Appliance Safety For the Vulnerable Living Alone

Ability provides assistance throughout Kent, East and West Sussex areas including with gas appliances, as well as heating, plumbing and electrics.

With an increase in the elderly and disabled choosing to live independently at home, with support from carers and families, greater care needs to be taken to make sure all appliances are working effectively. Carers have a duty of care to those they look after and one of their main priorities is to keep these vulnerable people safe within their homes. Research, however, has shown that many people are at risk due to unsafe gas appliances.

It has been alarmingly reported that 1 in 5 people have unsafe boilers, fires and cookers in their homes. When asked in a recent survey, carers said they did not know the key signs of a gas appliance being faulty and could not say whether the people they looked after had a C02 alarm and whether it was working efficiently.

Ability has previously mentioned in other posts the importance of having a C02 alarm in every household to eliminate carbon monoxide poisoning when an appliance goes wrong and we can’t reiterate this point enough.

Carers and families looking after loved ones should check their appliances regularly and look out for signs and symptoms of faults and get these rectified immediately.

LPG-propane gas boiler-calor gas repair-lpg boiler breakdown-boiler gas emergency
Bright blue flame

Some of the main signs are; increased condensation inside windows, the pilot light on the boiler going out and regularly being relit, floppy yellow or orange flames on gas appliances when they should be bright blue and black sooty marks around the gas appliance.

If you would like Ability to carry out a repair, service or check a gas appliance is safe please call 01892 514495 or email info@ability.uk.com and we would be happy to assist

Gas Safety Week Awareness For Homeowners

Gas Safety Week is one of the biggest events in the plumbing and gas calendars, raising awareness of the perils of poorly installed and maintained gas appliances in the UK. Daniel Moon explains why Ability Plumbing Heating Electrical is throwing its full support behind this industry initiative.

The annual Gas Safety Week – running 16-22 September 2019 – encourages property owners, businesses and installers to promote best practice to assure gas appliances function as safely as possible.

Here at Ability, we fully support Gas Safety Week and are fully committed supporters of best practice throughout the year. If gas appliances, including cookers and boilers, are not maintained or installed correctly they can be dangerous to human health, causing all major incidents including gas leaks, carbon monoxide poisoning and even explosions, much attention is needed and this Gas Safety week is important for that.

Therefore, in raising the profile of events such as Gas Safety Week make significant differences where it matters most. As well as calling for best practices across the industry, it also brings companies like us at Ability, within the plumbing and heating community together to participate in a broader conversation on what needs to be improved. This helps to give them reassurance that their boiler has been installed competently while also offering long term peace of mind.

Statistics show 1 in 10 people do not have their gas appliances serviced regularly, which suggests homeowners are probably unaware of whether the appliances they use every day are safe or not.

At Ability our Installers are in the best position to fly the flag of best practise and advise homeowners on gas safety week, however, that’s not to say the responsibility lays solely at their door. It is essential that manufacturers join the fight in educating end-users as well. There are many good boiler manufacturers behind the scheme too.

Events such as Gas Safety Week do well to inform homeowners on the importance of boiler servicing and using properly qualified engineers for any work on gas appliances. So here at Ability, we can be proud to get behind Gas Safety Week and show the public how to remain safe.

The Hive Home Heating System Always Keeping You Warm

With the colder weather approaching and the nights drawing in, we will start to put the heating on.  Why go home to a cold house, when with the Hive Home Heating control, you can put the heating on in readiness of your return home.

Hive Heating Systems

The Hive Home heating system is a small wall-mounted device which communicates to a sensor placed on the boiler.  It allows you to turn your heating on and off or alter the temperature of the thermostat from your smartphone wherever you are.

The Advantages of The Hive Home Heating Control

  • Always go home to a warm home
  • If you forget to turn the heating off you can do this from your smartphone
  • Savings on your energy bills
  • You are able to set up to 6-time slots to fit around your daily routine and can easily change them using the Hive app.
  • The Hive thermostat with geolocation will know when you have left the house and if you have left the heating on it will send an alert text so you can turn the heating off.  It will also enable you to set a timer to turn it back on when you are due home.
  • The Hive Home works with the majority of the UK gas and LPG central heating systems.
  • There is no hard wiring required as it is battery operated unlike the Nest

The Hive Home is not compatible with storage heaters or individual plug-in electric room heaters. Although it works with most heating systems an engineer would need to come and check your specific boiler.

Ability has engineers who work on both Gas and Oil systems. The engineers are Gas Safe and Oftec registered and are more than qualified to confirm whether the Hive Home would be compatible with your heating system.

Ability covers most of the South East in particular, Kent, East and West Sussex so if you would like a free no-obligation quotation please call 01892 514495 or email info@ability.uk.com

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.

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

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

Raising Carbon Monoxide Safety Awareness at Festivals

Ability provides heating, plumbing and electrical services in the Kent, West and East Sussex areas. The majority of us are aware of carbon monoxide safety within our homes and many of us have detectors. Of course, if readings become high companies such as ourselves are called in to rectify the problem, however, this tends not to be the case when having a bbq or attending a festival.

Festival organisers are being encouraged to raise awareness of the risk of CO poisoning. The All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG) have held discussions in parliament.

BBQ in open spaces

It is very easy to have a carefree attitude when attending festivals whilst the priority is to have fun, we do need to be aware of the risk of exposure to carbon monoxide.

BBQs should not be used in confined places such as tents. Manufacturers of BBQs will be asked to flag this warning on the packaging.

Staff working at the festivals should be trained to raise awareness of the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and intervene if somebody is acting recklessly.

Some of the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide are: dull headaches, vomiting, shortness of breath, confusion, blurred vision, dizziness and loss of consciousness these can all, of course, be signs of someone being intoxicated so staff should be trained to be vigilant. CO poisoning is particularly dangerous therefore for people who are intoxicated or asleep as these symptoms could easily be mistaken for something else.

Carbon Monoxide Safety Awareness

It has also been suggested that awareness should be raised on social media, mobile phone advertising, festival apps, promotional material and bands playing at the festival. They have also suggested that leading representatives from festival organisers, carbon monoxide campaign groups and gas industry should also get involved.

If you require assistance from Ability please call on 01892 514495 or email info@ability.uk.com

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.

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.