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

Which Smart Thermostat Is Right For You?

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

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

Google Thermostatic Control

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

Nest Thermostatic Control

Nest Thermostatic Control

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

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

Honeywell Thermostatic Control

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

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

Ecobee Thermostatic Control

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

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

Baxi Products And The Future Develops For A Greener Future

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

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

Manufacturing in the uk since 1866

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Gas Boilers To Be Banned In New Homes By 2025

It has been recommended to the government by the Committee on Climate Change to make a blanket ban on gas boilers being installed in new homes from 2025 to help tackle climate change.  The Chancellor has announced that it will be illegal for gas boilers to be installed into new build homes from 2025. They predict that non-fossil fuel boilers will, of course, be better for the environment but will also be cheaper to run. These drastic measures are being taken because the UK will not meet their targets to reduce greenhouse emissions by 80% by 2050 as anticipated.

It has been recommended that low carbon energy should be used as an alternative to the gas we currently use. The use of methane gas, which releases carbon needs to be phased out and replace with low or zero carbon gas such as biomethane or hydrogen.

Green gas compatible boilers

What Is The Alternative To Gas Boilers In The Future

It is suggested that green gas compatible boilers should be installed into new homes to enable the transaction from normal gas to green to happen seamlessly. The technology has been tested but further investment needs to be made for green gas to be implemented into our homes. With 90% of our homes using the gas foundation already it is essential that these investments are made. Currently, one-fifth of greenhouse emissions are being created from our homes and a high percentage of that is due to us burning fossil fuels for heating and hot water.

heating alternatives in the home

The alternative to using green fuel would be to return to electric heating which is very expensive to run and a step back in our progression to become as energy efficient as possible.

Ability have carried out boiler installations and repairs to gas boilers in the Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, East Grinstead, Heathfield and Crowborough areas for many years, so if you require any assistance one our friendly engineers will be happy to assist.

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.

gas combination boiler-gas safe-worcester bosch boilers

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

Does your Central Heating need a Power Flush?

Does your Central Heating need a Power Flush? We know that 80% of central heating systems require a power flush. We can now test your water in the radiators or boiler to determine the content and what will need to be done.

ABOUT THE PROBLEM

When our customers are experiencing poor circulation in their homes, such as ineffective radiators, it could be caused by hydrogen in radiators, and so it is essential to accurately identify the cause of the issue to resolve it properly. This guide can help you to conduct checks which will lead to an accurate diagnosis of the circulation problem.

central heating-power flush
The Ability Family

Identifying the Issue

  • Check if the boiler is operating correctly. Check the pressure of the burner. Does it remain alight?
  • Take a sample of radiator water. Examine it for suspended solids or discolouration which can indicate corrosion.
    • If there is a reddish tinge to the water, it indicates that iron oxide is present, suggesting active corrosion. The system may be drawing in air.
    • If there are black particles present in the water, these are most likely to be magnetite. As this is the final stage of corrosion, large deposits can be expected within the system.
    • If the water is clear water, it suggests that the system is free from active corrosion, but does not eliminate the possibility that corrosion has occurred in the past. It is possible that the circulation rate is not enough to keep debris in suspension. In this instance, you should check that the cold feed is not blocked.

Central Heating Cleaning and Power Flush Tips

central heating-power flush
Some of our registered bodies
  • If you are dealing with an open system, check the feed and expansion cistern. Is it clean, with no signs of pumping over or sucking-in through the open vent?
  • Check the pump. Is it correctly orientated and performing satisfactorily? Open all radiator valves, and, if necessary, vent the radiators. Note if the problem appears to be localised or general.
  • See if increasing the speed of the pump improves circulation. It is highly important to identify if there any radiators which fail to heat at all. If this is the case, it indicates that the system is blocked. Check all valves for free operation. If none are sticking, they are not the cause of the blockage. If you have established this, draw a sample of water from a cold radiator to check for sludge build up.
  • Do the system radiators need frequent venting? If gas is accumulating in one or more radiators, it is important to determine whether the gas is hydrogen sulphide, hydrogen or air.

Mobile Catering Gas Safety Checks; Festival Season

The festival season is upon us again and the glorious weather will entice everyone to attend outdoor events.  However, if you are planning on providing mobile catering to members of the public you will need to have a valid mobile catering gas safety check as it’s a legal requirement.  The certificate record can only be issued by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer who specifically holds the relevant professional qualification. The certificates need to be renewed on an annual basis.  Ability are able to provide the gas safety certification for mobile catering units and it’s also  important to remember that LPG is highly flammable and potentially dangerous so it needs to be treated with respect.  So let us help you and your commercial catering business remain fully compliant and contact us today to arrange for your LPG appliances to be checked and maintained.

Safety and maintenance; you need to consider the maintenance of pressure regulators and automatic change over devices; they should be located as close as they can to the actual cylinder. Flexible connections should be as short as possible but also be sufficiently long enough to provide the flexibility required without excessive strain on the hose or the end fittings.

gas safety check, lpg, mobile catering, butane, propane
mobile catering unit

When your LPG heating or boiler needs repairing, we are here to help. Our engineers are local, reliable, friendly and highly experienced in propane and butane gas. We will do everything to repair your system quickly and cost effectively. They will communicate with you at every stage so that you are always fully informed.

So wherever you maybe situated in the South East of England please don’t hesitate to call us at Ability and we will endeavour to help you with your gas safety check as we are always in and around the Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex and Surrey areas, in particular Tunbridge Wells, East Grinstead and Sevenoaks.

GAS FITTERS WIND DOWN FOR THE WEEKEND

A little on our gas fitters

Today we have a little information on our gas fitters, the evolution of the combi boiler, British manufacturers and mains water supply.

So as this week pulls to a close some are preparing their day off tomorrow or their night out Saturday. At Ability, we set the weekend rota between the Office, phones and Engineers on call. That’s how it is here at Ability, and this is how we continue to grow, with hard work and continuous long hours at times. Our gas fitters are always on call. mains water supply-british manufacturers-gas fitters

We are looking to provide you with an insight into the industry week by week and day by day if we can. So our regular Bolg posts and news feed updates are how we hope to keep up a good connection with our customers and build a relationship based on the truth about us and how we work, to improve our service to you the customer. So please call our gas fitters today.

Today we are going to talk about the Combination Boiler. A concept of the boiler that was not thought to take off in the industry, it was a revolution of its day and today dominates over 60% of the UK boiler market. This has seen us utilise our mains water supply.

The Combination Boiler-British Manufacturers

mains water supply-british manufacturers-gas fitters
A combi boiler is both a high-efficiency water heater and a central heating boiler, combined (hence the name) within one compact unit. Therefore, no separate hot water cylinder is required, offering space saving within the property.

A brief history of its arrival and The mains water supply

British manufacturers were aware of what was happening in Europe and in the 1970’s a number of them had a stab at the combination boiler, but it was not until the late 1970’s when the imports started to arrive that the British manufacturers really started to take notice. We realised the benefits of using our mains water supply.

Even though the imports had started to arrive, it was only a trickle at this stage, and one of the main problems was that a mains water connection to a central heating system was simply not permitted and the use of makeup bottles and the like were seen as a poor alternative. A change in water regulations in the 80’s to allow a temporary mains ‘filling loop connection’ to be made to the mains water supply was precisely what the combination boiler market had been waiting for.