In Aid Of Child Safety Week (3rd – 9th June), We Talk USB Integrated Sockets Safety.

Ability provides heating, plumbing and electrical services in the Kent, East and West Sussex area. We are a family run business and understand how important it is to ensure our families are kept safe when installing USB integrated sockets.

Daniel Moon, Director here at Ability comments: “Mobile devices are a given in almost every household in the UK and are particularly popular with children and young people. In fact, 93% of 15-year olds in the UK now own a smartphone.  This has led to an increase in sales of USB integrated sockets which contains both the traditional 13A three-pin switch socket and a USB charging point.

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Child safety comes first

There are many aspects to consider when converting your traditional sockets to include USB integrated sockets to ensure safety within the home.

Integrated Socket safety features to eliminate system overload and house fires

Advance safety features come as standard with high-quality USB integrated sockets, this protects against overload and the wiring device must have the ability to prevent such hazards.

It is best to purchase USB integrated sockets that include Dynamic Device Recognition (DDR) technology.  This technology ensures that each device is charged using the required power level as the manufacturer would intend if using the original plug.  This will stop potential damage to the device and more importantly eliminate the dangers of a house fire.

The USB integrated sockets should have built-in, three-pin child resistant shutter systems.  This means that unless the correct three pin plug is inserted into the socket there will be no access to the electricity supply.  As we all know small children do not see danger and there is the temptation to poke little fingers or toys into any small hole they come across.  There is a risk of fire if parents revert to using the plastic socket protectors as used with the traditional three-pin sockets, as they may override the USB sockets’ safety system

If you live in Tonbridge, Sevenoaks, East Grinstead, Bromley or the surrounding areas, and require electrical, plumbing or heating assistance please give us a call on 01892 514495 or email info@ability.uk.com

Boiler Servicing. Ability’s guide to an annual boiler service

What’s best practice for gas boiler servicing? Here, Ability Plumbing Heating and Electrical Engineers outline agreed industry best practice.

The first thing we recommend is to have the manufacturer’s instructions for the boiler to hand, regardless of experience, these are always important.

Does Your Boiler Need a Service?

Please do operate the boiler briefly to ensure it appears to work correctly. We recommend you isolate the boiler/heating system electrically and confirm this with suitable test equipment. When servicing the boiler we always check the fuse rating for the boiler/heating system is correct; most digital appliances will run on a 3amp fuse.

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A serviced happy boiler

We will remove the boiler case and visually inspect the appliance, internally and externally, for any signs of distress, such as corrosion or water leaks, checking all components.

If necessary, Ability will clean the boiler and its components, including the primary heat exchanger, main burner, and the condensate trap, always referring to the manufacturer’s instructions for boiler servicing.

It’s most essential to reinstate the electrical supply safely. Then to carry out a check of the boiler’s gas burner pressure, a gas-rate inspection (taken at the gas meter), or both, where possible, will determine the correct working pressures.

Next, our engineer will visually check the flame picture (where visible) and carry out a flue gas analysis test, this if the boiler is a high-efficiency product or requires this procedure.

It is critical to ensure any combustion analysis test points are correctly replaced, and any boiler case seals are forming an effective seal. Boilers must not run with incorrect seal.

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Three regular serviced boilers

An excellent visual check that any ventilation requirements for the boiler have been met. Sometimes may include taking measurements.

Boiler Servicing

If the appliance is an open flue ability will check the boiler chimney/flue throughout its length, including its point of termination. Carry out flue-flow and spillage tests; this is usually a smoke test.

It’s essential to check that any boiler safety devices operate correctly. Check there is no escape of gas from the boiler or connecting pipework to the boiler.

In the event of any safety defect(s) being noted, Ability will always advise the customer of the details, and either rectify them or act in accordance with the Gas Industry Unsafe Situations Procedure (GIUSP) Paperwork will be provided.

Where rectification is not possible, we will discuss with you, the customer if any remedial action is required, and give you all the options to correct the faults, the best way possible.

Finally, we will complete the Benchmark service record, and provide any additional work documentation while on-site or via email if you are not able to be present at the time of works.

New Electric Showers And What To Consider

When choosing a new electric shower, you need to consider whether it’s readily available and whether it has a good warranty. This gives assurance that if the shower was to go wrong a good aftercare package is in place.

When installing a new electric shower you must take into account the kilowatt of the shower currently in situ.  If the intention is to replace a 9.5kW electric shower with a 10.8k the MCB current rating must be checked.  The relevant wiring regulations must be adhered to and the circuit must be able to cope with the higher load as this could lead to overheating.

New electric showers should never be sealed to the wall as they need ventilation around the side and back of the shower module.  Without adequate ventilation, the module is likely to overheat or be prone to condensation which will cause damage to the internal components.  The water and electric supplies that come in from behind the unit must be sealed.

In accordance with the current wiring regulations, a new electric shower installation must have a 30 mA Residual Current Device incorporated into the electrical supply. A separate permanently connected

Typically, a minimum pressure of between 0.7 and 1 bar is required for new electric shower.  For a gravity pumped shower the minimum head required would be between 0.008 to a maximum of 1 bar.  This allows for running pressure.

New Complete Bathroom Install

If a replacement electric shower is being fitted it is recommended that a 30MA RCD is installed if it is not already in place.

On average a 10-minute shower will cost around 30p however, this is, of course, dependent on your electrical supplier.

Please call Ability on 01892 514495 if you require a shower installation.

Water Softener Installation And The Benefits

The benefits of water softener installation in a home, especially in hard water areas can prevent the build-up of limescale in kitchen and bathroom appliances.  This can extend the appliances’ life span.  It is, however, an additional source of revenue and a good way to make plumbing jobs profitable.

The installation will be dependent on where the location of the incoming mains water stopcock is positioned, however it can be fitted in various places throughout the home.  It may be that there is existing cupboard space that will be an ideal place to install the water softener rather than beneath the sink itself.

Water Softener Installation Process

The installation of the water softener will take between three to four hours.  The first step is to turn the water off and drain down the system to complete all necessary pipework.  This enables the water to be turned back on as quickly as possible and minimise disruption.

The bypass set will need to be assembled and tightened before putting it into the correct position.

Alterations to the pipework may need to be carried out to accommodate the bypass set for the water softener.  This pipework will need to be prepared and fitted into place.

Whilst fitting the water softener many customers may choose to have a hard water feed incorporated alongside the bypass set for a drinking water supply.  When these works have been completed the mains can be turned back on.

The water softener unit can now be fitted. 

A hole for the overflow will need to be drilled from the outside in to avoid damage to brickwork and the hose cut down to the right size and fitted.

If the customer has decided to have a hard water feed incorporated alongside the water softener then a three-way tapwill need to replace the standard tap.

If the water softener system is not electric it will not require any further maintenance.  The customer should be advised that one salt block per household, per member, per month, will be required to ensure the water softener works efficiently and this will reduce the use of household products.

Please call Ability if you want to consider having a water softener system in your home.