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.

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

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.

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.

Power Flush and Magnetic filters

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

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

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

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

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

Power Flush

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

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

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

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

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

Powerflush Friday is for system cleaning with powerflushing needs shown below

As the week pulls to a close we have had the busiest in the month of May and it doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon with a one powerflush complete and another powerflush to be booked in. We have been out and unblocked a system in Tunbridge Wells yesterday and we have another powerflush to do. An example below of why your system requires flushing is demonstrated in a photo. We come across this all to often. https://www.ability.uk.com/power-flush/

If sludge and debris is not removed from heating systems, it can accumulate in radiators, pipework and heat exchangers, causing severe blockages. This diminishes the transfer of heat and can result in pipe, radiator valve and heating control servo valve damage. In some cases this will eventually lead to the premature failure of the boiler. https://www.ability.uk.com/our-services/

 

Powerflushing is a popular method of cleaning and maintaining a central heating system. A powerflushing unit sends water at high velocity through the system to dislodge and remove debris, limescale, and sludge build-up. A thorough powerflush will improve heat distribution throughout the property, subsequently lowering household energy bills and increasing system reliability.

An initial check of the house should be completed, in addition to consulting with the homeowner. Potential highly sludged areas should be identified, i.e. cold radiators, as well as areas which are highly corroded. When highly corroded components are observed, the homeowner should be made aware that cleaning may expose leaks in the most corroded areas.

Central heating,powerflush,central heating,
Blocked heating pipes, blocked cold feed, poor radiator circulation

So if you require your system checked over or you would like a quotation call Ability as we are always happy to help in any way. We are always plumbing in your local area.

With plumbers, gas engineerds and central heating specialists in the Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, East Grinstead, Tunbridge Wells, Crowborough and surrounding areas we are always happy to help.

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