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.
Image 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.
By JR | Blog
With the winter months ahead, rising energy costs and many of us starting to work from home again, you might be worried your heating bills will go up. But there are ways to maximise your heating, keep warm and keep energy costs down. Read on for our top tips.
1. Keep your heating at a steady temperature
Adjust your thermostat down by one or two degrees to keep the temperature regulated. This is more efficient for keeping you warm and could reduced your energy bills by around £80 a year.
If you are out at any point, use the thermostat and timer to heat your home when it’s needed. Don’t keep it constantly very low, as this is not actually very efficient.
2. 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.
The thermostats adjust the flow of water to your radiators, according to the temperature in the room. So, they ensure you’re not using more water or heat than needed.
3. Close internal doors
Keep heat in the rooms you want to stay warm by shutting the door. Similarly, close doors in rooms you don’t want to heat, to stop cooler air mixing and cooling the overall temperature down.
4. Use curtains and blinds
If you have curtains or blinds, use them. Curtains are especially helpful for keeping the heat in (or out in the summer!). As it’s getting darker much earlier, draw the curtains as soon as light starts to fade, to keep the room warm and prevent drafts.
5. Bleed your radiators
If you bleed your radiators regularly, it will help prevent cold spots developing. Your boiler will need to work harder if trapped air or sludge gets in the radiators, producing the cold spots. This makes your energy bills more expensive as well as not heating your room!
Regular radiator bleeding helps to keep your heating system clear, preventing damage as well as reducing your energy bills.
6. Keep vents and radiators clear
Don’t block your radiators or heating vents with furniture or laundry. The heat will go to them instead of your room! Move furniture away from radiators to allow the warm air to circulate and dry your wet laundry elsewhere.
If you don’t have a tumble dryer, a heated airer is efficient and inexpensive to run. This also prevents damp and mould building up, which can cause you other problems in your home.
7. Claim working-from-home tax relief
If you’re having to work from home because of Covid-19 or other reasons, you may be able to get £6 a week tax relief, which can help towards your energy bills. See the Government’s website for info on eligibility and how to claim.
8. 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.
Why not consider one of our heating service plans? Our service plans will help you maintain your heating system and 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.
At Stevenson Heating, we are Gas Safe Registered heating installers. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or request a callback to find out more or get a quote for improving your heating in your home.
By JR | Blog
Save Money With Our Eco Deal This Spring
We’ve just launched our Eco Deal spring offer to help you save money while becoming more energy efficient with your heating system.
Do you feel like you’re wasting money on your heating because it’s not efficient? And are your bills bigger than you’d like them to be, especially during the winter months when you need your heating most? Well, switching to newer, energy efficient models can actually save you money.
And this doesn’t just have to be for your boiler. Sometimes simply switching to Smart Controls, adding new thermostatic radiator valves to your radiators, or having a system power flush can improve your heating’s efficiency.
That’s why we’ve launched our Eco Deal for this spring, which gives you 10% off upgrades to a number of energy efficient products.
Eligible energy efficient products
Products included in our 10% offer are:
✅ A-rated high efficiency boilers
✅ New radiators
✅ SMART heating controls
✅ New thermostatic radiator valves
✅ New ‘modulated’ heating pumps
✅ A system power flush
So, don’t miss out! Take up our offer by contacting us before 31st March 2021 to book in your upgrade. Quote ECODEAL2021 when you contact us.
By JR | Blog
Save Money With Our Service Care Plans
Did you know that we offer a suite of Service Care Plans? They are designed to help you spread the cost of your annual heating service and repairs.
We recognise that it can be expensive to maintain your heating system, especially if your boiler is a few years old:
🔷 Your boiler could break down unexpectedly
🔷 Parts might break
🔷 A radiator may not heat up
🔷 The controls might stop working
Of course, a breakdown is particularly inconvenient in the colder autumn and winter weather too, when you rely on your heating!
So, our service plans will help you maintain your heating system and spread the cost of your annual service and any repairs.
Three levels of cover to suit your needs
We have three levels of cover, starting from just £9 per month:
🔷 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.
Plus, there are add-ons for your household electrics and gas fires, as well as landlord options, if you wish.
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.
By JR | Blog
Gas fires are a carbon monoxide danger
If you have a gas fire, when did you last have it serviced?
Did you know that gas fires are a common cause of carbon monoxide poisoning? People aren’t always aware that they need to get them checked regularly, so they can often go quite some time without being serviced. This, of course can lead to problems, things going wrong and, unfortunately, a higher risk of carbon monoxide leaking.
As you may know, carbon monoxide is colourless and odourless, yet deadly. It’s not called the silent killer for nothing! Read our previous blog about the dangers.
We recommend that you have your gas fire serviced annually. This will keep it working perfectly and reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning to you and your family.
It’s a great idea to get your fire serviced at the same time as having your annual boiler service, saving you time and multiple appointments. We can do both for you, so give us a call on 020 8462 8822 or request a call back to arrange your appointment.
Free carbon monoxide alarm with gas fire services
We also recommend that you have an audible carbon monoxide alarm in each room where you have a gas appliance – usually where your boiler is and in each room you have a gas fire or other gas appliance.
An audible alarm will wake you up if there’s a problem while you’re asleep. They’re easy to fit – simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions. But, of course we can fit one for you too.
And, because we think it’s so important to look after your gas fires as well as your boiler, we’re offering anyone with a gas fire a FREE audible carbon monoxide alarm when you have a gas fire service with us.
So don’t delay, get your gas fire checked out now and receive your free carbon monoxide alarm. Contact us to arrange an appointment on 020 8462 8822, request a callback or email email@example.com.
By JR | Blog
Manufacturers have advised us that, for some older Potterton models, only limited boiler spares are now being produced.
And in many cases, major parts are no longer being produced. The affected boilers are:
Potterton Kingfisher 1 & 2
By JR | Blog
Spring is well on its way. That means lighter nights, blossom on the trees and warmer temperatures. But what does this mean for your heating? Before you turn it off, read our tips on how to look after it during warmer months.
1. Don’t turn your heating off completely in spring
While you may be tempted to turn your heating off completely in spring, some valves may stick if they’re not used. And you won’t know there’s a problem until you switch it back on when you really need it later in the year.
Be sure to run your heating at least once a week during the warmer months. Just a few minutes will do, first thing in the morning.
2. Keep radiator values open
During warmer months, while your heating is off, keep all your radiator valves open and turn up the thermostats (if you have them on your radiators) to maximum. This will stop them sticking when you are using your heating fully in the autumn and winter.
3. Have your heating serviced in summer
An annual service is the best way to ensure your heating system remains in tip-top condition. But don’t be tempted to wait until the start of the winter before having yours serviced.
A service in June or July is the ideal time to rectify any problems that have occurred during warmer months and means your heating will be working properly when you really need it.
4. Turn down your hot water to save energy
Did you know you can turn down the temperature your hot water is heated to? You might want a piping hot shower or bath in the winter, but during spring and summer, turning your hot water down a degree or two will help cut your fuel bills. And because it’s warmer, 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 in warmer months.
5. Protect your family with a carbon monoxide alarm
Carbon monoxide is the silent killer. You can’t see it or smell it. We recommend you have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted in each room where you have a gas appliance.
We can fit them for you easily and relatively cheaply – the best way to protect your family!
For help with your heating installations, repairs or servicing, contact us on 020 8462 8822 or request a call back.
By JR | Blog
Winter is finally revving up! Now we have some chillier temperatures and the potential for snow, it makes sense to safeguard your home against common cold-weather plumbing problems. Here are our top tips on preventing or dealing with frozen or burst pipes.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Preventing the problem of frozen or burst pipes is much easier and cheaper than fixing it once it happens. Follow these tips for a stress-free winter season:
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.
Know how to turn your water supply off. The stopcock is usually located under the kitchen sink, but it is sometimes elsewhere, such as in the hallway.
Check all the water taps in your home and fix any that are dripping. This has the added bonus of also saving you money!
Drain and turn off any external taps.
Keep your home warm – read our advice on this.
What To Do If Your Pipes Freeze
If you think a pipe has frozen:
Turn off your water supply. Locate your stopcock and turn it clockwise to turn off the water.
Turn all the cold taps in the house ON. This will allow the water to escape when it starts to thaw.
Warm the frozen pipe. Starting at the end nearest the tap, use a hot water bottle wrapped in a tea towel, pushed against the pipe to thaw it. Alternatively, use a hairdryer on the low setting, but always ensure you keep the hairdryer a safe distance from the defrosting pipe.
Once the frozen pipe has thawed out, check there are no leaks. Do this by taking some dry kitchen paper towel and wiping it along the pipe. If there are no wet patches on the kitchen paper, you can turn the water supply back on.
If you suspect a leak, do not turn your water back on. Call out a certified plumbing specialist such as ourselves.
If Your Boiler Stops Working
When temperatures drop to freezing and remain there for a day or two, some boilers may suffer from a frozen condense pipe. This generally only happens to boilers less than 15 years old but not the most recent modern types.
If your boiler stops working or tries to start and locks out, and your condense pipe (the white plastic pipe that connects the boiler to a drain) is 22mm in diameter and outside, the condense pipe may be frozen.
To thaw it out, pour warm water (NOT boiling water) on the frozen pipe, use a hot water bottle or buy a heat wrap (that you might use to treat a muscle injury) to thaw the pipe out.
Once your boiler is working again, contact your installer to check everything is working properly and for advice on preventing the problem in future.
You can read more about condense pipes and how to treat them in our condense pipes blog.
Contact our team on 020 8462 8822 for specific advice on your boiler, to arrange a boiler service or for any heating or plumbing problems.