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August

Meet the team: Jay Reeve

By JR | Blog

Each month, we’re interviewing a different member of our team. This month we spoke to Gas Engineer Jay Reeve.

Jay Reeve - Stevenson Heating gas engineer

 

How long have you worked for Stevenson’s, Jay?

I’ve been with Stevenson Heating for over 10 years, working as a gas engineer.

 

What’s involved in your role?

Generally, as a gas engineer, I carry out gas boiler installations, servicing and repairs for our domestic heating customers.

I’ve also been involved with commercial work, as well as electrical and warm air heating jobs. Like all of our gas installers, I’m Gas Safe registered.

 

What did you do before working at Stevenson’s?

I worked in an office initially, doing admin work. I soon realised that it wasn’t really for me and I wanted to do something more hands-on.

My dad used to work for Stevenson’s – he was with you for over 30 years! So, it was him who gave me the idea of becoming a gas engineer and introduced me to the team here.

 

What do you like about your role?

I like working with my hands and doing a practical, hands-on job that makes a difference to people’s lives. We’ve got some lovely customers and it’s always good to meet them and help them out.

 

What do you like about working for Stevenson Heating?

The variety – no two days are the same! And I like interacting with our lovely customers.

 

Do you have a favourite film?

I like the film Grease! I’d never seen it until a few years ago when my wife introduced me to it – and now I’ve seen it a lot!

 

And finally, do you prefer tea or coffee?

Neither actually! I tend to stick to water, especially when I’m out in the van.

Did you enjoy reading about Jay Reeve? If you’d like to read more about our other staff, click here.

17

July

How to keep cool at home in the summer heat

By JR | Blog

With the current heatwave and many homes without air conditioning, we thought we’d share with you some tips on how to keep cool at home.

 

Close your curtains and blinds

Did you know that a high percentage (around 25%) of unwanted heat can come from your windows? They act a bit like a greenhouse!

So, if the sun normally streams in through your windows, keep your curtains or blinds closed.

And, while it’s a good idea to open your windows, you might want to keep them closed when the sun is directly on them. When it’s hotter outside than inside, closing your windows will stop hotter air coming in.

Open your windows again when the air outside is cooler – at night and early morning is usually best. This will help to get cooler air flowing and will help create a breeze to cool things down.

 

Drink more water to stay hydrated

When it’s hot, your body naturally perspires more. This can make you dehydrated, so be sure to drink plenty of cold water throughout the day. If you think water is boring, you can add squash, slices of fruit or herbs to give it some flavour.

Avoid tea, coffee, other caffeinated drinks and alcohol as far as possible, as these will also dehydrate you.

 

Cool your body temperature

One of the easiest ways to keep cool is to reduce your body temperature. Do this by drinking cold water (see above) or by cooling your pulse points.

Placing an ice pack or cold compress on the pulse points at the back of your neck, behind your knees or on your wrists will help to cool you down.

If you don’t have any ready-made ice packs, make your own from a cold wet towel or some ice or frozen vegetables in a plastic bag, wrapped in a thin cloth or tea towel to protect your skin.

 

Use a fan to create a cross breeze

If you place a fan right next to you, it’s likely to be noisy and blow stuff around! Instead, place your fan near a window or in a hallway. This will create a cross breeze to draw in cooler air to the warmer areas.

A tower fan is a good option, as these sit on the floor to blow air more effectively around your room.

Remember, a fan simply moves air around rather than actually cooling it. So a good tip to create some cool air is to freeze a bottle of water and place it at an angle in front of your fan. You could also use a bowl with ice or iced-water for a similar result.

 

Get domestic air conditioning installed

Have you considered having air conditioning installed in your home? Air conditioning units are no longer simply for offices, shops, hotels and other commercial settings.

These days domestic air conditioning units are quite slimline and compact, so they don’t take up a lot of space or look unsightly.

They don’t take too long to fit – around a day, depending on your property and how many rooms you want air conditioning installed in. And, they have the added benefit of being able to produce warm air for you in cooler months.

At Stevenson Heating, we are accredited to install and maintain domestic air conditioning. We also have a range of fans for sale, including desk and tower fans.

Contact us on 020 8462 8822, email info@stevensonheating.co.uk or request a callback to find out more or get a quote for having air conditioning installed in your home.

 

First published July 2020, updated July 2022.

18

June

Changes to Part L of the Building Regulations

By JR | Blog

Part L changes – what they mean

Since 15 June this year, changes to Part L of the Building Regulations mean we now have to carry out extra checks when installing, repairing or servicing your heating system.

Here’s an outline of the changes and what they mean for you, so you know why we’ll be talking to you more about filters, power flushes and water treatments.

PHAM News water image - Part L ChangesImage courtesy of PHAM News

 

What are the main Part L changes that affect heating?

Essentially, the changes are all about conserving fuel and power. And they’re aimed at keeping your central heating system working to optimum efficiency.

As your heating installer, we have already been doing most of what Part L needs us to do. But here are the main changes to look out for.

Cleaning your heating system

When installing a new boiler, including swapping your boiler for a new one, we must clean out your heating system. This usually means a power flush. At Stevenson’s, we already do this with every installation.

Adding in-line filters to your system

Part L now requires that we install a permanent in-line filter in your heating system. Again, we already fit these with every installation. And we strongly recommend one in all other cases.

Servicing in-line filters

So, now you’ll have permanent in-line filters as part of your heating system, naturally they’ll need servicing to keep them in tip-top condition. Again, we always service the filters, as part of your annual boiler service.

Protecting low temperature systems against corrosion

Another requirment of Part L is protecting your system against corrosion, scale and microbial fouling in low temperature systems.

We can protect your system with a number of different water treatment solutions and scale reducers. We can advise what suits your system best and will install the appropriate one for you.

Checking inhibitor levels each year

An inhibitor is a chemical solution that helps to stop rust and internal corrosion in your heating system. Rust and corrision affect how efficiently your heating works, so we want to prevent it!

As well as checking inhibitor levels annually, Part L now requires new inhibitor or laboratory analysis of the water every five years. We now include this as a compulsory part of your boiler service each year.

So, you can see there are a number of new requirements under Part L – but we have been doing most of them for some time. Essentially, the changes are to help your heating system work more efficiently and safely, so that’s always a good thing.

If you’ve any questions about Part L changes or what this means for you, drop us a line at info@stevensonheating.co.uk or request a callback.

20

May

Meet the team: Jay Holt

By JR | Blog

Each month, we’re interviewing a different member of our team. This month we spoke to our Senior Gas Fitter and Installer, Jay Holt.

Jay Holt - Stevenson Heating Senior Gas Fitter and Installer

 

How long have you worked for Stevenson’s, Jay?

I first started with Stevenson’s over 30 years ago. I started out here after college and did my gas installer apprenticeship. Then I left to do something different, during which time I was tinting car windows.

By chance, Stevenson’s founder Peter came in one day to have his car tinted and we got talking. So, I decided to come back and have been here ever since!

 

What’s involved in your role?

Each day is different because every heating installation is different. That’s what I like about my job; it’s very varied. It’s challenging but mostly in a good way! I get to problem-solve every day; it’s part and parcel of the job.

You’re usually working on installations that someone else has fitted, often some time ago. Each property and where they have their boiler and pipework is different. So there can be problems that crop up or things to work out, such as the best place to site a boiler or how to deal with some tricky pipework. I really enjoy working things like that out.

 

What training have you had?

Aside from my stint as a car window tinter, I’ve always been a gas installer. I finished my O-levels at college and then did a gas apprenticeship while I was at Stevenson’s to qualify as a gas fitter.

Back in the day it was CORGI but now, of course, it’s Gas Safe. I keep up-to-date with the latest regulations and go back to college every five years or so, when legislative changes mean we need to update our qualifications too.

 

Tell us something we don’t know about you

I really like keeping fish. I’d love some saltwater fish, but they require a lot of work and the water has to be changed frequently. So, I have tropical fish instead, as they’re easier to look after. In fact my son and I have just bought a big fish tank to go in the living room!

 

Do you have a favourite film?

I’m a James Bond fan, especially of Daniel Craig’s films. I’ve been lucky enough to see the new Bond film, No Time to Die, recently and would highly recommend it, if you haven’t seen it already.

 

And finally, do you prefer tea or coffee?

For me, it’s always coffee. I prefer it strong and black and usually have several cups a day!

Did you enjoy reading about Jay Holt? If you’d like to read more about our other staff, click here.

28

April

Boilers of the Future

By JR | Blog

With energy prices skyrocketing and energy efficiency a hot topic, you may wonder what this will mean for your gas central heating system.

Don’t worry, we’ve done the hard work for you. Here’s a short guide on what the boilers of the future might look like.

Boilers of the future

 

Firstly, gas boilers are not being banned!

You might have heard that gas boilers are being banned from 2025. But we’re pleased to say that this is not the case. You won’t be able to install a gas boiler in a new build property from 2025. But that does not apply to existing homes or boilers.

The ruling also only applies to homes built from 2025 onwards. So, even if you live in a newly built home now, it won’t apply to you. And, if you live in an older property, there’s no need to get rid of your existing boiler until it needs replacing.

However, if it’s older than 10 years, your boiler is likely to be less energy efficient anyway. In that case, it would be worth considering a replacement to a more energy efficient model.

 

Government drive to reduce carbon emissions

The main reason that gas boilers won’t be installed in new homes is because of the government’s targets on reducing carbon emissions. Their Future Homes and Buildings Standard wants all new homes built from 2025 to produce 75-80% fewer carbon emissions than they currently do.

Achieving this target is unlikely with natural gas boilers. So, the government is telling home builders and developers that new build properties will need to have alternative fuel sources to natural gas.

 

Boilers of the future: alternatives to gas central heating

There are lots of renewable heating technologies already available and more are being developed. These include heat pumps, hybrid systems, electric systems and hydrogen boilers. New builds after 2025 will have to use one of these alternative sources.

The most likely replacement for natural gas boilers is hydrogen boilers. This is because, unlike natural gas, which is a fossil fuel and finite resource, hydrogen fuel is manufactured. It also doesn’t give off carbon dioxide – its only by-product is water, making it a more environmentally friendly option.

 

Will I need to switch to an alternative fuel source eventually?

While nothing is currently set in stone, it’s likely that all homes will eventually need to replace their natural gas heating. But this is 20-30 years away, by which time the technology will be in place. Your existing boiler will have been replaced probably a couple of times over by then!

What’s likely to happen is that a blend of hydrogen and natural gas will be introduced. In fact, this is already being tested in some parts of the UK. The initial ‘blend’ is likely to be 20% hydrogen and 80% natural gas, with the amount of hydrogen increasing over time.

100% hydrogen boilers will likely be on the market by around 2030, with a full switch probable around 2050. So, as you can see, it’s not overnight!

Given the average life of a gas boiler today is 10-15 years, your current boiler will have been replaced by at least one hydrogen ready boiler by the time natural gas is switched off.

 

Is an electric boiler a good alternative?

While an electric boiler is an option, it’s not one we recommend right now. The technology is still in its infancy and electric boilers are more expensive to run – up to 4 times more costly!

You can’t just replace a gas boiler like-for-like with an electric boiler either. Much more work is needed, which would make the installation costs higher as well. This may change in future, of course, but right now we don’t advise considering an electric boiler.

 

How can I become more energy efficient with my heating now?

If you are trying to be greener with your heating, the easiest thing to do is look at your energy usage and minimise it where you can.

You could also have a smart heating control installed, which you operate from your smartphone, and which helps you to minimise energy usage.

If your boiler is an older model, consider replacing it with a new A-rated condensing boiler. These maximise efficiency, which help you reduce your heating bills and your carbon footprint.

You can also read our energy saving tips to help you with your energy efficiency. 

We have created a downloadable leaflet with all this information in. Download your copy here and share it with family and friends. Or ask us for a printed copy.

If you would like more information on future boiler technology, to upgrade your existing boiler to an energy efficient A-rated one, or to have a smart control installed for your heating, contact us on 020 8462 8822, request a callback or email info@stevensonheating.co.uk.

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