A Plumber Solving An Issue Can Cost Less Than You Think

It’s always an inconvenience when something goes wrong with plumbing in the home especially when its something we didn’t anticipate and can’t put right ourselves. Many of us will be reluctant to call a plumber and will leave a dripping tap or leaky toilet for days, weeks and sometimes even months. Millions of water is being wasted throughout the UK each day because of unnecessary leaks. If a tap is left dripping for a week it will waste approximately 168 litres of water. It is estimated that 10% of water wastage is from leaking toilets.

Common signs that a plumber may be required include, a slow gradual leak coming from pipework, pipes making a rattle or banging noise as water travels through them, continual running of water in the toiler, slow drainage in a sink/shower, low water pressure and an huge increase of the household water bill.

A big factor homeowner’s are worried about is the cost of a plumber however, the sooner a leak is fixed generally the lower the costs will be. How much a plumber charges mostly depends on the severity of the problem. If leaks are left further costs could incur with water damage repair. For smaller jobs such as fixing a leaky faucet or unblocking a toilet plumbers normally charge at their hourly rate but for larger jobs a quotation may be required

Ability provides plumbing, heating and electrical assistance throughout the Kent, West and East Sussex areas. We cover Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, Sevenoaks, East Grinstead, Crowborough, Paddock Wood, Orpington, Bromley and surrounding areas. All our charges are clearly transparent, set out on our website and no call out charges are applied.

If you require a plumber please give us a call on 01892 514495 or alternatively email info@ability.uk.com and we be happy to help

Climate Change UK Targets Threatened By Home Gas Boilers

To combat climate change the government has pledged that by 2050 they will reduce emissions by 80%.  However, with the majority of our homes still fuelled by gas and oil this is significantly reducing the probability of the UK meeting these targets.

plumbing-heating electrical
Central Heating Home

New regulation are coming in to force in 2025 to help with climate change, meaning that all new homes, will have to use green gas or alternative, to heat water and their homes, money needs to be invested into new products.  Currently, 14% of UK greenhouse gases come from our homes and although all new homes built in 2025 will use greener energy it is just a drop in the ocean as the vast majority of UK homes will not.

20,000 homes a week need to convert to low carbon energy source by 2050 for the UK to meet the climate change targets.  Gas central heating boilers are contributing highly to bringing the UK above their clean air goals in large towns and cities they are one of the main sources of nitrogen dioxide emissions as well as cars.

What Needs To Be Done To Combat Climate Change

Biogas 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 to help with climate change.  Smart control systems, when used to their full potential, will also reduce the amount of energy each household uses.

Money needs to be invested for home insulation schemes as currently these costs are having to be met by homeowners and they do not always have the money to invest to facilitate these changes.  Heat accounts for more than a third of our current carbon emissions.  Innovative technology is needed to reduce this figure to assist with climate change.

Ability provides heating, plumbing and electrical assistance throughout Kent, East and West Sussex. If you would like a free no-obligation quotation for a new boiler or smart controls please contact us on 01892 514495 or alternatively email info@ability.uk.com

Pressure Dropping In The Heating System

Ability provides heating, plumbing and electrical assistance in Kent, East and West Sussex.  As the temperatures start to drop we receive an increased volume of calls from customers saying that the pressure on their boiler has dropped.

Boiler Pressure Gauge

The power to the system must be turned off before starting to re-pressurise the boiler.  It’s something the homeowner can do themselves but if the pressure continues to drop then a heating engineer will be required.  Modern boilers work best usually around 1.5 bar.  The boiler will have a pressure gauge which shows the minimum and maximum operating pressure.

There are 3 main reasons why the pressure could drop.

Bleeding Radiators Low Pressure

When bleeding radiators air is being let out of the system and can cause the pressure to drop.  This can be easily rectified by letting more cold water back into the system.  This is simple to do however each boiler is different so you will need to refer back to the boiler manual or the manufacturer’s website for direction.

bleeding your radiators-central heating system
Pets Warm at Home

Water Leak

If there is a leak in the system the pressure will continue to drop even if you have added more cold water into the system.  It can be very hard to locate a leak but the best place to check first is the radiator valves. Wipe the valves with kitchen roll and place a tray beneath it to collect any dripping water.  If you are unable to locate the leak then an engineer may be needed to locate and fix it because the leak could be behind a bath panel or floorboard.

Boiler Fault

It is important to have your boiler serviced annually as this helps to keep your boiler running efficiently.  Any fault will be detected earlier and can be fixed before further problems develop.  If the pressure in the system keeps dropping after cold water has been added, it could be the expansion valve has failed or limescale could have built up in the boiler.  A certified engineer will be needed to check this out.

If you need any assistance with the above please give Ability a call on 01892 514495 or email info@ability.uk.com.

Gas Safe Check When Looking For A Registered Engineer

Looking for an engineer to undertake gas work? It’s tempting to pick the first name on the list – but you might want to investigate further before you do.

Gas Safe registration is a legal requirement for anyone carrying out gas work, but there are many different types of gas work a business may offer. All engineers need to hold a ‘core’ element to their qualifications – once they have this they can then add in any additional types of work they wish to offer.

For more information on the different categories that engineers will hold to carry out work on certain appliances and a glossary of terms commonly used to refer to gas work, you can consult Gas Safe who are the best to be your guide.

Not sure about the qualifications or right company for you? Domestic work categories Commercial work categories

If you’re unsure what would be classified as domestic and commercial work then Gas Safe gives the definitions below, that may help…

Gas Safe Domestic

Relates to those gas appliances that are designed for use in a domestic property, as well as gas pipework up to 35mm in diameter, again in a domestic property.

Note: There may be instances in larger domestic properties where non-domestic appliances and larger pipework maybe required. In these cases, appropriate non-domestic work categories may be necessary.

Gas Safe Commercial

In the context of work categories and competence, this refers to the size of pipework, appliance type/gas consumption in addition to the property type. However, the property type is not the sole criteria. For example, a ‘domestic’ gas boiler installed in a church may in certain circumstances still be considered a ‘domestic’ appliance regardless of being installed in a ‘non- domestic’ property.

Often appropriate competence can only be determined on a case by case basis. If in doubt, contact us to check.

Here at Ability, we hold qualifications in both Domestic and Commercial. Commercial catering as well as mobile catering. We hold certification in LPG and have many years of experience as well as a vast knowledge of the industry. So don’t hesitate to call when it’s gas safety you need.

Ability provides Heating, Plumbing and Electrical assistance, for a free no-obligation quotation please call 01892 514495 or email info@ability.uk.com

Combi boilers Manufactured By Worcester Bosch

Combi boilers are the most popular type of boiler in the UK and as Ability is a Gold accredited installer for Worcester Bosch we thought we would share information about them.

Worcester Bosch combi boilers are compatible with all fuel types (gas, oil and lpg) and come with up to a 10-year guarantee. They are smaller in size and more economical than other boiler types

A combi (or combination) boiler is an ingenious space-saving idea, and an increasingly popular choice in UK homes. In fact, combis now account for well over half of all the new domestic boilers installed in Britain every year.

Worcester Bosch offers a full range of Combi Boilers to suit your needs. All of their Greenstar gas and oil boilers have been awarded Which? Best Buy status and come with a 10 year guarantee.

Deciding which boiler will make an efficient and practical fit with your home and lifestyle can be confusing.

If your new boiler is going to be fitted onto your existing system, please consider the cleanliness of your existing pipework and radiators as this could cause damage to your new combi boiler. For more information about system cleanliness, you can view the Worcester Bosch website here.

A combination or ‘combi’ boiler is both a high efficiency water heater and a central heating boiler in a single compact unit. Combi boilers heat water directly from the mains when you turn on a tap, so you won’t need a hot water storage cylinder or a cold water storage tank in the roof space.

They are also very cost-effective and energy-efficient as water is heated instantly rather than being heated and then stored in a cylinder. An added benefit is that hot water is delivered at mains pressure, which means that you could get a powerful shower without the need for a separate pump.

plumbing issue-boiler broken - electrical fault
Gas boiler in Cupboard

Compact sizes make combi boilers perfect for smaller properties Ideal where there is little or no loft space No need for a hot water cylinder allows increased living space No cold water storage tank frees up a loft for conversion No risk of loft pipework freezing Less pipework in the home makes installation typically cheaper.

Ability provides heating, plumbing and electrical assistance throughout the Kent, East and West Sussex Area within the South East.

Want to upgrade your boiler call Ability on 01892 514495 or email info@ability.uk.com

Replacement Boiler Spike In Enquiries From Homeowners

Ability provides replacement boiler installations, plumbing, heating and electrical assistance throughout the South East. With customers in Tonbridge, Sevenoaks, Orpington, Bromley, Crowborough, East Grinstead, Maidstone and their surrounding areas we cover a vast area.

At Ability, we are always interested in keeping up to date with trends and technology and developments within the heating industry and have found that we are having an increase of enquires with require to replacement boilers as the Boiler Guide suggests.

replacement boiler

Online installer directory, Boiler Guide, has reported a spike in enquiries from homeowners who are interested in a replacement boiler.

According to Boiler Guide, enquiries for new installations have risen by 44.5% over the past three months when compared to May-July 2018 suggesting homeowners are now more switched on to the potential savings of getting their house in order by having a boiler replacement while demand for heating engineers is lower.

Boiler Guide argues that being prepared and making boiler repairs or having a boiler replacement during the summer can save hundreds of pounds for the exact same service due to lower demand.

David Holmes, founder of Boiler Guide, says: “It’s great to see that more UK homeowners are not waiting until winter to get their replacement boiler – we are all well aware of the high demands on repair people during the colder snaps of winter and the potential implications of a broken boiler.

Plumber replacing bath taps
Boiler Engineer-Repair to gas boiler

“In some areas of the UK you can save up to £500 by having a replacement boiler in August as opposed to November so it’s worth speaking to a heating engineer in the summer if you’re after a bargain. Due to lower demand for heating engineer services in the summer, it really is a ‘buyer’s market’ so make sure to shop around to get the best quote.”

If you would like Ability to provide a free quotation for please contact us on 01892 514495 or by email info@ability.uk.com

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.

Coal Effect Gas Fire and the Emergency Call

We received a call yesterday evening from a regular customer of ours, who lives in East Sussex, in a panic.  She was an elderly lady with an open inglenook fireplace and a coal effect gas fire, supplied, fitted and maintained by Ability over the years.  A bird had come down the chimney and was flying around in her lounge. 

The coal effect gas fire was not in use at the time and so the bird was able to fly into the lounge and was frantically flapping about, of course very disorientated and wanting to get back into the open air. When our engineer arrived, our customer was in a bit of a panic and so it was suggested she remain in the kitchen, while our gas engineer isolated the fire and remove the bird and release it back into its natural environment.

coal effect gas fire

The bird was quite distressed, so our engineer opened the French patio doors to the outside garden, after making the coal effect gas fire safe.  The bird seemed to calm down once human life was no longer present and the engineer took control of the situation.

The Free Bird and the Coal Effect Gas Fire

Ability’s engineer found a cane in the garden and gently enticed the bird onto the stick, with a gentle conversation and spiritual chant. Once a zoo keeper’s assistant, our engineer had a general knowledge of animals as well as qualifications in working with the coal effect gas fire.

The bird once free from the stress and upset of its experience gave a little look of gratitude and flew off back to its nest with minor upset and no harm done.

coal effect gas fire

The coal effect gas fire has now been reinstated and the chimney checked and tested for safety of performance and efficiency.  A new bird guard cowl has been fitted at the terminal of the chimney pot. Our customer is happy and safe in the knowledge that the fire is now back in use and the situation has been resolved.

If you live in the Kent, and Sussex area and would like plumbing or heating or any other gas work then please call Ability today……

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.