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. 

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 or email info@stevensonheating.co.uk.

28

April

Energy saving tips

By JR | Blog

With energy prices now at an all-time high, you may well be wondering how you can save energy and cut your bills at home.

Our energy saving tips will help you use your heating, plumbing and electrics more efficiently, which should help to keep your bills down.

Energy saving tips - worried younger couple

Energy saving tips for your heating

1. Turn the thermostat down a degree or two – turning your room thermostat down a degree or two will help you save energy while also keeping your home at a steady temperature. You probably won’t notice the difference and it could save you around £80 a year.

2. Only have your heating on when you need it – if you’re out during the day or the evening, don’t be tempted to keep your heating on low, as this isn’t actually very efficient. It’s better to turn the heating on only when you need it.

3. Only heat the rooms you’re using – if you’re not using your spare bedroom or other rooms for any period, turn the radiator valves down, so you’re not wasting energy by heating the rooms you’re not in.

4. Use a timer or smart control – if you have a heating timer or a smart control, you can set your heating to come on just before you get home, so it’s warm by the time you’re there.

5. Don’t block radiators or vents – while it might be tempting to put your sofa in front of the radiator, it won’t help to keep the rest of the room warm. Keep your radiators or heating vents clear to allow the heat to radiate around the room.

6. Don’t dry your wet laundry on the radiator – that will simply dry the clothes and create steam, which can cause other problems like damp or mould. If you can’t dry laundry outside, a heated airer is more efficient and inexpensive. A tumble dryer uses a lot of energy, so use it sparingly when you want to save money.

7. Keep your internal doors closed – this is an easy way to ensure the heat stays in the room you’re in. Close doors in rooms you don’t want to heat. This stops cooler air mixing and cooling the overall temperature down.

8. Close your windows – don’t let heat escape through an open window! While you might want to ventilate a room, try to do that at a different time of day. When you’re not using the room or needing it to be warm is ideal.

9. Draw curtains and blinds – curtains and blinds are especially helpful for keeping the heat in (or out in the summer!). Draw them as soon as light starts to fade, to keep the room warm and prevent drafts.

10. Bleed your radiators – your boiler will need to work harder if trapped air or sludge gets in the radiators. This makes your energy bills more expensive as well as not heating your room! Regular radiator bleeding helps to keep your heating system clear. It prevents damage as well as reducing your energy bills.

11. Turn down the temperature on your boiler – did you know you can turn down the temperature your hot water is heated to? Turning your hot water down a degree or two will help cut your fuel bills. And you won’t really notice the difference in your bath or shower. Simply adjust your boiler controls to alter the temperature. The water temperature will normally be set at 65 degrees, but you can turn it down to 60 degrees.

12. Add thermostats to every radiator – with a thermostatic radiator valve on each radiator, you can personalise the temperature in every room. Keep the thermostats turned up in rooms you use more frequently but turn them down in rooms you don’t.

13. Get a smart control – these help you monitor your energy usage and mean you can control your heating from your phone. Ideal if you don’t come home at the same time every day or are out at different times. Over time, they can also detect patterns in your usage. They will advise on ways you can cut down or adapt your energy usage.

14. Keep your boiler maintained – of course, keeping your boiler in tip-top condition is the best way to make sure you have energy efficient heating for your home when you need it. Be sure to contact us to get your annual heating service booked in.

 

Energy saving tips for your electricity

1. Switch off appliances you’re not using – it can be easy to leave some appliances such as cooking appliances, televisions and games consoles on when you aren’t using them. This applies to laptops and computers too. Turn them all off at the wall to save energy.

2. Don’t leave things on standby – you might think your TV is turned off, but if the switch on the wall is still turned on, your set is on standby and still using some electricity!

3. Don’t leave USB cables plugged in – do you have USB sockets directly in your wall? If so, don’t leave the cables plugged in as this uses electricity. If you charge devices via a USB attached to a plug, make sure you turn that off when not using it.

4. Switch off lights when you’re not using them – leaving them on for the next person or because you will go back in the room later is probably costing more than you think. Remember to switch them off when you leave the room. Replace your bulbs with LED bulbs too, as these are more energy efficient.

5. Reduce washing machine usage – if you can do one less wash a week, ensure your machine is full with each load. Use an eco-setting if you have one. And turn the temperature down to 30 degrees (most detergents cope with this, except for heavily stained items). BUT do occasionally do a hot wash to get rid of bacteria and prevent odours from building up.

6. Dry clothes outside or on an airer – drying your clothes outside when the sun is out means you won’t have to pay to dry them. Likewise a heated airer will provide you with a more efficient way of drying them in the colder months. It may be tempting to put clothes on or in front of your radiators to dry. But blocking the radiator will result in the rest of the room being cold (see above).

7. Only boil as much water as you need – we have all filled the kettle or saucepan up with more water than we need just to make sure we have enough. But boiling too much means you’ll use more electricity as well as waste water.

8. Use the microwave for heating / reheating food – it’s more energy efficient than the oven. A slow cooker is also a very energy efficient cooking appliance.

 

 

Energy saving tips for your water

1. Don’t leave the taps running – when cleaning your teeth or washing up, remember to turn the taps off when you aren’t using the water. The same can be said for the shower or bath taps as well.

2. Only use your dishwasher when it’s full – by only using your dishwasher when it’s full, you will cut down on the number of cycles it does a week, helping you to save water.

3. Use eco-mode on your appliances – if your dishwasher or washing machine have eco-mode settings, use these to help save on water and energy.

4. Shower rather than bath – showering uses less water than having a bath, and keep showers shorter, where possible to maximise your Try turning the pressure down on your showers too, another easy way to save water.

5. Fix dripping taps and leaks – not only is a dripping tap frustrating, it also wastes a lot of water. The same can be said for a leak. It can cause damage to your home over time as well as costing you more in bills.

 

And finally…

Why not consider one of our heating service plans? Our service plans will help you maintain your heating system in good order. They’ll also help spread the cost of your annual service and any repairs.

We offer three levels of cover to suit your needs:

Basic Plan – ideal if your boiler is still under warranty

Standard Plan – covers for your annual service and labour costs

Advanced Plan – includes your annual service, labour and parts.

We can also assist you in specific add-ons for your household electrics and gas fires, as well as landlord options. See our Service Plans page to find out more.

Do you have any of your own energy saving tips that you’d like to share with us?

Contact us on info@stevensonheating.co.uk or request a callback to find out more or get a quote for improving the energy efficiency of your heating in your home.

24

June

Summer Price Freeze: Buy Now to Save Later

By JR | Blog

Benefit now from our Price Freeze

We’re freezing our current prices until the end of August!

This gives you a great opportunity to get some work done around your home over the summer months.

Stevenson Heating Summer Price Freeze 2021

Why are prices increasing?

Prices are going up everywhere you look right now – partly due to Covid and partly due to Brexit. There is, of course, a knock-on effect on supply chains. This includes for many of our suppliers in the heating, plumbing and electrical industries.

But the good news is, we’re not passing on these increases to you right now. We want to give you chance to get some work done around your home before we have to put our prices up.

 

What’s included in the price freeze?

Have you thought about getting your boiler serviced while you’re not using it over the summer? Or how about upgrading your radiators, taps or shower fittings? The summer months are the best time to get some of these things done.

 

Our summer price freeze includes:

Boiler service – did you know that summer is the best time for your annual service when you’re not relying on your heating?

New radiators – upgrading to more efficient radiators can save you energy and money on your heating bills.

New taps & fittings – replace old, tired or leaking taps, shower or bath fittings to give them a new lease of life.

Boiling water taps – would you like instant access to hot water without boiling a kettle?

Water softeners – reduce the effects of ‘hard water’ limescale in your home with a Limetron fitted to your mains or a water softener under the sink.

Home security – have you considered a video doorbell and security cameras at home? We can install them for you, so you can keep an eye on your property, your pets and your loved ones at the touch of a button.

To qualify for the summer price freeze, book your heating, plumbing or electrical job with us by 31 August 2021*.

Call 020 8462 8822, request a callback or email info@stevensonheating.co.uk for a quote using ref: SUMMER2021.

*Term & Conditions apply – ask us for details.

25

March

Landlord Electrical Safety Certificates

By JR | Blog

New Landlord Electrical Safety Standards

Are you a landlord renting out your house or flat in the private sector? If so, the new electrical safety regulations require regular checks on your property. Here’s what this means for you.

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) require compulsory 5-year electrical safety checks on privately rented properties. This is in addition to the Gas Safety Regulations already in place for rented properties.

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 applied to new tenancies from July 2020 and from 1 April 2021  they apply to existing tenancies too.

electrical safety standards private rented sector

 

Landlord Responsibilities under the new Electrical Safety Standards

As a landlord, it is your responsibility to supply safe electrical installations for your tenants. You will also need to arrange for regular testing by a qualified electrician:

New tenancies – came into force 1 July 2020:

– Before each new tenancy begins, and at every change in tenancy

And then at least every five years throughout the duration of the tenancy

– More regularly than every five years if the safety report requires it.

Existing tenancies – from 1 April 2021:

First inspection to be carried out before 1 April 2021

And at least every five years throughout the duration of the tenancy

– More regularly than every five years if the safety report requires it.

 

Electrical safety reports

Your electrician will provide you with a written report after the inspection. This will include the results and any remedial action you need to take to repair/improve your installations.

You must keep a copy of the report and give your tenants a copy within 28 days of the inspection.

What happens if there are electrical faults or I fail the inspection?

If your electrical safety report identifies a fault or potential fault, you must ensure it is rectified within 28 days or less, depending on what the report says.

Once the problems are sorted, you will get written confirmation that the installation is now to standard or that further work is required. And again, you need to send this confirmation to your tenants within 28 days.

A qualified, registered electrician, such as those approved by the NICEIC, must carry out the remedial works. All of Stevenson Heating’s electricians are suitably qualified to carry out the inspections and remedial work.

Why do I have to do this?

If you don’t comply with the new electrical safety standards, your Local Authority will have a duty to act. Depending on the nature of the breach, this could be in the form of a ‘remedial notice’, enforced remedial works and even fines of up to £30,000 and cost recovery measures.

As such, ignoring the new legislation really could cost you greatly!

 

How Stevenson Heating can help

Here at Stevenson Heating, we can carry out the required electrical inspection and provide you with all of the necessary electrical safety certification. We can also carry out any remedial work, if needed.

We are NICEIC registered and can make sure your property checks are conducted in accordance with the new legislation when it is passed.

If you also provide gas appliances for your tenants, we can carry out your gas safety inspections too.

Choose us for both electrical and gas safety checks at the same time and we will give you a 10% discount.

To book your safety checks in preparation for July contact us on 020 8462 8822 or request a call back.

1

June

Normal service returns after lockdown

By JR | Blog

Heating, plumbing and electrical services resume – with social distancing measures

As lockdown measures are easing, we are delighted to provide our normal heating, plumbing and electrical services again. But rest assured, we have social distancing measures in place. These are to protect you, whether we are visiting you or you are coming to our shop.

 

Boiler and heating servicing

If your annual heating service was due during March, April or May, we will be in contact to reschedule it for you, if we haven’t already done so. If your service is due soon, we’ll also be in touch – or feel free to contact us.

However, if you are shielding or have coronavirus symptoms, we can re-schedule to a more convenient time for you.

It’s important to have your annual boiler service to ensure your warranty stays valid. But don’t worry, the boiler manufacturers we work with are allowing 3-6 months’ leeway, so we can carry out your service and maintain your warranty.

 

What to expect when our engineers visit
 

Now that we can provide our normal services again, here’s what to expect when our engineers visit you to carry out a heating service or other work in your home:

✅ Our engineers will wear face masks
✅ They will maintain social distancing with you as far as possible
✅ They’ll frequently wash their hands or use hand gel
✅ They will also wipe down any surfaces they touch
✅ We are monitoring their health daily

In return, we will ask you to:

✅ Go into a different room while work is carried out, if possible
✅ Let our engineers know if you feel unwell while they are with you

Thank you for your patience and understanding. These measures are to protect you and our staff while we carry out work for you.

 

Spares and repairs shop open

Our shop in Glebe Way, West Wickham (just off the high street) has remained open for emergency spares during the lockdown. We are now open fully for all types of spares for your DIY plumbing needs. To maintain safety, we are allowing one person in the shop at a time and will ask you to wait at a safe social distance outside, if there is a queue.

Do give us a call on 020 8462 8822 or request a callback if you’ve any questions about our services and the safety measures we’ve put in place.

18

February

New Landlord Electrical Safety Regulations

By JR | Blog

Proposed Landlord Electrical Safety Standards

Are you a landlord renting out your house or flat in the private sector? If so, proposed new electrical safety regulations will require regular checks on your property from July 2020. Here’s what this might mean for you.

 

landlords rented housing

In January 2020, the Government proposed detailed regulations for compulsory 5-year electrical safety checks in the private rented sector. These will operate alongside the current Gas Safety Regulations already in place for rented properties.

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 still need to be approved (at the time of writing) by the House of Commons and the House of Lords before they take effect. But this is likely just a formality. When approved, the regulations will apply to new tenancies from July 2020 and from April 2021 for existing tenancies.

electrical safety standards private rented sector

 

Landlord Responsibilities under the new Electrical Safety Standards

As a landlord, it will be your responsibility to supply safe electrical installations for your tenants. You will also need to arrange for regular testing by a qualified electrician:

New tenancies – from 1 July 2020:

– Before each new tenancy begins, and at every change in tenancy

And then at least every five years throughout the duration of the tenancy

– More regularly than every five years if the safety report requires it.

Existing tenancies – from 1 April 2021:

First inspection to be carried out before 1 April 2021

And at least every five years throughout the duration of the tenancy

– More regularly than every five years if the safety report requires it.

 

Electrical safety reports

Your electrician will provide you with a written report after the inspection. This will include the results and any remedial action you need to take to repair/improve your installations.

You must keep a copy of the report and give your tenants a copy within 28 days of the inspection.

What happens if there are electrical faults or I fail the inspection?

If your electrical safety report identifies a fault or potential fault, you must ensure it is rectified within 28 days or less, depending on what the report says.

Once the problems are sorted, you will get written confirmation that the installation is now to standard or that further work is required. And again, you need to send this confirmation to your tenants within 28 days.

A qualified, registered electrician, such as those approved by the NICEIC, must carry out the remedial works. All of Stevenson Heating’s electricians are suitably qualified to carry out the inspections and remedial work.

Why do I have to do this?

If you don’t comply with the new electrical safety standards, your Local Authority will have a duty to act. Depending on the nature of the breach, this could be in the form of a ‘remedial notice’, enforced remedial works and even fines of up to £30,000 and cost recovery measures.

As such, ignoring the new legislation really could cost you greatly!

 

How Stevenson Heating can help

Here at Stevenson Heating, we can carry out the required electrical inspection and provide you with all of the necessary electrical safety certification. We can also carry out any remedial work, if needed.

We are NICEIC registered and can make sure your property checks are conducted in accordance with the new legislation when it is passed.

If you also provide gas appliances for your tenants, we can carry out your gas safety inspections too.

Choose us for both electrical and gas safety checks at the same time and we will give you a 10% discount.

To book your safety checks in preparation for July contact us on 020 8462 8822 or request a call back.