The boiler Company Essex Heating & Solar Ltd are expanding…
Gates Transit Centre located in Harlow support and supply local businesses with the vehicles we need to carry out our everyday customer boiler installations, repairs and servicing requirements.
We have been customers of Gates for many years, they’ve helped us grow our fleet of vehicles up to fourteen. We choose them because they supply an excellent all-round service, plus the sales and service departments are always on hand to deal with any issues should they arise.
For more information about Gates Transit Centre and our relationship with them please click here.
The Gas Safe Register is an official body which regulates the gas installation and safety industry in the UK, officially replacing its predecessor CORGI as the official registration body for the gas industry in 2009. It covers all aspects of gas safety checks, including work on household and industrial gas appliances, fires, cooking equipment, plumbing, heating, boiler installation and much more.
Under the UK law, all gas engineers and fitters working with appliances must be listed on the register, failure to comply can result in fines or prosecution. When contacting a fitter for any gas work, like boiler servicing and repairs for example, please ensure they are part of the Gas Safe Register.
The primary aim of the body is to protect consumers and businesses from accidents or disasters that can result from unsafe work on gas installations or repairs. There are various ways in which the body acts, falling into several specific means and categories.
The first role of the body is to raise public awareness of gas safety and to educate consumers. This goes hand in hand with continuing to ensure high standards among engineers and fitters registered under the scheme. The body has the power to inspect work and standards for all its engineers, and to investigate any reports of unsafe or dangerous work. Finally, there is a dedicated nationwide team working to discover those operating (illegally) outside the auspices of the body. It’s important to note that the Gas Safe Register is not a trade association or membership organisation.
The licensing body covers the UK, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, it has the backing of the local Health and Safety Authority in each of these areas. Should an individual or company be found to be operating illegally, the register can pass on their details to the local HSE (Health and Safety Authority) to be prosecuted if the offence is sufficient to warrant such punishment.
All gas engineers working in these areas must comply with the standards and practices of the Register and be officially certified to work. The main way to become compliant is to acquire the appropriate qualifications to be gas safety certified, then a licence will be issued allowing the individual to carry any relevant work, such as boiler installation or the fitting of gas fires. At that stage, the body can carry out random checks on a registered engineer.
The Register also provides a valuable public awareness service. For example, it holds an annual Gas Safety Week with an accompanying campaign. They also run advertisements and campaigns for the public, such as raising awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning, illegal gas fitters, and the dangers of gas in general.
If you’re looking to install a new hot water tank or cylinder instead of a new boiler in Essex, Hertfordshire or London, it’s important to choose the most suitable type for your property. There are several different types and options available, so here at Essex Heating and Solar Ltd we’ve put together a brief guide to help you decide.
When it comes to direct and indirect cylinders, the most suitable option for you will depend on how you want to heat your water and whether you have an appropriate heat source (or room for one) in your home or business. Indirect cylinders store water that’s been heated elsewhere (usually by a boiler or solar panels). This type of unit may contain an internal element, such as an immersion heater, but it’s only used to add extra warmth.
Direct hot water cylinders don’t require external heat sources. They contain one or more immersion heaters, so they can heat the water from source. They are commonly found in smaller or older properties without standard central heating systems.
Once you’ve decided whether you need an indirect or direct hot water cylinder, you’ll need to select a vented or an unvented model. Again, the most appropriate choice will depend on the type of property you have and the way in which its heating and plumbing systems work.
Vented cylinders have become less popular in recent years, but they are still found in older and/or large properties. This type of cylinder is best-suited to spacious homes, as a cold-water tank needs to be installed in the loft. The water is heated and then stored in the cylinder until it makes its way to your taps, or shower. This type of system works by gravity, so you could end up with low water pressure if the water tank isn’t high enough, although a water pump could be used to resolve this issue. A further drawback is that the cold water in your tank could freeze in winter.
If you opt for an unvented cylinder, you can save space, as you won’t need a cold-water tank. You won’t have to worry about your water pressure being lower either, as the water in the cylinder comes straight from the mains supply. Unvented units tend to be more expensive to fit and maintain than their vented alternatives, however, and aren’t as well-suited to large properties with multiple bathrooms. If the mains supply is cut off, you won’t be able to access the water at all.
Whichever type you select, you’ll need to buy one that’s an adequate size for your needs and made from appropriate material. Many experts recommend duplex stainless-steel cylinders, due to their durability. Ensure to hire a reputable plumber to install and maintain your cylinder – and, if you’re opting for an unvented model, make sure they are G3-qualified.
Choosing a New Boiler
When autumn rolls around many households face an annual stalemate over when they can switch the radiators on. Central heating accounts for more than half the average fuel bill, so it’s no wonder that it can be a daunting expense. However, there are only so many blankets you can pile on the sofa before you accept that a more efficient boiler should be on the cards.
But where to begin? Here’s what you need to know before taking the plunge with the plumbing and new boiler installation.
First, for anyone still concerned about the cost of new boiler installation, it’s important to remember that running an old model is a false economy. Less modern boilers lose heat much faster, making them work overtime (around £600 more expensive per year to run, in the average detached house). They’re also more prone to breakdowns, with boiler repairs typically costing more than £200 to deal with.
The initial outlay for boiler installation is likely to be £1800 to £5000 depending on model, area, and current plumbing situation. Forking out is going to be worth it in the long run, but make it count: scour the internet for product reviews, ask friends and family for their own recommendations, and ask for your plumber or engineer’s perspective too. Bear in mind, of course, that they may be financially affiliated with certain brands, so do your research as well.
The first major consideration when buying a new boiler is the fuel type. Gas boilers tend to be the most cost effective, but if you don’t have a gas supply, you could try contacting your local gas board to set one up http://www.energynetworks.org/info/faqs/who-is-my-network-operator.html – at little or no cost, as it may be subsidised. If gas is out of the question, biomass and heat pump options are both low carbon and more efficient than oil, coal or economy 7.
Once you’re clear about the fuel type, you’ll need to think about the kind of boiler you want: this could be the traditional style with a separate hot water cylinder (like most older boilers have), or a more contemporary style combi boiler. The combi is slightly less efficient at producing the hot water, but it loses less heat overall, which can make it more worthwhile. Variables that may influence your decision will include how much space you have available (combis are smaller); how much hot water you tend to use (traditional boilers could be less frustrating for large households using lots of hot water at certain times of day); and even whether you’re hoping to use solar power (not all combi boilers are compatible).
When you’ve found the right boiler for your home, you’ll need reliable professionals to install it for you. Always make sure you’re confident and comfortable with people who will be working in your home: consult references and seek accreditation’s.
Worcester Bosch vs. Vaillant Boilers – Which Brand Should You Choose?
If you’re about to source a new boiler quote then you will need to decide on which make and model is the best investment for your home. Plumbers and boiler installers have relationships with most manufacturers directly, they can help provide advice and information on most domestic boilers to power your central heating and hot water system. In this article we look closely at two of the trusted manufacturers in the market, Worcester Bosch and Vaillant.
The Brands and Their Products
Worcester Engineering as the company was originally known, has been manufacturing domestic heating equipment since 1962. In 1992 the company was acquired by the German electronics and engineering giant Bosch, but its headquarters and manufacturing plants still remain based in the UK.
The company make regular, system and combi boilers with ‘Greenstar’ boilers being its flagship range. The Greenstar boilers were all given ‘Best Buy’ status by ‘Which’ magazine in 2017. The same consumer association magazine also voted Worcester Bosch gas boilers as the best on the market for eight years running. Worcester Bosch were also named best brand for boiler cover in the magazine’s 2017 boiler servicing report.
Their boilers usually come with a five to seven-year guarantee depending on the model, but if your boiler installation is carried out by a Worcester Bosch accredited installer this guarantee could be extended for up to ten years.
Vaillant are based in Germany and have been in business for more than a century. They are globally renowned for their high standards and manufacture heating, air conditioning and ventilation products. In 2014 their heating technology products became the first in the industry to gain the ‘Quiet Mark’ approval.
Like its competitors Vaillant’s products also include regular, system and combi boilers, with its main product range being ecoTEC domestic boilers. Since there launched in 2008, this range was completely overhauled back in 2012, and all the new models were given ‘Which Best Buy’ awards that same year.
Vaillant’s boiler guarantee length can also vary, between two and five years depending on the model you choose. However, these can sometimes be extended up to seven years if you arrange for your new boiler to be installed by a Vaillant Advance installer, and up to ten years if they install it with a boiler protection kit.
Features, Functionality and Price – Comparing Boiler Models
With both companies being closely matched in experience, reputation and service, your decision is likely to come down to the product features and price. While Worcester Bosch boilers used to be significantly cheaper than Vaillant boilers there is little difference between them now. Therefore, it’s recommended you directly compare the appropriate models to see which boiler best suits your needs.
For example, Worcester Bosch’s Greenstar 30i combi boiler is comparable to the Vaillant ecoTEC Pro Combi 30, both of these boilers have ErP efficiency ratings of A and easy to operate controls. However, while the Worcester Bosch model is more compact than the Vaillant version it has a lower flow rate, which mean you won’t get the hot water from it as quickly.
As you can see, each of the brand’s boilers will have their pros and cons, the boiler most suitable usually depends on the size of your property and the central heating and hot water system requirements, speak to your local boiler installation expert to help you come to the right decision.
Do I need to service my boiler?
Whether you are the proud owner of a brand new boiler or have a model that’s 15 years old, it’s imperative that you have it serviced each and every year. There are numerous reasons for this, not least the most important factors – which are safety and reliability.
One of the essential reasons to have your boiler serviced is that if things go wrong there can be potentially fatal consequences. The most dangerous aspect and most common cause of boiler-related fatalities and health issues is the escape of carbon monoxide. This is a colourless and odourless gas that’s impossible to detect without a dedicated alarm or specialist equipment and can easily kill you if sufficient quantities of it are present. One of the important service checks carried out in an annual inspection is to ensure that there are no gas leaks present and no carbon monoxide escaping from your boiler system.
Your annual inspection will also ensure that the boiler and heating system is functioning at its most efficient. The heating and hot water costs are among the most expensive in any household, and an inefficient boiler can see those costs spiral. By having a regular boiler service, you could save hundreds of pounds on unnecessary wasted energy. It’s also important to check the pressure and make sure there’s no significant build up as this could potentially cause an explosion. The boiler engineer will also inspect your flue and carry out various checks for emissions.
The inspection will also look for wear and tear on your boiler, see if any parts need to be replaced, and will identify leaks, corrosion and anything that isn’t functioning as it should. Depending on your boiler service contract plan or terms of your inspection, replacement parts may even be covered as part of the charge. It’s a good rule of thumb that having parts replacement as required should save a lot of money compared to the potentially huge problems and costs down the line should you not have your appliance looked after regularly.
Another essential part of any service is to make sure the plumber or boiler engineer carrying out the inspection is registered as GasSafe. This is the UK’s official body which approves, and monitors work carried out within the UK – if you use an unqualified or non-registered engineer, not only are you putting your life potentially at risk, you may also invalidate your home insurance cover. It may even be a prerequisite of your annual cover to have your appliances serviced each year, so check the small print carefully.
Homeowners and landlords may have to produce an up to date safety certificate in the event of any related claim – if you don’t have one, you may well not be covered.
Most boilers and central heating systems also come with a good length warranty, up to 10 years in some cases after the boiler installation – however, this may also be dependent on an annual service schedule. Again, it’s vital to check the terms of your warranty and make sure you don’t invalidate any future claim for repairs or replacement parts.
It’s not long now until all the clocks go back again, meaning winter is coming which can lead to boiler breakdowns, frozen pipes and dreaded plumbing problems!
So, is it worth having a heating and boiler cover plan in place to ensure all your appliances keep working whatever the weather?
It’s important to be well prepared in case your central heating system fails when you need it most, independent surveys state at least a fifth of households have suffered from heating and water problems and breakdowns at some point. Unfortunately, most property owners (including landlords) don’t really think about their boilers and hot water systems until something goes wrong with them, which can be an expensive problem to suddenly have, especially as a new boiler or water cylinder is one of the costliest items to replace in a home.
Buying a boiler and heating care plan not only gives you peace of mind, but more importantly, it provides instant access to plumbers and boiler engineers who can carry out repairs in an emergency. Most cover and service plans usually also include an annual boiler service and health check. Even though many of the established energy suppliers like British Gas offer packages and monthly payment plans for cover, you will also find local and regional plumbing and heating companies like ‘Essex Heating and Solar Ltd’ offering cost effective solutions from as little as 18p per day to keep you safe and warm.
If boiler cover is for you don’t just automatically choose your current energy providers policy as you may find a better one elsewhere. Shop around for the best possible deal and always check the small print, as some of the cheapest plans carry additional excess charges. If an excess charge is something you would rather avoid then consider paying for a slightly more expensive plan that doesn’t include excess payments.
It’s advisable to also check your home insurance policy to see if you automatically qualify for services before buying additional boiler and heating cover. If you’ve just bought and installed aa new boiler then that should already be covered by its warranty, and if you do decide on heating and boiler cover check what you’re buying and look for a service plan that at includes the following:
As standard you should get 24-hour, 365-day cover, some companies might limit the number of call-outs or cap the amount of money you can claim form them. If your boiler is an old model you might not be able to get a full cover policy, or you may only be offered a lower level of cover, so check with the supplier.
Remember the key to home emergency cover is the word ’emergency’ and cover only applies in situations where immediate action is required.
Is My Boiler Energy Efficient?
According to the UK’s Energy Saving Trust, heating costs are likely to account for approximately 55 percent of your annual domestic energy bill. Your boiler is the central component of your home’s central heating and hot water systems, so it needs to be efficient. So, how do you work out whether that’s the case?
Boiler Efficiency – Age and Ratings Matter
Generally, the newer your boiler is, the more efficient it’s likely to be. The British government brought in legislation to ensure that all boilers installed in homes from October 2010 onwards were at least 88 percent efficient. In April 2018, as part of the government’s new Boiler Plus regulations, the minimum level was increased to 92 percent.
For a more accurate idea of how your boiler performs, however, you’ll need to check its efficiency rating. Since 2015, boilers sold in the UK have been rated according to the European Union’s Energy-related Products Directive (ErP). All products that fall within this system are assigned letter ratings, with A+++ being highest and G being the lowest. The rating assigned to a particular boiler depends on the amount of energy that model uses and the amount it wastes. In principle, therefore, you can see how efficient your boiler is just by looking at its label.
However, the way in which boilers are rated in the UK has changed over the years, so if you have an older boiler model, it’s important to bear this in mind. Prior to the introduction of ErP ratings, they were rated according to the Seasonal Efficiency of Domestic Boilers in the UK (Sedbuk) system. There were two versions of this: Sedbuk 2005, which rated boilers from A to G; and Sedbuk 2009, which showed each model’s efficiency rating as a percentage.
Boiler Installation – Other Energy Efficiency Issues
The 2018 Boiler Plus regulations also stipulate that newly installed oil and gas boilers must have programmable timers and adjustable thermostats. Additionally, new combination boilers must feature at least one of the following:
Therefore, the latest models on the market are likely to be far more energy-efficient than their older counterparts.
It’s worth noting that not only is anyone carrying out boiler installation breaking the law if they fail to comply with these rules, you could also be prosecuted for allowing non-compliant work to be carried out in your home. Therefore, if you’re going to swap your boiler for a newer, more energy-efficient version, make sure you choose an appropriate model and pick a reputable plumber to fit it.