By JR | Blog
As temperatures start to creep downwards, many people will reach for the thermostat this Christmas in a bid to stay warm and ward off the risk of frozen pipes. But there are plenty of other ways to ensure your home stays snug and safe over the festive period. Here we share our top tips to help you stay warm, prevent plumbing problems and save on your heating bills this winter.
Keep it Closed
Drawing your curtains in the evenings is one of the easiest ways to keep the warm air in and the cold air out. Check there are no gaps in the curtains to ensure they are as effective as possible. Keeping internal doors closed and windows shut will also help to keep the heat in each room.
Clear the Radiators
Blocking the radiators with furniture and laundry means the heat goes into drying your clothes or the back of the sofa instead of warming your home. Make sure all radiators are free from items that could absorb heat that is meant for you. Also check that your radiators are heating to the top. If not, grab a radiator key and bleed each radiator to release air that has built up inside.
If you insulate your home correctly, rooms will warm up more quickly and stay warmer for longer. Everybody stays warm and you save on the heating bills. Insulating your loft is the number one place to start, as you lose around 25% of heat through your roof. If you have a hot water tank, insulating it will keep the water warm for longer.
Using timers and thermostats mean that you only heat the home when you need to. Many people believe that leaving the heating on a constant low temperature is more energy efficient. This is not so, as it means your house is being heated when no-one’s home and is not warm enough when they are.
Protect your Pipes
Keeping your home warm is the best way to prevent frozen and burst pipes. Fix dripping taps as they can be first to freeze when the temperature falls. And, just in case the worst does happen, make sure you know where to turn off the water supply. The internal stopcock is usually located under the kitchen sink, but is sometimes found elsewhere, such as in the hallway.
Going away for a few days can mean your home is at much greater risk of frozen or burst pipes if the temperature dips. Follow our tip above to ensure your pipes are protected. While you’re away, you can leave the heating on a low setting or set the timer. If you’re away for a longer period, it may be a good idea to shut off and drain the water system. Your pipes can’t freeze if there’s no water in them!
Have the boiler and central heating system serviced at least once a year by a qualified and registered Gas Safe engineer, such as our engineers. Look out for black marks or stains on or around your appliances. This can be a sign something isn’t working properly. Always investigate if you spot a yellow flame in your boiler instead of the usual blue one. Fitting an audible carbon monoxide alarm will give you extra reassurance that everyone is sleeping safe and soundly at night.
If you would like help to ensure your heating system is working properly, our team of heating and plumbing engineers are available throughout the Christmas period. Call 020 8462 8822 to arrange a call out.
By i-promote | Blog
We know that things can sometimes go wrong when you least expect or need it, so over this holiday period we will be open and available (that includes the telephones) on the days given below.
Just a couple of things to note:
1. Although we are open, quite a lot of staff are taking holidays so we will be working with reduced numbers.
2. All days except the Public Holidays will have the normal emergency engineer out of normal working hours cover.
3. Days marked with an asterisk (*) may have slightly earlier closing times than normal.
Day / Date
|Thursday 20th December||Open||Open||Open|
|Friday 21st December||Open *||Open *||Open *|
|Saturday 22nd December||Open AM||Closed||Closed|
|Sunday 23rd December||Closed||Closed||Closed|
|Monday 24th December||Open *||Open *||Open *|
|Tuesday 25th December||Public Holiday||Public Holiday||Public Holiday|
|Wednesday 26th December||Public Holiday||Public Holiday||Public Holiday|
|Thursday 27th December||Open *||Open *||Open *|
|Friday 28th December||Open *||Open *||Open *|
|Saturday 29th December||Open AM||Closed||Closed|
|Sunday 30th December||Closed||Closed||Closed|
|Monday 31st December||Open *||Open *||Open *|
|Tuesday 1st January||Public Holiday||Public Holiday||Public Holiday|
|Wednesday 2nd January||Open||Open||Open|
* Opening & closing times may vary.
By i-promote | Blog
Recently, changes to the Housing (Scotland) Act have been announced in response to the Grenfell Tower blaze.
The new standard requires smoke alarms, heat alarms and carbon monoxide alarms to be installed.
The changes have the full support of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Services (SFRS) who have commented –
These new standards, for Scotland only, are being extended from new-build and private rented properties to cover ALL homes in Scotland.
What is changing?
The Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 will be updated to reflect the following new requirements:
- at least one smoke alarm installed in the room most frequently used for general daytime living purposes,
- at least one smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey, such as hallways and landings,
- at least one heat alarm installed in every kitchen,
- all alarms should have a minimum 10-year lifespan,
- all alarms should be ceiling mounted, and
- all alarms should be interlinked.
This is a massive change affecting thousands of homes, so the question many in the industry are asking is, why just Scotland?
We have been advising all of our customers to have both smoke and carbon monoxide alarms fitted in their properties (private and rental) for years and supply a range of products and options so this comes as no surprise to us.
However, this updated list is not a requirement in England, yet, even for rental properties but with the pressure being put on the Government by the various parties this rule may extend to the rest of the UK in the future.
Want more information?
If you would like to know more about smoke, heat or carbon monoxide alarm options or an idea of fitting costs, please contact us using the form below or by calling the number at the top of the page.
Contact us now for more information:
By PaulS | Blog
Carbon Monoxide has been in the news recently as “the silent killer” but what exactly is it and what can you do for you and your family?
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, poisonous gas produced when burning fossil fuels such as gas, oil, wood and coal.
Normally most of the CO is burnt off but if the fuel does not burn properly excess CO is produced.
CO has no smell or taste and cannot be seen but it is poisonous. When it enters the body (through breathing it in), it prevents your blood from getting oxygen to your cells tissues and organs.
Harm to Health
Even if you are exposed to low levels of CO that do not kill, it can still cause serious harm to health, when breathed in over a long period of time.
Long-term effects of exposure to carbon monoxide include paralysis and brain damage. Even short-term inhalation can cause:
- loss of consciousness
Carbon monoxide symptoms are very similar to flu, food poisoning, viral infections and simply tiredness, which is why it is common for many people to mistake CO poisoning for something else.
How can I protect myself and my family?
1 . Making sure that your fossil fuel burning appliances (and flues) are regularly checked by competent engineers.
– Your heating boiler, no matter whether it burns gas, oil, wood or coal
– Any stoves or additional fires or heating appliances that burn fossil fuels
– That your chimney is clear and regularly swept.
2 . And secondly that you have a CO alarm fitted near the appliance and/or flue.
In Northern Ireland fitting a CO alarm is mandatory. In England and Wales, the 2010 Building Regulations Part J states carbon monoxide alarms need only be fitted in the same room as new or replacement solid-fuel heating appliances.
What is a CO Alarm?
A CO alarm is similar to a smoke alarm except that it alerts you to the presence of carbon monoxide (a smoke alarm will alert you to smoke and NOT carbon monoxide).
They are small battery operated units, normally with a guarantee of 5 years, which are mounted or sit near a gas appliance.
Unlike the cheaper “black spot” cards, they sound an alarm when they detect carbon monoxide and only need to be periodically checked to make sure the battery is still operating, just like a smoke alarm.
However, a carbon monoxide alarm is no substitute for correct installation and servicing of your gas appliances. So always make sure you get your gas appliances checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer every year.
What alarm should I fit?
Gas Safe Register recommends the use of audible carbon monoxide alarms. It should be marked to EN 50291 and also have the British Standards’ Kitemark or another European approval organisation’s mark on it.
We supply and fit the leading brands such as Honeywell or Fire Angel which are both rated at and above the relevant standards.
Where should the CO alarm be fitted?
The recommendation is to fit an alarm in each room with a gas appliance.
Always follow the alarm manufacturer’s instructions on siting, testing and replacing the alarm.
It is important to choose an alarm that will wake you up if you’re asleep, or you may not be aware of early CO symptoms until it is too late.
Is there anything I can do now to check for potential problems?
There are signs that you can look out for which indicate incomplete combustion is occurring and may result in the production of CO:
- yellow or orange rather than blue flames (except fuel effect fires or flueless appliances which display this colour flame)
- soot or yellow/brown staining around or on appliances
- pilot lights that frequently blow out
- increased condensation inside windows.
Other signs that could point to carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Your symptoms only occur when you are at home
- Your symptoms disappear or get better when you leave home and come back when you return
- Others in your household are experiencing symptoms (including your pets) and they appear at a similar time.
What should I do if I experience any symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?
Get fresh air immediately. Open doors and windows, turn off gas appliances and leave the house.
See your doctor immediately or go to hospital – let them know that you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning. They can do a blood or breath test to check.
If you think there is an immediate danger, call the Gas Emergency Helpline on 0800 111 999.
Get a Gas Safe registered engineer to inspect your gas appliances and flues to see if there is a dangerous problem.
Don’t assume your gas appliances are safe
Remember, get them checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer and have a carbon monoxide alarm installed.
If you would like one of our Gas Safe registered engineers to check your boiler or you would like a carbon monoxide alarm fitted, please contact us on 020 8462 8822 or click here to request a callback.
By PaulS | Blog
The Surestop – turning off your water as easily as turning off your lights….
Burst pipes, leaks and easy access for a poorly situated stopcock are all problems that can cause at the least, inconvenience and at worst water damage and a large bill. In fact, in December 2010 there were over 100,000 insurance claims in the UK for burst pipes and water leaks with an average cost of £6700.00.
In most properties, the stopcock is either hidden away at the back of a cupboard or hidden behind furniture and in some cases, the homeowner may not even know where it is. This can be a problem when you want to turn off the mains but a catastrophe if there is a burst pipe or leak with water cascading down the walls.
With Surestop turning off the mains water supply can now be done with a flick of a switch. With a range of British designed and manufactured switches, both on-pipe and remote, that use nothing more than water pressure to isolate the incoming mains water supply (so no batteries or electricity) there is a Surestop to suit every need.
Benefits for the consumer:
- Easy access in the case of an emergency.
- Easy operation, just a simple switch, and no more weeping stopcock spindles and stuck valves.
- Peace of mind when leaving their property (home, caravan, boat, business etc).
- No more struggling to turn off a difficult or stiff stopcock.
- Unaffected by limescale.
- Can be fitted on the pipe itself or remotely on an adjacent wall or surface.
And here are just a few facts which show the potential for damage:
- Every year 1 in 8 homes in the UK is likely to suffer a burst pipe or water leak.*
- 1 in 3 people in the UK do not know where their stopcock is located.**
- Burst pipes and water leaks now cost the UK insurance industry more than claims for burglary or fire***
- Some insurers are raising excess levels for water damage to £250 and more.****
Surestop stopcocks are a low-cost solution to the many problems associated with traditional brass stopcocks and a perfect addition to any job of any size that will benefit both the customer and engineer.
* Research undertaken by Halifax Home Insurance.
** Research undertaken by AA Insurance Services.
*** Industry statistics provided by the Association of British Insurers.
**** Figures provided by The British Insurance Brokers’ Association.