AGA Technological Advances For A Greener Future

Ability plumbing, heating and AGA engineers cover a wide area of the South East from Maidstone to Orpington and Bromley in Kent to Crowborough and East Grinstead in East and West Sussex.

The AGA cooker was invented in 1922 by a Swedish physicist, Gustaf Dalen.  He was forced to stay at home after losing his sight in an explosion and saw how his wife struggled with the cooking.  He then decided to invent a new way of cooking which has since been the heart of many homes for decades.

AGAs make a wonderful feature in any kitchen

AGA cookers are made from cast iron which retains heat and transfers it from the core to the oven and hot plates.  They are available in 2,3,4 and 5 oven models, with a boiling and simmering plate.  It will not only warm the kitchen but can be used to heat the whole house.

Developments

AGA in the past has been slated for using large amounts of energy and being bad for the environment. However, developments to accommodate our change in lifestyle mean they are now much more environmentally friendly. AGAs have thermostatic controls and cook using radiant heat which is gentle on food and locks in moisture, flavour and goodness.

AGA

AGA has to adhere to the latest environmental standards and is subject to rigorous controls. Advances in their technology now mean that they have, switch on/off hotplates to reduce running costs. Their latest models ‘Total Control‘ and ‘City60’ have independently controllable ovens meaning they can be turned off when not needed.

The AGA is also almost entirely recyclable.

Here at Ability we can install, service or repair your AGA. We have qualified and experienced engineers trained especially in the maintenance of this classic, quality appliance.  If you would like assistance, please call us on 01892 514495 or email info@ability.uk.com.

Insurance For The Home, Are You Sufficiently Covered?

Ability provides plumbing, heating and electrical support in the South East.  Home Insurance if very important. We have received numerous calls from clients over the years where they have been away and unfortunately have come back to a leak or they have a fault with their boiler.

Keep your home covered
Keep that smile on everyone’s face with the correct home cover

Home Insurance

When making your final preparation to go on holiday or visit family and friends over the summer, as well as packing the suitcase, checking for passports, sun cream and that the sunglasses are at the ready you need to think is my home safe.  Have you checked all electrical sockets are turned off that can be, have you turned the water off and do I have appropriate home insurance?  It is very easy to forget the latter.

It is important to know what your home insurance policy covers for most eventualities as the last thing you need when returning from a nice break is a huge bill for an essential home repair because your home insurance is inadequate.

Home Insurance Claim

In our experience boilers seem to go wrong at the most inconvenient time, so check do I have emergency cover included in your home insurance.  Also, many companies now will only cover emergency call out claims for boilers up to the age of 15 and some only up to the age of 10.  Ability feels this is very unfair as 10 years is not exactly old with the quality of manufacturing these days, even if it’s a condensing boiler.

leak
water leak

One in five home insurance claims tend to be down to a water leak internally rather than externally and if this happens whilst you are away the damage could be catastrophic.  Therefore, it is so important that you have the right cover for you.  We all like to grab a bargain but the cheaper option is not always the best!  Check the excess, if this is high it becomes a false economy going with a cheaper premium option and look closely at what you are actually going to be covered for.

If you require an emergency plumber, heating engineer or electrician please call Ability on 01892 514495

Emergency Plumber in Maidstone Boiler Repair Near Me

Last night we were called for an emergency plumber in Maidstone, Kent. The customer has searched for Maidstone boiler repair near me, and Ability plumbers in Maidstone were to the rescue.

We can attend your home for your plumbing or heating problem within a 1-hour response. Our emergency plumber Tom arrived in 30 minutes of the phone call and had the water leak stopped within 15 minutes of arrival

Maidstone Boiler Repair Near Me

A Brief History of Maidstone

Maidstone is a large town situated in Kent in the South East and has a population of over 113,137 people.  It lies 32 miles east-south-east of London.  The River Medway runs through the centre of the town linking with Rochester and the Thames Estuary.  There is evidence of settlement dating back to the stone age.  The River Medway has been used for trade and the town is the centre of what is known as the Garden of England.

It has been suggested that the name Maidstone derives from stones set into the river to allow clothes to be rinsed in the cleaner water away from the banks.

During the English Civil War, the Battle of Maidstone took place in 1648, resulting in a victory for the Parliamentarian, Andrew Broughton, who was Mayor in 1649 (and also Clerk to the High Court of Justice) was responsible for declaring the death sentence on Charles I, and today a plaque in the Town Centre memorialises Broughton as ‘Mayor and Regicide’.

Paper mills, stone quarrying, brewing and the cloth industry have all flourished here. Today, residents are employed in the retail, administrative or service sectors; there are industrial estates around the town providing employment. Some of the workforce commute to other towns, including to London

Plumbers in Maidstone

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Your local plumbers-our friendly team

Our engineers are Gas Safe registered and understand the importance of gas health and safety within your property.  For this reason, it is vital that you choose a trained Gas Safe professional to undertake any gas fire, cooker, boiler or appliance work, so call us for our Plumber in Maidstone today.

We serve areas in Maidstone and surrounding areas including, Allington, Alyesford, Barming, Staplehurst, Bearsted, Kings Hill, East Peckham, Kingshill, Wateringbury and Laddingford.

Power Flush and Magnetic filters

Power Flush and Magnetic filters work in helping the efficiency of your heating system. Here at Ability, we look at the idea behind these devices. Once a magnetic filter is installed, the idea is that corrosion within a sealed wet central-heating system produces sludge – which can block up boiler heat-exchangers, pumps and radiators – and that because this sludge is ferrous in its nature  (in that, it sometimes results from iron or steel corrosion), it can be trapped by a powerful magnet and this is what the filter does. Our team recently carried out tests on systems in Orpington, Kent and East Grinstead in West Sussex.

This theory is very much true. But sludge can also result from the corrosion of copper, zinc or aluminium components as well as existing debris or chemicals. This is nonferrous, and will not be caught by a magnet. So this is why a power flush is recommended.

Ideally, your central-heating system should not contain any sludge anyway, because it should be dosed with corrosion inhibitor from the beginning after its installation unless of course, it is an old system that was installed before the introduction of these chemicals and procedures or a previous installer did not correctly carry out the work. We have come across this in the last 3 months in Crowborough Near East Sussex and Dunton Green in Sevenoaks Kent.

This is easy to do, but some heating engineers do not routinely install inhibitor or even check for its presence, preferring to sell magnetic filters to their customers instead. This is why adult Ability we always carry inhibitors and regularly introduce them into your system.

This is of a concern to us at Ability, because we know that some boiler manufacturers, when called out on warranty visits to your home or claims, will sometimes carry out testing to the system water for inhibitor, and they may decide that if the inhibitor concentration is not adequate, then this invalidates your  warranty on the boiler. At Ability, we are sure to see that this is not the case for you, our customer.

Power Flush

The central heating Power Flush procedure is completed by one of our Heating Engineers connecting our special Power flush machine to your central heating system

The Power flush machine pumps high velocity/low-pressure water around the system to remove loose debris from the system causing blockages and restricting flow.

The introduction of high strength chemicals further aids the Power flush process, dislodging and removing dirt, rust and harmful corrosive deposits from the system.

Each radiator is then isolated and flushed individually to ensure the system is left completely clean and blockage free allowing your system to run smoothly.

The whole process of the power flush is carried out with minimal disturbance and disruption to the normal operation of the system, often without disconnecting the boiler or any radiators.

Gas Safety Check and Certificate

Ability is members on the Gas Safe Register. We carry out gas safety checks for landlords in the Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, Sevenoaks (Kent), East Grinstead, East Sussex and West Sussex areas.

A Gas Safety Certificate will be received when a registered engineer installs a gas appliance in your property or when a gas safety check is carried out. It should be received within 28 days of installation.

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The CP12 will contain details of the landlord and of the appliances tested and their results. The engineer will note down any gas safety issues identified that will need attention. The engineer will then sign and date the CP12 certificate.

The most common appliances include gas fires, gas boiler, gas fire water heater, flued cooking ranges and water air heaters. It is important that gas appliances are checked regularly as this will prevent gas leaks and stop carbon monoxide being released. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal. Some of the signs of carbon monoxide escaping include increased levels of condensation in the room with the gas appliance, soft yellow flames, sooty stains or discolouration around the appliance and fumes or smoke. A carbon monoxide detector should be fitted as an indicator.

It is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure that gas safety checks are carried out on an annual basis as they have a duty of care to their tenant. The engineer carrying out the gas safety check must be a member of the Gas Safe Register. Failure to do this could lead to prosecution. A landlord has 30 days to have renewal inspection completed otherwise penalties can be applied and the landlord will then have to complete a new registration form.

If you require a gas safety check (cp12) in the Kent, East Sussex and West Sussex please give Ability a call on 01892 514495 or by 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.

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.

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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.

Plumbing Throughout the Ages

Ability provides plumbing services in the Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, Sevenoaks and East Grinstead area. We are skilled specialists in the installation and maintenance of water systems. In order to become a plumber, a license from a trade or vocational school and a background in various aspects of the industry has to be obtained.

The Development of Plumbing Pipework

The Minoan Palace on Crete is the oldest known structure to have sewerage and water pipes. Plumbing goes back to Crete four thousand years ago. The ancient Romans created complexed systems that transported water in and out of cities via aqueducts and bridges.

The pipes were originally made from lead and this is where the name Plumber comes from, the Latin word Plumbum meaning lead.

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Images of water pipes

The Egyptians were the first to use copper piping as a safer and better alternative to lead.

Places like China used hollow bamboo reeds to carry fresh water and natural gas to and from the ancient salt mines.

In 1940 the War Production Board restricted the use of iron steel and copper. This meant that other materials such as cast iron and plastic had to be used in the manufacturing of plumbing materials. The use of lead piping decreased after World War II as people were becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of lead poisoning.

The Plumbing Inventions Of The Bathroom Appliances.

The first flushable toilet was designed in the Elizabethan era and was described in 1596 by Sir John Harington. Toilet paper was not invented until 1857 by an American man, Joseph Getty. In 1870 the first single piece ceramic flush toilet was manufactured and created by Thomas Twyford.

The first bathtub was made in 1883, it was a cast-iron horse trough with four feet added to the bottom and covered in an enamel finish. The creator was an American man called John Michael Kohler.

If you require a plumber in the Kent and West Sussex area please call Ability on 01892 514495 or alternatively email info@ability.uk.com

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

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.