If Your Heating System Working To It’s Full Potential

Ability provides assistance with heating system, plumbing and electrical assistance in the Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks, East Grinstead, Maidstone, Bromley, Orpington and surrounding areas in Kent, East and West Sussex areas.

Heating systems currently attract dirt and obtain air within them.  It is important to service regularly to remove these to ensure that all is working to its full potential.  If dirt and air are left untreated it will inevitably lead to problems and could, therefore, lead to system breakdowns, which usually happens at the most inappropriate times

Debris in the heating system

Ability has found that whilst technology has moved on and heating systems are far more advanced with smart controls etc we have also noticed that unfortunately, they are more sensitive to contamination from dirt particles and with airlocks.

Whilst many of us will have our boilers serviced regularly, we do not tend to think about the quality of water that is running throughout our heating systems.  An inhibitor to minimise corrosion should be applied particularly in hard water areas.  It is recommended that a heating system should be flushed every 5 to 6 years to ensure efficiency and stop limescale build-up and remove debris and rust.

Common Heating System Complains

Here at Ability we look at some of the most common system complaints to look out for, which suggest air and dirt which could jeopardise the performance of a light commercial or domestic heating system.  

Noisy System – if the system is becoming unusually noisy when in operation this is usually because there is air and build-up within the heating systems resulting in the radiators and pipework banging and clanging as the water tries to pass through.

Cold radiators – If radiators have cold spots or are cold at the bottom but warm at the top, this would suggest there is a build-up of debris within the systems and therefore a power flush may be required.

Corrosion within the system

Air – if there is increased air in the system, this will accumulate in the radiators and potentially clog up the pump, this will usually be noticeable by a noisy system and should be treated as soon as possible to prevent problems.

Replacement of Parts- if parts are being replaced faster than expected this could be due to contamination within the heating system.  When there are debris and air within the system the parts such as the pump are having to work harder to achieve the same output, leading to strain and excessive wear on parts.  Replacing parts can be very costly and can be avoided by keeping the boiler regularly services, water treated and radiators bleed.

If you require any assistance please contact us on 01892 514495 or email info@ability.uk.com

Which Smart Thermostat Is Right For You?

We have been carrying out an assessment of the new and available digital room thermostatic controls here at Ability.

Traditional thermostats are pretty much a fumble to use. It feels like it takes a million button presses to set or program anything and forget adjusting the temperature if you’re not at home or in the correct room. If you’d rather adjust your thermostat from your phone, with your voice, or if that isn’t futuristic enough, let it adjust itself automatically, you’ll want a smart thermostat like one of these new models that we have on offer here at Ability.

Google Thermostatic Control

Google’s Nest is the biggest name in smart thermostats, and with good reason. Originally designed by Tony Fadell, the father of the iPod, the Nest series use a click-wheel interface for turning the temperature up and down that feels incredibly intuitive. The Nest’s biggest feature, though, is its ability to learn your habits and adapt its temperature schedule accordingly, negating the need for you to futz with it.

Nest Thermostatic Control

Nest Thermostatic Control

The Nest Learning Thermostat is probably what you think of when you picture the Nest, but it isn’t actually my top recommendation for most people. The Nest Thermostat E, in our opinion, is a better buy. It’s cheaper but contains almost all the same features, and its clean white housing is more likely to blend into the walls of your home.

The Nest Thermostat E’s display isn’t quite as nice, but that’s a small downside considering the savings. It does, however, lack compatibility with some HVAC systems – so check Nest’s compatibility tool to see if it’ll work with your home, and keep in mind that if you don’t have a C-Wire, it may not be advisable to use the Nest at all (even though it will technically work). You can read more about C-wires on-line.

Honeywell Thermostatic Control

If you’re on a stricter budget, the Honeywell T5+ gets you the most important smart features in a great package. It’s not exactly “cheap”, and it isn’t as attractive as the other options on this list, but it’ll get the job done, you can control it from your phone or with your voice using Alexa and Google, and use its geofencing features to automate energy savings when you aren’t home.

But that discount has to cut corners somewhere: it doesn’t integrate with SmartThings, doesn’t support room sensors, and doesn’t learn your habits the way Nest does, but if you want basic smart home integration at a more affordable price, the T5+ will do the job.

Ecobee Thermostatic Control

Canadian company ecobee is the other big name in the smart thermostat space, and their latest offering is known simply as the ecobee SmartThermostat. It has a decidedly more techy look, with a black touch screen that’s easy to navigate and adjust, along with sensors for different rooms just like the T9. the ecobee sensors are slightly less powerful as the T9’s, since they don’t detect humidity, but they’re still quite useful. Like other thermostats, you can control it from your phone, set schedules, and automate energy savings when you leave the house. You can check compatibility with your home’s HVAC system here.

If your not sure which thermostatic control is for you then please give us a call here at Ability 01892 514495 and we can discuss the best option for your needs.

Baxi Products And The Future Develops For A Greener Future

Baxi has been manufacturing in the UK since 1866. It’s a leading competitor in the UK providing high quality, reliable and durable boilers and heating products.

Baxi currently manufactures products that use natural and LPG gas. However, with the new regulation coming in force in 2025, meaning that all new homes, will have to use green gas or alternative, to heat water and their homes, new products will have to be innovative to accommodate these changes.

Manufacturing in the uk since 1866

Baxi like most of us agrees that we need to cut down on greenhouse emissions and in order for the UK to meet the target of reducing these by 80%, by 2050 drastic measures need to be taken. Supporting research, incentives and funding do need to be provided.

The CEO, David Pinder of UK and Ireland Baxi Heating said, “I am proud to be part of a group that is championing the delivery of a more environmentally sustainable construction agenda, which is fundamental to the UK achieving its clean growth goals.

Here at Ability, we are very excited about the prospect of the UK becoming a zero carbon-free zone and cleaner environment. We look forward to seeing the advances in technology and the new products by Baxi and other manufacturers that will enable us to do this.

Carbon neutral gas is made predominately from organic sources eg farm waste and will hopefully replace the current LPG and gas we currently use. With the right technology, boilers will be easily converted to use the greener gas which will cut down the carbon footprint in our homes.

If you require boiler installation, heating repairs, plumbing or electrical assistance please do not hesitate to contact us on 01892 514495 or at info@ability.uk.com. We cover the Kent, West and East Sussex area.

Bringing The Right Plumbing or Heating Engineer Into Your Home

Contacting a plumbing or heating engineer to repair leaking or burst pipes, service your boiler or gas fire in your home or office is a necessary exercise, and choosing the right company needn’t be costly. Make sure that you are hiring the right company, like Ability, for the job.

Hiring a plumber requires plenty of trust, after all, you’re allowing a complete stranger to enter your home.

Ability, a plumbing and heating company based in the heart of Kent, offers a checklist of the most important factors that all plumbers should comply to

1. Certification

It is extremely important to hire an accredited and registered plumber and heating engineer, even better if the plumber is registered with CIPHE or the heating engineer with Gas Safe, these are just two of the many governing bodies we are registered with here at Ability. Many people claim to be plumbers, but are in fact ‘jacks of all trades’ or ‘handymen’.

Avoid them where possible because they may not possess the quality workmanship, experience and knowledge or skills needed to comply with the plumbing standards issued by CIPE and Gas Safe and may also be uninsured.  More often than not, people who use uncertified plumbers are left with larger and more costly messes after the so-called ‘plumber’ has left. We see this time and time again, it gives the industry a bad name and pains us.

When hiring a CIPHE registered plumbing company, or Gas Safe engineer you can feel confident that they possess the skills and expertise to deal with any plumbing or heating problem you may encounter, be it major or minor. Also, only CIPHE registered plumbers and Gas Safe engineers are authorised to sign and release a certificate of compliance, which is needed when a house is sold, or as a guarantee of a plumbing and heating job done well.

2. Work Experience

Work experience is important in all careers, and it’s equally important in plumbing and heating. Most plumbers should have at least ten years’ of plumbing experience, with additional knowledge and experience in construction and renovations. Here at Ability, our plumbers and heating engineers have over 15 years’ experience each and the company being established now for 40 years this year, our knowledge of the industry is second to none.

3. A Business Bank Account

It’s very important for a plumbing company to have a registered business bank account. Not only is it professional, but it also makes you feel more confident that you’re dealing with a legitimately registered business and not a ‘fly-by-night’ who might disappear with your deposit without starting (or finishing) the job.

Rather spend your hard-earned cash on hiring a CIPHE registered plumber and gas engineer who has a registered business that can be tracked. Our bank details are available on our invoice and quotations and upon request when calling us up by telephone.

4. Well-maintained vehicles with visible branding

All our vehicles are clean, well-maintained and branded with our company logo.  We believe that the vehicles our plumbers and heating engineers drive are an extension of who we are and reflects the pride we have in our work and business.

Plumbing repair the sink waste

5. Neat and clean presentation

Hiring a plumber or heating engineer requires plenty of trust, after all, you’re allowing a complete stranger to enter your home. It is important to us that we make a good first impression and all our employees will always look neat and presentable.

6. Able To Do Physical Labour

It is necessary for plumbers and heating engineers to maintain their ideal fitness levels, as they are often required to exert themselves physically. They climb into small and tight spaces, lift themselves over walls, and lift heavy objects and equipment. Plumbers and heating engineers who are unfit could possibly struggle to perform their tasks optimally.

7. Punctuality

Our plumbers and heating engineers take pride in themselves, our business and work is always punctual. Being punctual is associated with a positive work attitude, which our plumbing and heating engineers pride themselves on, they can be relied upon to get the job done on the time agreed. A plumber who is late reflects a disinterest in customer service and in performing to the best of their abilities.

8. Communication skills

It’s important for our plumbers and heating engineers to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times. This includes the manner and tone in which they communicate with customers and their colleagues.  Hiring a plumber or heating engineer that shouts over the phone, is unapproachable and disrespectful will more than likely result in a poor relationship. Trustworthy plumbers and heating engineers are normally polite, approachable and easily contacted.

9. Reachability

Don’t hire plumbers and heating engineers who are difficult to reach and who doesn’t answer your calls, emails or WhatsApp messages. Although plumbers and heating engineers have families of their own and are also tired in the evenings after a long and hard day at work, it’s reassuring to hire a plumber or heating engineer who cares about their work and customers enough to take the time to discuss matters with them and who will also respond in the case of an emergency.

10. Willingness To Correct Problems

Even qualified and experienced plumbers and heating engineers can make mistakes under pressure. If you notice what appears to be a mistake in your plumber’s or heating engineer’s work and you discuss it with them, they should be willing to fix the mistake or be willing to take time to explain why it appears to be a mistake, but actually isn’t one.  If there is a problem with the job we always return and we guarantee our work.

Bio LPG, The Future for LPG and Lowering Carbon Emissions

Ability has heating engineers in the Kent, East and West Sussex area. With the government aiming to reduce its carbon emissions by 80% of those recorded in 1990 we are interested in the developments of green fuel and in particular Bio LPG.

LPG is currently made during natural gas processing and oil refining. LPG is extracted from heated crude oil through a distillation process and has 3 elements, propane, butane and isobutane. Bio LPG is made 100% from renewable materials and reduces the impact on the environment through offsetting carbon.

The Government are encouraging those living off the grid to consider the environmental impact of their fuel choice, by using Bio LPG as opposed to oil the households carbon foot print could be reduced by 38%

Bio LPG has the same chemical composition as regular LPG so can be used with all existing standard boilers and appliances. Bio LPG has can delivered and stored the same as its existing counterpart.

Calor and Liquid Gas UK have both launched Bio LPG products that can be used to heat our homes and the industry are hoping that the transition from LPG to Bio LPG will be 100% by 2040.

Production volumes have increased to around 200 thousand tonnes annually however it is still only 1% of the market for fossil fuels. Bio LPG reduces carbon emissions by 90% and could be used to fuel up to two million off-grid homes as well as businesses such as mobile caterers throughout the UK.

Ability offers plumbing, heating and electrical services. If you live in the Tonbridge, Sevenoaks, Crowborough, East Grinstead, Bromley and Orpington or surrounding areas and require assistance with any of the above please call us on 01892 514495 or contact us by email at info@ability.co.uk. We are can provide a no obligation quotation.

Maintaining Our Home Boilers Throughout The Summer

With the Summer hopefully on its way, it’s hard to think about the cold times ahead however at Ability, we find that when our customers come to use their home boilers again in the winter, problems occur and we are called in to fix problems that could sometimes have been avoided. 

Enjoying the Sunshine

Ability has heating engineers in the Bromley and Orpington area along with engineers in other areas of Kent and Sussex.  It costs on average between £150 – £400 to repair a broken home boiler and although unlike some, Ability does not charge a call out fee there are a few simple things that can be maintained throughout the year to keep your boiler in good working order.

Keeping your hot water at a low setting can actually be more cost effective than turning your home boiler completely off.  Home boilers can seize if they are not used regularly so by keeping the hot water on constant but at low temperature will ensure the boiler runs smoothly throughout the year.

Although it seems madness to turn the heating on when the temperatures are soaring outside, by doing so for just 10 minutes a week will help to keep the boiler healthy and avoid incurring costs when the winter comes.

Summer is always a good time to have a home boiler service carried out as plumbers and heating engineers are quieter during the Summer months. It is recommended that boilers are serviced annually to ensure they are working efficiently. If a fault is found during the service it will be less disruptive to have this fixed during the Summer as the household is less reliant on the heating and hot water.

Ability, has heating engineers in the East Grinstead, Maidstone, Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, Sevenoaks, Orpington and Bromley area so please feel free to give us a call on 01892 514495 or alternatively email info@ability.uk.com to book a service in.

Homeowners Oil Boilers and Heating Systems

With the house moving season in full swing, homeowners looking to sell their property are being urged not to ignore their heating system, it’s important to have your oil boiler checked to avoid putting off potential buyers. Here at Ability we can carry out an oil boiler and system safety checks for your survey or purchaser, in the Kent, East Sussex and Surrey area.

oil boiler

The advice follows a recent survey of house hunters which reveals outdated boilers were more of a turn off than old kitchen appliances or unsightly radiators, so changing your boiler or maintaining your oil boiler is highly recommended.

With many owners struggling to sell their properties in a sluggish market,OFTEC, which represents rural homes on oil heating, has produced a helpful checklist for households to ensure their heating systems are in tip top shape before going on the market. At Ability we are here to help on this with  The advice

This includes:

Get to know your oil  boiler’s history

The oil boiler should be serviced at least once a year to make sure it is working correctly and efficiently. If you haven’t had the system checked over, contact a GasSafe (for mains gas) or OFTEC (for oil or solid fuel) registered technician who are recognised as fully competent and will provide you with evidence, such as servicing reports. Using non-qualified technicians to carry out any work could make buyers more cautious.So check the registration and reputation of the installer or service engineer

How much does it cost to run an oil boiler?

Inside oil boiler

Energy costs are often one of the most important factors people consider when buying a property so make sure you know the facts. For homes off the gas grid, heating oil remains the cheapest major fuel, currently, over £400 less than LPG and over £800 cheaper than electric storage heaters when comparing typical annual running costs for an average three bedroom house. We can carry out an assessment for you to determine the efficiency of your home heating and oil boiler

How smart are the heating controls?

Outdated heating controls could potentially put off a buyer because they can make it more difficult to regulate the temperature, leading to higher energy consumption and fuel bills. Upgrading to more efficient technology which enables you to set different temperatures for each room, can be an additional selling point. Modern systems can also connect with smart devices which offers even greater flexibility. We now offer smart control radiator thermostats to keep each room comfortable at the right temperature.

How old is the oil boiler?

Modern condensing boilers are more efficient, quieter and cheaper to run. If the boiler is over 15 years old, it may be worth replacing. Make sure you obtain the ‘building regulations compliance’ certificate which identifies the age of the boiler and confirms it meets the required building regulations. This should be issued shortly after the oil boiler is installed. At Ability once we install your new boiler we register your warranty and guarantee then we register with the governing body.

Ideal Boilers Recommended and Installed By Ability

Ability specialises in boiler installation and covers Kent, West and East Sussex.  We install many Ideal Boilers both Combi and System in the Orpington and Bromley area and we recommend these products.

Ideal Boilers were founded in 1906 so have over 100 years’ experience in designing and developing their Ideal Boilers.  All their products are manufactured in the UK.

Ideal Combi Boilers

Ideal Combi Boilers are economical to run as they heat the water as it is used and produces the heating for the home.  They are small so will fit in a cupboard making them perfect for the Petit home. They come with a 7 to 12 years warranty depending on the make and model purchased.  There are several models Ability have used in the Bromley and Orpington area and these include the Logic Max combi and the Vogue Max combi.  These Ideal boilers are light, quick to install and easy to service.  They have digital displays with clear to read pressure gauge.  They also have quality brass filters and frost protection.

Ideal System Boilers

Ideal Boilers also provided system boilers which Ability have installed in the Orpington and Bromley area.  These system boilers are fully pressurised and are filled via the mains cold water.  It then heats the water for the cylinder and heats the central heating system.  A heat pump then circulates the heat round making the radiators hot.  The Logic Max and the Vogue Max system both come with 10 to 12 years warranty.  Ability has found that they are easy to install and service.  They are both light and small enough to fit into a cupboard.

If you are thinking about replacing your boiler and live in the Kent, East and West Sussex area why not give Ability a call on 01892 514495 or alternatively email info@ability.uk.com for a free no obligation quotation.

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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.

boiler servicing-manufacturers instructions
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.

boiler servicing-manufactures instructions
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.

Exciting advances In New Bosch Commercial Boiler

It is always a difficult decision when choosing a new commercial boiler, you need to consider the energy efficiency, whole life costing, installation, will replacement parts be readily available and good aftercare support. Ability likes to keep up to date with any new products available on the market and are pleased to hear about the new Bosch commercial boiler.

There have been significant advances in Bosch commercial boilers.  The GB162 is now available as an 85kW model as well as the existing 50KW, 65kW and 100kW. 

Advantages Of The New Bosch Commercial Boiler

It has a smaller flue containing a non-return valve.  This means it is well suited to buildings with narrow, low and restricted space because it no longer requires the height of its previous counterpart and also has increased flexibility, making it easier to install and will, therefore, reduce installation costs.

The new Bosch commercial boiler offers a secure fit connection with 360 degree insulation reducing heat loss and energy consumption.  It also has a removable single sided cover for easy access when servicing and maintaining.

There is no longer the need for an external pump system with the new Bosch commercial boiler as it has a new pump group which has the combination of lower hydraulic resistance and a more residual pump head.  This again will reduce energy bills and installation costs.

combination boiler plus-boiler plus-heat in buildings

The GB162 Bosch commercial boiler is also compatible with leading commercial boiler control meaning the heating can be controlled and monitored remotely via tablet or computer. 

It is becoming increasingly popular due to its energy efficiency, reliability and high performance.  The cascade design means it can now cater for large heat demands of up to 1.6mw and is ideal for large commercial properties.

Ability highly recommends this new product.  We install commercial boilers in the Kent and West Sussex area and would be happy to provide a free with no obligation quotation.  Please contact us on 01892 514495 or at info@ability.uk.com if we can be of service