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.

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 Company Vaillant Celebrates 120 Years

Ability take a look at one of the Uk’s leading boiler company and manufacturers brands. This Easter, Vaillant will be celebrating its own iconic bunny as the company marks 120 years of its ‘hare in the egg’ logo.

boiler company

The Founder of the boiler company Vaillant, Johann Vaillant came across the image in a magazine which started it all on Easter Sunday, all the way back in 1899. He discovered a picture of a hare hatching from an egg, surrounded by dwarfs and animals, and this is when the boiler company acquired the copyright for his company’s trademark.

Over the years, the mark has been re-designed six times, adding the Vaillant name and inserting of  a box around the original egg, amongst many other changes. However, crucially it has never lost its central theme of the hare, which came to be known as Johann in honour of the founder, as it varied his name.

Where It All Began-For Vaillant Boiler Company

The hare even starred in its own comic in 1935, where the boiler company journeyed through history, at one point advising a monarch on the benefits of a hot bath, thus keeping the hot water industry piping hot!

The very familiar Vaillant boiler company colours also have their roots in history, drawing inspiration from the black, white and green traditionally incorporated into the exterior design of homes in Vaillant’s native Bergisches Land, Germany.

boiler company
New Vaillant System Boiler

Whilst the boiler company design has had many changes and improvements and evolved significantly from the picture which originally caught Johann Vaillant’s attention, the iconic hare and egg have remained throughout, and stood the test of time. The green which represents the origins of Vaillant, shows that the company is very proud of the history and it marks a real mile stone for the boiler company.

please call Ability if you have a Vaillant boiler or want to use a Vaillant.

Noisy Radiators, Sludge, Magnetitie Central Heating Systems

Noisy Radiators?

Bubbling noises from radiators are quite a common issue but dealing with this problem does not necessarily require any specialist technical expertise, and you may be able to stop the annoying noisy and bubbling in a few minutes with the right tools and the right advise, before having to us the experts in.

bleeding your radiators-central heating system
Pets Warm at Home

So, if you have a noisy radiator and are hearing gurgling or bubbling noises, the following guidance could help you resolve the problem without calling us, Ability plumbers.

Sludge, Silt and Magnetite

central heating system-bleeding your radiators
Central heating Balancing

Most of the components that make up your central heating system are made from metal, and metal, as you probably already know, will expand and contract as it heats up and cools down. So, it may be that the sounds you hear your central heating make are just being caused by that natural process. Because pipework creaks and groans as it expands and contracts, it can be something that you get used to, but if your central heating is making strange noises, it’s best not to ignore it.

Loud Heating Systems

More serious causes of annoying and loud central heating should be thoroughly investigated and fixed by us at Ability plumbing, with the worst-case scenario being that you have to part with a little bit of money to get it sorted. But here at Ability, we like to give you any help and guidance as well as the right information to fix things for yourself, so this post is designed to help you identify the most common causes of noisy heating systems to help you to solve the problems without having to splash the cash on expensive repair bills. If its something simple and we can help, then we will.

Increase the water pressure

Sometimes, a central heating system needs an extra push to get air out of radiators. Make sure your circulation pumps are on, turn up the water pressure to around two bars, and then bleed the radiator again.

Check the pumping system

Is your pump working correctly? Is the vent on the pump’s suction side? Is your pump speed right or is it too high If the gurgling stops when you turn your pump off, then you may have isolated the problem – repairing it, however, could be a trickier task.

As always, do not attempt to repair your boiler or central heating system if you are unsure of what to do. If a repair involves taking a gas boiler cover off, then it is too complicated for a layperson and you need to get in touch with us here at Ability and we will send an engineer.

Bleed the radiators

A noisy radiator is likely to have air trapped inside it. An easy way to diagnose this problem is to feel the radiator when it is turned on – if it is hot at the bottom but cold at the top, then it needs bleeding.

It might seem obvious but bleeding your radiators could be all it takes to expel this air, stop the radiator noise and allow you to enjoy a near-silent central heating system once more. You simply need a radiator key to let the air out.

If you find yourself bleeding your radiators more regularly than you think is usual, then there is probably a leak in your central heating and plumbing system somewhere. You could add some anti-corrosion inhibitors into the central heating system when the leak has been repaired to ensure the problem does not repeat itself. To find out more about cleaning your radiators, please visit our Website or call us here at Ability.

Cheapest Plumber? Local Cheap boiler Repair?

It’s not always a great idea to look for the cheapest plumber. When you’re looking for a local cheap boiler repair, be careful who you call.

local cheap boiler-cheap boiler repair
Domestic hot water tank

The are some rouge plumbers out there. We always advise you look for a well established, reputable and fully qualified plumber.

We all like a bargain in life. Where we can save on cost, we will, however, this should not be at the compromise of quality. So do be careful when you see an advert for the cheapest plumber or a local cheap boiler repair.

Gas Safe to stay with Capita.

The Health and Safety Executive has announced that Capita Plc will continue to operate the Gas Safe Register, the official register of engineers licensed to undertake gas work, until March 2024.

local cheap boiler-cheap boiler repair
Wireless temperature heating

As the preferred bidder determined by a public procurement process, Capita Gas Registration and Ancillary Services (CGRAS) – a division of Capita Plc – will deliver the five-year contract starting 1 April 2019. The renewed contract is expected to be worth £93 million over the five-year term.

Having operated the Register since 2009, CGRAS will continue its provision of the service, but with several enhancements. As part of the new contract, it will deliver a new digital platform, providing an electronic register, enhanced contact centre, website and mobile application. It will also increase inspections of gas installations and drive broader consumer awareness about gas safety.

Philip White, HSE’s Director of Regulation, says: “The bid from Capita / CGRAS was the strongest on cost and quality and we are confident they will continue to raise the standards of gas safety and provide a gas safe home for everyone.”

HSE said that in addition to the strength of Capita’s bid for the next concession, it felt assured by the way CGRAS had managed GSR services over the last nine years.

So don’t always call the cheapest plumber first. Be wary of the local cheap boiler repair. Call Ability and our team will endeavour to help. With a clear transparent and upfront cost, no hidden charges and reasonable cost. We are not your cheapest plumber or a company offering a local cheap boiler repair, but we will give you the best price and the service you deserve.

Electric Heater or Gas Heating?

There are a number of different types of electric heaters that you can purchase, including halogen heaters, fan heaters, oil-filled heaters and convector heaters. Ability provide all options.

looking to heat a room
Keeping people warm

Ability use Fan heaters, and they are a popular choice but may be noisy and are often not as powerful as other types of heater. The Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) said a fan heater would be the preferable radiator when looking to heat a room for a short amount of time.

However, it said convector heaters will heat a room more thoroughly and these will be the best option if you are looking to heat a room for a couple of hours or more. Here at Ability we can supply these heaters while waiting for the boiler parts.

Oil-filled heaters are one of the more reliable of the varieties. Even though they tend to take slightly longer to heat up than other models, they will stay warmer for longer – even after they have been turned off. Again, here at Ability, we can supply oil heaters on a temporary basis and free of charge.

Looking to heat a room
Warm and Dry

Halogen heaters are another option, likely to be most well known for keeping punters warm in pub gardens, but they work quickly and are relatively cheap to run.

The different forms of portable heater also come with different heat outputs, for example, the most common outputs are 1.2 kilowatt (kW), 2 kW and 3kW. The higher the kilowatt, the more powerful the radiator is but it will also be more expensive. Equaliy can provide a good heat.

Information from the CSE shows the cost of running a 1.2kW halogen heater, on average, is 17p on a standard meter, which is generally cheaper compared to other models. 

However, this has less heat output than a 2kW fan heater that costs 28p per hour – a massive 11p more to run per hour. 

Whilst convector heaters may be a more expensive radiator to run, they will keep the room warmer for longer – and are a better option in the long term than a fan radiator. 

However, to accurately determine whether an electric radiator would save you more money than central heating, a number of factors would need to analysed.

This includes how many windows the room you are looking to heat has, what size they are, how well your house is insulated and the style of house i.e. is it old, new, leaky or modern.

There are also two different types of central heating – gas and electric – which come with pros and cons.  If youd like to know more please do not heasitiate to call us heare at Ability and one of the team will happily assist.

Plumber and Electrician Work Together on Electric Shower

Plumber and Electrician Work in Harmony Together on Electric Shower

The call came through at 7 am yesterday from a regular customer of Ability, who had an electric shower leaking. So our plumber and electrician worked in harmony together on this customer’s electric shower.

We were able to calm them down and reassure them that we could send our plumber right away to help with their emergency.

electric shower
Lady in a hot shower

Once the mains water and electric power had been isolated, our electrician was able to attend later that morning and check and test the safety of the electrics.

Our emergency plumber had managed to stop the leak with a new stopcock valve and make a repair to the pipe that connects to the electric shower.

The electric shower was 15 years old and the customer had reported signs of poor performance and asked if we could fit a new electric shower in its place.

So between our plumber and electrician, we were able to supply and fit a new electric shower. All done in one visit from each of our engineers to save on time and cost. Another happy customer here at Ability.

How Does an Electric Shower Work?

Electric showers work in much the same way as other electric appliances that get hot, including electric toasters and hair dryers. They send an electric current through a piece of metal called a heating element. This has a moderate resistance, so it gets really hot when electricity moves through it. Cold water flows past the element, picking up the heat and heading out through the nozzle where you’re standing. So a basic form of heating up something.

electric shower
New shower installation

How do mixer showers work?

Here at Ability, we can explain a little about mixer showers. The simplest showers are called mixer showers and, as their name suggests, they work by mixing hot and cold water from separate pipes to make warm water whose temperature is somewhere in between. The basic form of mixer shower is a Y-shaped rubber pipe that you fit over the hot and water faucets (taps) on a bath-tub. By adjusting the faucets, you create a single stream of water at exactly the temperature you want. This can become irritating.

The trouble with mixer showers like this is that the temperature is hard to control. If someone switches on a cold faucet or flushes a toilet elsewhere in your home, the cold water supply is reduced. That means there’s proportionally more hot water coming through your shower and, if the water’s too hot, you could be scalded. The opposite will happen if someone switches on a hot faucet you’ll suddenly find the shower turning freezing cold, this is where we can help at Ability.

electric shower
Showerhead cascade

Mixer showers that are plumbed into the wall overcome this problem by using built-in thermostats. They constantly adjust the temperature of the mixed water to ensure you’re not boiled like a lobster or frozen like a penguin by water that’s alternately too hot or too cold. Most mixer showers also have safety cut-outs that prevent you from turning the water up to dangerously high levels, which is good news if they’re being used by the infirm, frail elderly people or young children.

But there’s still a basic problem with mixer showers: they typically run off hot water from a tank. Once the tank is empty, there’s no more hot water and you have to wait for the tank to fill up before you can shower again. So you cannot run out of stored water. We recommend here at Ability you have a mains feed system.

LEAD WATER PIPES-WE SUGGEST YOU CHECK FOR LEAD IN PIPES

WATER SAFE-WE SUGGEST YOU CHECK FOR LEAD PIPES  AND LEAD WATER PIPES

With more than two-thirds of homeowners not knowing if their water is supplied through potentially harmful lead water pipes, WaterSafe, the UK register for approved plumbers, is urging everyone to take the scratch test on lead pipes and its something we are recommending here at Ability.

Lead water pipes-lead pipes
Images of water pipes

A recent survey of 2000 homeowners by WaterSafe revealed 68% don’t know if they have potentially harmful lead water pipes in their property. We recently have to remove a section of leaking lead water main for one of our customers in Sevenoaks.

Water used for drinking and cooking that has been supplied through lead pipes can lead to a build-up of lead in the body. This can be bad for health – especially for babies and children, whose development can be affected. So contact us here at Ability plumbing and heating and we will do everything in our knowledge and capabilities to help you with lead water pipes.

A further 53% of homeowners don’t know that it’s their responsibility to replace lead pipes they find in their home. Watersafe say they need to replace them with copper or plastic ones approved for tap water.

Lead water pipes-lead pipes
Diagram of water main layout

Julie Spinks, Director of WaterSafe, says: “We’re asking property owners to do one thing during Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (Oct 21-27) –  check your homes and business premises for lead water pipes, especially if you have an older property. It’s quite simple – find the water pipe where it enters your home, which is usually in a kitchen cupboard or under the stairs. Lead pipes are normally dull grey and soft and if you scrape the surface gently with a coin you’ll see the shiny silver-coloured metal underneath. It’s quite distinct from copper or plastic. If the pipes are painted, just scrape the paint off too.”

Lead Pipes.

At Ability, we are qualified in water regulations and unvented water safety. The use of lead in plumbing has been banned in the UK for more than 25 years, so it’s houses built before 1970 that are most likely to have lead pipes.

Homeowners who find they do have lead pipes should contact their water supplier, who can test the levels of lead in the drinking water and offer advice on replacing them. so call Ability and book an engineer to check your lead water pipes.

WaterSafe recommends employing an approved plumber from its UK register to replace pipes, as they are fully qualified in the water supply regulations and are promoted by water companies to keep drinking water safe in homes. Find local, approved plumbers using a postcode search at watersafe.org.uk

How much does it cost to buy a new boiler?

How much does it cost to buy a new boiler?

An experiment showed wildly different quotes for installing exactly the same boiler. An investigation has revealed a staggering difference in quotes for installing a new boiler. You turn on your ailing boiler on a cold winter’s morning and discover that it’s finally given up the ghost.

new boiler
New Boiler

The tempting thing to do is to call out the first available boiler engineer. But that could turn out to be a very costly mistake, exclusive research reveals.

Its always best to get more than one quotation and we do not recommend you necessarily go for the cheapest. Shop around, however, be cautious.

The quotes in this experiment, received for the same type of boiler, being installed in the same location, varied by as much as £3,200. One quote came in at a suspiciously low £1,500, and another at an eye-watering £4,764.

New Boiler

The investigation suggests that you don’t necessarily need to pay more to get the very best boiler. The quotes in this experiment for three of the Best boiler brands were no higher than quotes for brands that get middling scores in our boiler brand reviews. If you need a new boiler, make sure you get one that will last by picking from one of the best boiler brands. How much is a new boiler? The median price of the ten quotes was £2,595, with one as low as £1,500 and one as high as £4,764.

new boiler
New Boiler

At Ability, we aim to match or beat any like for like boiler quotation that you are willing to compare with us, and our quotation. So if you liked our approach and our presentation or quotation was your prefered option, then we would suggest you give us the chance to look at the competitive quotations you have and offer you a better deal for the same work.