grow in surfaces where moisture condenses. This is why it is important to strike the right balance between the dryness and moisture content. A sore throat is a common health condition during cold winter days and is mainly caused due to improper moisture level inside the home. A proper amount of moisture will help reduce illness in your home.

Why you should increase humidity in your home?

  • Dry air is one possible reason for snoring and improper sleep. If you increase the moisture inside the room it will reduce the probability of snoring and offer peaceful sleep.
  • Rooms with proper moisture and humidity levels will keep your vocal cords well lubricated and reduce the probability of a sore throat and also improves voice quality.
  • Dryness in the air is the main reason for skin problems and also lips developing cracks during winter. If you invest in a humidifier, skin problems related to dryness can be prevented.
  • It is a common occurrence during peak winter seasons that furniture and other wooden parts develop cracks. With proper moisture level, we can prevent the wood from cracking and splitting.
  • Another victim of low moisture levels during winter are the indoor plants. They develop brown edges due to dryness. Increasing the humidity will keep them in good shape.

These are some of the reasons why one should invest in a humidifier. Instead of buying a standalone humidifier, you can buy the one that comes with your HVAC. Most of the modern central heating systems come with a built-in humidifier to control the moisture level inside the home.

Tips to reduce your heating cost this winter

It is a common phenomenon each year that your energy cost goes up by a huge margin during the winter months. The first thing that you will do during a cold winter day is to look for the remote to turn on the thermostat and increase the temperature. There is nothing wrong with taking cover from the cold using the thermostat but it increases your energy bill. Here are a few tips which will keep your home sufficiently warm this winter without increasing the cost. These are simple maintenance tips which can be done at home easily without any professional assistance or complicated tools.

Optimize your energy supply

With winter just around the corner, most of the energy suppliers have increased their tariff. When the winter sets in the demand will increases further which will lead further price hike. Research for energy suppliers to find the best plan that suits your needs and reduce your energy bill. Energy companies have introduced plans by which you can pay for 2 years in advance and safeguard yourself from price hikes. Look for such plans and opt for the best one which is economical in the long term. Instead of suffering price hikes during winter it’s better to secure the price for the long period.

Insulation

Changing energy supply plans will only protect you from price hikes but it won’t reduce your energy consumption levels. Insulating the house is one of the efficient ways to keep your home warm naturally and reduce the energy consumption. Invest in double glazing insulation for your home and make sure rooms which are not used are kept closed. Insulation does two important things namely prevents the external cold from entering in and also prevent heat loss. When heat loss is prevented it reduces the stress on the central heating system. When the central heating system is used less, it will consume lesser fuel.

Smart Thermostat

Invest in a modern smart thermostat and it will pay for itself in a short period of time. Instead of keep playing with the thermostat whenever the temperature falls, set a predefined temperature. You can also set the time on when to switch on and off automatically. This will help reduce the energy cost. For further optimization, we recommend a smart thermostat. Smart thermostat uses artificial intelligence to switch on and off your thermostat based on your usage trends. This will ensure that the thermostat is used only when required and reduces wastage. This will further reduce the energy consumption even during the winter months.

Boiler service

The highest usage of the boiler is during the winter. Boilers which have no problems perform with high efficiency. Boilers with problems consume more energy for producing the heat. Ensure that the boiler is serviced just before the winter to ensure they are working with high efficiency. Always schedule the annual boiler service before the winter so that all possible problems are fixed and the boiler is working in the best condition possible.

Causes of temperature imbalances in the home

No matter how good you are with the thermostat or how hard you try, there will be at least one room in your home which is either too hot or cold. The central heating system depends on the thermostat for temperature control. Your heating system might be working without any faults, but still, it is highly possible that your bedrooms are colder than your living room or vice versa. Temperature imbalance within the home is frustrating mainly when you are paying a huge sum every month. The difference in temperature in your home can be due to various reasons. Let us understand them in detail.

Size of the ductwork or HVAC

The size of the ductwork plays a significant role in the heating process of your home. If you have installed a wrong size ductwork for your home, then the required airflow can’t be achieved. This will not only cause temperature imbalance but also might lead a permanent damage to the system in the long term. During peak winter, the improper airflow will freeze your evaporator’s coil. During the hot months, the reverse will happen and the system will overheat and shutdown. Another potential problem with ductwork is the leaks. Even a small leak can affect the airflow and will cause problems with heating. Larger leaks will lead to complete failure over time. It is important to install the proper ductwork size and monitor them at regular intervals for leaks.

Insulation

Walls in some rooms can be thinner compared to other rooms. Rooms with thinner walls are likely to lose the heat sooner. Since they are not properly insulated, they won’t retain heat. This is one reason why some rooms with lesser insulation will be cold than other rooms. When they can’t retain heat, you will be paying more on your monthly heating cost. Due to that single room, the thermostat will keep the heater running longer which will create further temperature imbalance. This is a problem is more prevalent in an older home with poor insulation.

Multi-level homes

It is a natural fact that top floors are warmer than the lower floors. Heat generally moves from upper floor to bottom. If you are living in a home with 2 floors, it is possible that the top floor will be warmer by 5-10 degree. If your heating system monitors the temperature using a single thermostat then it will make the matter even worse. This is a common problem which will not only make you uncomfortable but also increases your energy cost since the heating will be inconsistent. If you have installed the thermostat on the ground floor, then it will monitor the temperature and shut down the system when the preset is reached. Since your first floor is warmer it will suffer when the system got shut down. This is why it is important to install the thermostat in the correct location.

Properties of the room

Rooms which have number of windows are likely to remain colder than the ones which don’t have windows. Your thermostat might be working correctly, but temperature imbalance cannot be avoided due to this external factor. Rooms near to your heating unit will get heated quickly compared to those rooms which are far away. This will also create an imbalance.

A step-by-step guide to bleed the radiators

We have already written about the list of possible problems faced by the radiators. One of the problems is the air getting stuck in the radiators. In this post, we will be listing out the steps required to bleed the radiators which will remove the air inside.

What is bleeding?

Bleeding is a simple DIY process which will remove the air bubbles that are formed inside the radiators over time. A radiator key and a piece of cloth are the only things required for the process of bleeding. Before getting into the details of bleeding, let us understand how to detect radiators that blocked air inside them.

  • Switch on the boiler and the central heating system and allow the radiators to heat up.
  • After a few minutes, once the temperature is up, start by checking the radiators one by one.
  • If the radiator is working correctly, then it will have heat uniformly from top to the bottom. If the radiator has air blocked inside it, then it will be cold at the top and hot at the bottom.
  • Check individual radiators and mark the ones which are cold at the top.
  • It is dangerous to bleed the radiators when they are hot, so switch off the central heating system and wait for the radiators to cool off.
  • Once the radiators are cool, just insert the radiator key on the radiator valve and place a cloth beneath it to catch the dripping water.
  • Turn the radiator valve in a counter-clockwise direction and this will release the blocked air. First, the air will come out with a hissing sound followed by water.
  • Catch the dripping water with the cloth or a small bowl.
  • Once the hissing sound stops, close the radiator valve and remove the key.
  • If you are using a combi boiler, then the process of bleeding will reduce the pressure in the system.
  • Check the pressure gauge in the boiler and increase it accordingly.
  • Once the pressure is adjusted, turn on the boiler and the central heating system.
  • After a few minutes check the radiator to ensure it is heating up without problems. Repeat the same steps for all the radiators that you have identified earlier.
  • Do not forget to adjust the pressure after bleeding mainly if you are using a combination boiler.

The process of bleeding not only removes the air but also increases the efficiency of the radiators as it allows the heat to spread evenly. Bleeding can be done to all the radiators once in 2 months to increase the performance of the central heating system. Just make sure you only use the radiator keys for bleeding and not any screwdrivers or spanners. Though a screwdriver might do the job, it might also damage the radiator valves. Radiator key usually comes with the radiator at the time of the purchase, if you had lost the key, you can easily buy one from the local hardware or DIY store. Radiators are hot and it goes without saying that one needs to exercise caution when working on it.

A complete guide on combination boilers

Though there are many types of boilers available the most preferred choice right now is the combination boilers. Combination boilers are popular for their high efficiency and their compact size. A combination boiler packs both the water heater and the central heating boiler into a single compact unit. This unique idea saves a lot of space for the homeowners and thus making it a preferred choice for many. Combination boilers are easy to install and simple to use. Due to their high-efficiency ratings, they are also economical in the long run.

High Efficiency

Traditionally most of the boilers will have a coil at the center to heat the water and store it in a hot water cylinder. A combination boiler does not have a storage cylinder and instead, it only heats the water whenever required. Whenever a hot water tap or shower is opened, the combination boiler directly heats the water from the mains. This methodology of on-demand heating ensures the highest efficiency levels for the combination boilers. Since the water is directly heated from the mains, the hot water is delivered at the high pressure offering a quality shower experience for the users.

Benefits of a Combination Boiler

  • Hot water is delivered at mains pressure for both the taps and showers which is not feasible in traditional boilers.
  • Combination boilers are available for all sorts of fuel like gas, electricity and oil.
  • A combi boiler can also act as a central heating system boiler when attached to a radiator.
  • Combi boilers are a boon to smaller living spaces. There is no need for an overhead water tank or hot water storage cylinder and thus the size of the boiler is drastically reduced. A combi boiler can fit inside a cupboard in your kitchen or bathroom easily.
  • Combination boilers are easy to use and are highly reliable as they are built with the modern technologies.
  • The cost and time of installing a combi boiler are relatively cheaper since no extra pipework is required for the overhead tank.
  • Since the combination boiler takes care of both the water heating and also the central heating, a large amount of space is saved.
  • Due to their high-efficiency levels, combination boiler consumes lesser amount of energy for the heating purpose. This will reduce your monthly energy bill saving you a lot of money.

Problems associated with Combi boilers

Without a doubt, combination boilers enjoy a whole of the set of benefits and are the most preferred choice for the households recently. Similar to your normal boiler, combi boilers also require annual maintenance service. Here are some of the potential problems associated with combination boilers.

  • The automatic air vent might become faulty over time.
  • Blockages due to limescale build up in the central heating pipes. Blockages prevent free flow or hot water and might lead to fluctuations in the taps.
  • The pipes may start dripping water when the pressure relief valves become faulty.
  • When the pipes develop rust, it will lead to a leakage. Leakage results in loss of water pressure. Without the pressure, heating on the mains is difficulty and the output will be bad.

What is Boiler plus and how it affects the end user

As countries all over the globe doing their bit to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, UK too has come out with strict legislation which will reduce pollution due to boilers. On 6th April 2018, UK Government has come out with a slew of legislative measures that will impact heating manufacturers and also installers. These combined new laws are termed as Boiler plus. The new legislation is introduced by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to encourage homeowners to switch to more energy efficient boilers.

What is Boiler plus?

Boiler plus lists 3 important changes to the heating laws in UK namely

  1. All the newly installed gas boilers in the UK should have a minimum energy efficiency rating of 92%. This is a move in the right direction as it will eliminate all inefficient boilers and reduce carbon emission.
  2. Time and temperature controls are made mandatory for all types of boilers including gas and oil boilers. Once these controls are fitted homeowners can have the flexibility to reduce unnecessary heating and conserve energy.
  3. The third most important change in Boiler plus is with the combination boilers. All the newly installed combi boilers should be fitted with any one of the following modules
  • Flue gas heat recovery system: This is a special device designed especially to recycle the heat from the flue gases. By default, the heat from the flue gases is lost to the atmosphere. This new device will make use of that heat to preheat water.
  • Load compensation: This is a smart sensor which will heat the water based on the room temperature and will save a lot of fuel.
  • Weather compensation: This device works similar to the load compensation and using an external heat sensor as it monitors the room temperature and sets the boiler temperature accordingly.
  • Smart controls: Most of the modern boilers already come with smart controls which use artificial intelligence optimizes boiler usage.

How does Boiler plus affect the end user?

These new laws are introduced not only to reduce the carbon footprint but also reduce the energy cost of the end user. These measures are highly energy efficient and will reduce your monthly energy bill. Homeowners who fail to adhere to the laws mentioned in Boiler plus can be prosecuted for violation of law by Building Control. Gas-Safe heating engineers are advised to report non-compliance by the customers to the Health and Safety Executive. Penalties up to £5,000 can be levied on homeowners who fail to follow the new legislation.

The world today is shifting from traditional highly polluting fossil fuel to less polluting renewable energy sources and Boiler plus is a bold step by the UK Government.

Must-do boiler maintenance tips for summer

Boilers in the UK are treated more like a seasonal appliance. Boilers are never or rarely used in summer. The first thing people do when the summer starts is to switch off the boiler and forget about it. It is quite common for the households to experience lesser energy bills during summer compared to winter. The reduction in the energy bills is largely attributed to the absence of boiler usage. Though boiler is not necessary during summer months it still needs to be maintained. Let us look at various boiler maintenance tips for the summer.

Keep the thermostat on

Completely switching of the central heating system during the summer seems to be a wise decision for saving money but it might cost you during winter. A gas appliance like the boiler and the central heating system will develop faults if not used consistently. It is quite common for people to switch off the thermostat for more than a month. To keep the boiler in good condition it is strongly advised to use the boiler during the summer. Adjust the thermostat to the lowest level required during the summer but keep it switched on. For a safer usage, try to keep the thermostat on for 15 minutes a day. This consistent usage will prevent the boiler from developing problems.

Plan boiler replacement

If boiler replacement is in your mind for a long time then summer is the most suitable time. The demand for the boiler is very low during the summer and hence the boiler companies offer huge discounts on the price. A new boiler will be much more energy efficient and will save you money in the form of reduced energy bills. You can save money on the cost the boiler during summer purchase and reap the benefit of lower energy bills during winter.

Annual maintenance

Summer is the best time to service your boiler which has worked hard during the last winter. One more important reason to service the boiler during summer is to avoid peak pricing during winter. Boiler engineers are in high demand during winter and it is difficult to get their appointment on time. To avoid this rush, carry out the annual boiler service during summer. The boiler is regularly used during winter and hence it needs to be in perfect working condition; summer maintenance will detect and fix all the problems associated with the boiler. It is possible to get the boiler serviced in the summer at a relatively cheaper cost.

Check boiler parts

It is highly recommended to carry out a self inspection of the boiler, radiators, pipes, etc during the winter and the same has to be done during summer too. Check for leaks once in a month and also check for water and pressure levels once in a month.

Safe guard your boiler

Summer is the best time to add external safety to your boiler. The life of the boiler can be extended by investing in few accessories like an inhibitor, magnetic filtration unit, etc.

Simple tips to extend the life of your boiler

A boiler requires a significant amount of investment and so it is sensible to maintain and make the most out of it. Most people attend to the boilers only when it starts showing problems. Smart people proactively maintain their boiler to increase its efficiency and lifetime. Regular maintenance will keep the boiler in good condition and reduces the probability of a breakdown. Frequent maintenance also increases the life of your boiler. Here are some basic tips which will extend the life of your boiler.

Annual service

This is the basic tip we can suggest and something you would already know. Carry out a boiler service once a year using a Gas-Safe certified engineer. An annual boiler service will discover all potential problems in the boiler early and fix it. This will increase the efficiency of the boiler and also reduce the chance of a fault. It is better to schedule your annual service just before the onset of the winter.

Bleed the radiators

It is quite common for air to be trapped inside the radiators. When air is trapped, it prevents the free flow of water in the system and thus degrades the performance of the central heating system. Bleeding is a simple process which will release this trapped air and keep the radiators working smoothly. Bleeding can be done at home with just the radiator key and no other special tools are required.

Randomly switch on the boiler during summer

We have seen many people who completely switch off their boilers during the summer months. If the boiler and the central heating system are not used for 4-5 months they are prone to show problems when switched on during winter. To prevent this we strongly recommend our clients to switch on the central heating system once in a while each day during summer. You can keep it on for 10 minutes a day to prevent any problems.

Add inhibitor

Corrosion is a chemical reaction which can happen inside the boiler or radiator that will cause severe damage. The inhibitor is a special chemical available in the market that will stop corrosion. One should exercise caution while adding the inhibitor and hence we would recommend taking the help of a professional for the same.

Install a magnetic filter

Inhibitor will stop corrosion whereas a magnetic filter prevents the free flow of sludge. Corrosion over time results in sludge formation which is carried by the water throughout the system. Sludge can block various places like pipes, radiators, etc. A magnetic filter is an external unit which will collect all the sludge and keep the water clean and sludge-free. This is a one-time investment and can be purchased at the time of buying your new boiler.

Powerflushing

Adding an inhibitor and a magnetic filter will certainly prevent sludge formation. If you haven’t added them or sludge has been already formed it is important to remove it from the system. This can be achieved by power flushing the radiators. You can hire a heating engineer to power flush the system once in 2 months which will remove the sludge.

Benefits of using a natural gas boiler

More than 80% of the UK households use a natural gas boiler. Though there are other energy sources available like propane, oil, electricity, etc., natural gas boiler is the most preferred choice in UK and Worldwide. There are numerous benefits of using a natural gas boiler and let us look at them in depth.

Energy efficient

It is a scientific fact that natural gas is the most energy efficient fuel. A boiler with natural gas will consume lesser energy compared electricity or oil boilers. The Fuel efficiency rating for the natural gas boiler is always 90% or more and that’s what makes it the most preferred boiler choice.

Cost-effective

Boilers running on natural gas are cost-effective in 2 ways namely the cost of the fuel and also the cost of maintenance. The cost of natural gas is relatively cheaper compared to oil or electricity. The cost of natural gas is more stable compared to oil pricing which highly volatile and it depends on the international crude price. The maintenance cost of the natural gas boiler is also relatively cheaper.

Convenience

Boilers which uses oil as the primary source of fuel requires an additional storage tank for keeping the oil. When it comes to a natural gas boiler there is no storage required. Natural gas is supplied via connected pipes and you don’t need to worry about the levels or safety. The process of feeding natural gas to a boiler is automated and there is zero manual help required. This level of convenience and user experience is not possible with oil boilers.

Availability

When there is a natural calamity or any sort of transport problem, then the supply of oil will be disrupted. Without the oil supply, the oil boiler will not work. Similarly, an electric boiler will not function if there is a power outage or shutdown. When your house connected with a piped gas supply you are guaranteed gas supply without disruption throughout the year. This ensures that the boiler will work without a problem at any time of the year irrespective of the weather.

Eco-friendly

Natural gas is the most eco-friendly source of fuel available right now. It does not emit huge amounts of greenhouse gases and keeps the environment safe. The level of emissions is much lower in a natural gas boiler compared to an oil boiler. This level of eco-friendliness coupled with high efficiency makes natural gas a winner.

Without a doubt, natural gas boilers have the highest number of benefits but at the same time, they do have some drawbacks. One of the biggest headwinds for a natural gas boiler is the installation. Installation is both complex and expensive and needs to be done with a Gas-Safe certified engineer. If the installation is not properly done then the boiler will not function smoothly. In addition to the installation cost, there is the huge threat posed by the natural gas boiler. A natural gas boiler might emit carbon monoxide when it is not working properly. Carbon monoxide is highly dangerous and might kill a person.