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March 27, 2012
How to Buy a New Boiler
Greenstar_CDi_condensing_combi_boiler_resized.jpgBuying a New Boiler - Step by Step Guide 

   Having any tradesman in can be traumatic for some people. After all we may not have a clue how the work is done or how much it's going to cost. Do we trust in the Gods and hope they are Professionals, that they say they are, or do we try and narrow down the odds, and hope that the 'Cowboy' doesn't turn up to lasso us in.

   As a tradesman myself I have a certain empathy for the layman. It should be down to us 'Professionals' to waylay your fears and hopefully put trust back into our society. I therefore decided to write a short 'Check-list' for when you decide to pluck up the courage to change your boiler. Perhaps you can look it over and give some feedback on how I could improve it. Anyway this is what I wrote.


   Buying or changing your boiler is one of the major purchases you will make for your home. You therefore need to take a few cautionary steps to ensure that the new boiler is not only reliable and has a good manufacturer's backup, but also that the installing company are reliable and provide a good after sales service. After all, if you haven't had dealings with a company before, then you obviously will be wary. I know I would.

   So I hope this check list will be of help, whether you have my company install your new boiler, or one of our competitors. I have not gone deeply into each and ever type of boiler here, and all the different combinations of systems, but I hope it will give you a starting point.

   If you can get a recommendation from a friend or family all the better. Even just speaking with family, friends and work colleagues can help. What boiler or system do they have. If not..

   Look at websites or publications that advertise trades that have been vetted, like 'Checkatrade'. They already have confirmed that they have liability Insurance, are Gas Safe registered, and are qualified for the work you require. In addition, they will or may have, previous customer feedback that you can browse.

   Check a few of the companies websites. They will all be telling you how good they are, but look beyond that. Check for prices, warranty periods and guarantee periods.

   Choose the best three companies you feel are genuine. They will need to make a site visit, which could take initially up to a hour, so plan ahead a convenient time suitable to you.

   Either call the company or email them to arrange a visit. If they respond promptly , are helpful, polite and understanding then your one step closer. They should all give a written quotation. Verbal is not enough.

   On the site visit ask what boiler and model they intend to supply and do they have any details. All boilers now are energy efficient, so that's one less thing to worry about. The reason for this is that you can compare details later with other quotes, and if you wish check the models out on the web, for any inherent problems, others may have experienced. The quotes will all differ in costs. A high cost may not necessarily be the best with the best quality boiler. A very cheap deal is probably just that – you pay for what you get! Again you can check out what boilers are the better ones on independent comparison / review websites.

   Are you happy with the location of the boiler. If not ask for alternative locations.

   Check how long the work will take and how soon they would be able to start. Up to a day is normal for a straight change if done correctly including flushing and commissioning.

   When the quote arrives, check to ensure all charges include the boiler, all sundries, labour, removal of all waste, and any remedial work. Have they included a warranty, guarantee and confirmation the boiler will be notified? (You will receive certification that this is done from 'Gas Safe'). Check for any terms and conditions.

   Once you have chosen your company, arrange for the work to be done.

   DO NOT GIVE ANY MONEY IN ADVANCE. By all means pay them for materials once you have the materials delivered, but do not pay the remainder until all the work is completed and you are satisfied.

   Ensure they explain all the controls to you, and what to do if a problem should occur.

   I hope these points are of help, and your ordering of a new boiler is not too traumatic. If we can help just give us a call, we would be pleased to answer any of your questions or concerns.

   If you like this tip, please share below.

Good Luck

Philip Moggridge


March 23, 2012
Radiator Heating Problems

radiator.jpgRadiator Problems

 DIY answer to cold radiators

 Are you finding your radiators are not heating your room enough? Do you dread calling out a plumber, fearing he is going to find something drastically wrong and expensive? Do you therefore put on another jumper and hope the problem will go away or sought itself out? Well there are a number of things you can do, which may help the situation, and it will only cost you time.

 Radiators do not radiate heat like a fire does. It's true name should be and is, a convector, because it convects heat into your room. In other words, the cold air circulating along your floor is drawn up through your radiator. It is heated and the hot air rises towards your ceiling. Then as it cools and is replaced with more hot air, it drops back down toward your floor. This cycle will continue as long as your radiator is warm and is working at it's designed performance. This is where you come in to check.

 If you can imaging inside your radiator, that cycle of hot and cold circulation, is going on just like the air passing over it. The radiator is full of vertical vents. The hot water comes in one end, rises to the top of the radiator, and as it cools drops down and goes out the other end. Now that you understand the principles or radiator heating you can look for clues to why it isn't working as it should.

 Check list of Radiator Problems and Solutions

 Q. Does the radiator feel evenly heated all over, or are there any cold spots – for example cold at the top and warm at the bottom?

 A. Use a bleed key to let air out of the radiator. If you have a sealed central heating system then you will need to re-pressurise it. If air or water doesn't come out then check your system is pressurised or your small 'feed and expansion' tank has water in it. Then try again.

 Q. Are all the radiators the same temperature or is it just the one?

 A. If they are all the same temperature raise the temperature setting on your boiler. If it is just a single radiator then try adjusting (opening) the dial on the radiator valve. This would be in an anticlockwise direction.

 Q. Is the radiator hot but doesn't seem to heat the room?

 A. Check to make sure there are no restrictions to the flow of air under and above the radiator. Take a look down the back and between the panels. Are they clear?

 Q. Does the radiator have a Thermostatic Radiator Valve ( TRV)?

 A. Sometimes TRV's become stuck which inhibit the flow of water through the radiator. The top usually comes off by unscrewing a ring just under the top of the TRV. Take the top off and you will see a little pin in the middle of the valve. Using something flat give it a gentle push up and down. That may release it.

 These are just a number of checks you can make before calling out your local plumber. If the radiator seem to be undersized for the room, and your not in a position yet to have the radiator changed, there are a couple of options you could consider.

 Fit a 'Radiator Reflector Panel' behind the radiator, which will deflect the heat back into the room.

Add a 'Radiator Booster' which is a plug in that sits on top of the radiator.

Looking After Your Shower

February 22, 2012
Shower Tile Cleaning
Shower Tile Cleaning Made Easy

I started writing this article on 'How to keep your Shower looking like new' and I've scrapped it and started over. Why? Because I've found an even easier way of returning your shower tiles, grouting and seal back to that new look. I've read many articles covering the same topic, involving lots of elbow work, and various chemical concoctions. Some lethal, some green, and some that would rot the soles of your feet. I've had enough. So I carried out, what I expected would be the perfect cleaner, and tested it. With excellent results.

It doesn't include lots of elbow work, scrubbing until your arms ache.

It doesn't involve getting into your birthday suit. Although you can if you really want.

It doesn't use strong, powerful, fluorescent cleaners, with muscle men on the label.

It does involve scrapping and stripping out the old grout and sealant and starting again.

We all get it, nice black mildew, lime-scale and orange staining on the tile grout and sealant. Heart breaking. So what do we do? We go and buy expensive cleaning agents, that don't work. Then we buy more, stronger, more expensive cleaning agents, which I think make matters worse. Yes, they may clean the grout, but the corrosive properties of the chemicals, what are they doing to your grout and seal? Eating it away of course. So then you have to re-grout and re-seal. Vicious circle. So what's the answer. Simple.

I bet in your kitchen cupboard you have a bottle of thick bleach that you buy, quite cheaply, every week or so, from your local supermarket. Kills 99% of household germs, so they say, and you use it to clean work tops, sinks, toilets and bathrooms. You may even use it for 'bleaching' clothing.

Well, for your information, it not only kills those germs, it get rid of all that mould growing on your grout. I'm not going into how it happens, because your not interested, it's only results your after. It's not corrosive, but it is an irritant, so be careful not to get it on your skin. Always read the label to check before use, on the type of surfaces it is suitable for. Anyway this is how I returned my shower back to that new look.

Before I left for work, I grabbed the bottle of thick bleach, and drizzled it across the tiles, from above, where the grout starts to discolour. Then gently with a brush (washing up type with the plastic handle), I directed the bleach across and down the grout lines and seals, being careful not to get it on my skin or clothing.. When I returned from work that day I used the shower hose to spray the walls. JOB DONE.

Psst. For you men out there, that are house trained, this is a godsend. Don't tell the wife. Let her carry on thinking, you've been scrubbing for England, but don't get it on your clothing, otherwise you'll be for it. What you do with this extra time, whilst your waiting for the bleach to do it's work, is up to you.

If you like this tip, please share below.

Good Luck

Philip Moggridge

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