When the temperature outside falls below zero, your boiler and heating system can get affected. In fact, when you need your boiler and heating the most the condense pipe of the boiler can get frozen. If the condense pipe of your boiler is too small or isn’t insulated properly, chances are high that it will freeze because of the water residue that stays in the pipe when you use your heating.
Every year we get countless of calls when the first proper cold hits the city. Many customers experience that their boiler is not working and the fault code often indicates that there’s an issue with the condense pipe, which has frozen. Naturally, this will stop the boiler from working because the condensation has nowhere to get out of the system.
If this happens to you, our advice for a temporary fix is to pour some hot water either down the pipe or on the pipe to melt the ice. Then restart you boiler and turn on the heat again. Repeat the procedure if the ice hasn’t melted.
This type of failure should however not be happening at all, and does not happen where we have installed the boilers. The reason it happens is that the condense pipe is the wrong size, in that case a a bigger pipe should be fitted. The problem could also be solved by insulating the external section of the condense pipe. To fix this problem permanently, contact your plumber to get the condense pipe replaced or insulated.
Call us on 02073502511 or email email@example.com if you need our help.
1 BOILER = 1 TREE
Trees for Cities will plant a tree for every boiler you install with us.
Ever since we started this company 15 years ago, our driving motto has been to take care of our customers. To deliver the best possible service, add value and do our bit to make our customers lives better. We’ve always known that we work in an industry that is by its very nature, carbon negative.
Now, much has been done by the UK government and most boiler manufacturers to increase the energy efficiency of gas boilers. Most new boilers are up to 70% more efficient than they were 50 years ago. But the negative impact of heating appliances are still the second largest contributor to a household’s carbon footprint.
We’ve decided to do something about it.
We will plant a tree for every boiler you install with us.
It’s important to us to become a sustainable business. So we’re doing as much as we can. We don’t want our existence to be fundamentally harmful to our environment. That’s why we’ve decided to partner with Trees for Cities. With every boiler we install, we will plant a tree. That’s our commitment. We will do something, even if the problem of climate change is too big for us to tackle, we believe everyone should take small steps and do something.
Our Partnership with Trees for Cities
Trees for cities are the only UK charity working both nationally and internationally to create greener cities. So far, they’ve planted 801, 351 trees.
As well as working to make cities greener, they also do significant work to educate children about their environment and healthy eating. They’ve worked to educate more than 11,200 school children about trees and ways they could contribute to a healthy environment.
Over to you
Now it’s your turn. Installing a boiler with us means that you’re planting a tree to offset your carbon footprint. Get a quote now to see what your boiler will cost and you can leave the tree planting to us.
If you want to match our pledge to save the planet one tree at a time, visit Trees for cities and click the donate button to contribute to planting more trees. Hey, it’s a great idea for a birthday gift.
Mainsboost can help with water pressure and flow issues. Earlier this month, we wrote on how to improve water pressure and flow in your home. It’s an issue lot’s of our customers have to deal with, especially in London, where poor water pressure and flow rates can vary -resulting in a poor showering experience for those with electric showers.
We went up to the Stuart Turner training facility to learn more about the Mainsboost Products and how they can significantly improve water pressure and flow for the outlets in your home.
Flomate systems are designed to be connected directly to the incoming mains. They’re designed to be compact and simple to install and can typically fit into a standard kitchen cupboard, saving you space. They also connect easily because all they need is a water mains and electricity supply. The range comes in different sizes
Flomate 60, Flomate 80 and Mainsboost Flomate 300 (which are designed for larger properties with multiple bathrooms and outlets which may be in use at the same time.
In this video, our director PJ Luard talks about the different options and which may be suitable for your home and needs.
Water pressure and flow – what does it mean?
Water pressure is simply how we measure the force of water that gets through from the mains into the pipes in your home. We measure it in “bars”.
All you need to know is that the force needed to push water to a height of 10 metres is a bar. Flow is the quantity of water that comes out of your tap when you open it.
Pressure is constant from the mains, flow changes depending on the quality of your taps, the size of their aperture, the pipe sizing under the floor and any filters in place. Both flow and pressure are affected if multiple taps or outlets in the house are in use at once.
Why is water pressure and flow important?
Sometimes water pressure and flow in your home is just not up to scratch. While your local water authority has to provide you with a certain minimum amount of pressure, is that always really enough for a refreshing shower in this heat? Here, we explore what the main causes of low water pressure are and what you can do about it. So many homes in the UK now use combi boilers and these are connected directly to the mains water supply, they don’t use storage tanks or pumps. That’s why sometimes when you’re showering and someone else opens a tap you notice that your water flow drops.
How to test water flow
To test your water flow:
- – Take a measuring jug (about 1-2 litres in size)
- – Put it under the tap you’re testing
- – Time how long it takes to fill the jug.
Ideally, a 1 litre measuring jug should fill up in about 7 seconds – anything less than that indicates that there may be a problem and you should call your plumber to investigate it. 9-10 litres /minute of flow from your mains cold tap is good. 15-20+ litres/ minute is great and not uncommon in many properties.
Source: Water Pressure Problems
Credit: Salamander Pumps
Water pressure and your boiler
Check with your heating engineer for advice before installing a combi as some of them may not work below a particular pressure level. Your combi boiler should be sized to fit the flow rate you have.
Some causes of low water pressure:
– Increased demand in your neighbourhood (e.g in the mornings and evenings when everyone is showering)
– Poor plumbing (e.g leaking water mains, blocked service pipes etc)
– Larger houses with multiple bathrooms in use at the same time
Fixing Low Water Pressure
If your water flow is too low, call a plumber to check that there is no problem with your pipes. They will be able to measure pressure and flow rates and work out if the problem is peculiar to your property or your local area. If they can’t find the issue, the problem might be external. There may be long term work going on in the street, and so on. In that case you should contact your local water authority. For South West London, that would be Thames Water.
Boilers shown: Greenstar 28CDi Compact | Greenstar 15Ri | Greenstar 24i and 30i
The best boiler manufacturers are brands including Worcester Bosch, Vaillant and Viessmann are well known and have been manufacturing boilers for a long time.
Choosing a well known brand is only half the battle, however, as you need to make sure that the boiler manufacturer you end up sticking with not only makes quality products that are reliable, but also receive industry approval (from engineers) and offer great customer care. In this article, we’ll speed through the top brands we work with and tell you which brands you can trust.
Best Boiler Manufacturers: What’s the criteria?
Before launching into a comparison of boiler manufacturers, let’s first explain what criteria we’re measuring them against:
– Quality and reliability, measured in terms of frequency of breakdowns.
– Customer care and follow up.
– Recommendations from installation engineers.
Best Boiler Manufacturers: Who are the main brands?
Vaillant is a German company, so it benefits from that famed German engineering expertise. They’ve been a key player in the market for 100 years and more, so you can trust they know what they’re doing. They’re a well known brand across the world, with their boilers selling across 80 different countries – showing that they’re trusted to produce some of the better quality heating appliances. Their boiler range caters to different home sizes, from their basic EcoTec Pro to the more robust EcoTec plus with prices ranging from £740 to £1,500. Research shows that Vaillant customers are happy with the product, reporting that when breakdowns do occur, the 200 strong team of engineers responded to problems quickly, arranging for repairs to be carried out in good time.
Ideal is a boiler manufacturer based in Hull. They too have been manufacturing heating appliances for over 100 years. Their Logic and Logic + combi, system and conventional boilers range in price from £590 to £2,200 depending on the size and how complex the technology is. Customers have complained about reliability, with faults sometimes occurring within the first year of installation.
Worcester Bosch have been manufacturing boilers since 1962. As part of the larger Bosch group, they have over 2,000 employees based in Worcester and Derbyshire. Several Worcester Bosch boilers have been named winners in the Which? magazine Best Boiler category for 2017. Their domestic boilers include the Greenstar junior and Greenstar Si series, with prices ranging from £570 to £2,488. The Worcester Accredited Installer Scheme is run internally by Worcester among their installers to ensure that their boilers are installed correctly. Worcester Accredited Installers are given this status based on how well they represent the values of customer service and efficiency that Worcester upholds*.
*WPJ Heating is a Diamond level Worcester Accredited Installer. Diamond is the highest rank attainable and means Worcester trusts us to deliver the best service possible, installing their products exactly as intended. This usually means we’re able to provide longer guarantees than other Worcester Bosch installers.
Baxi has been manufacturing boilers and heating appliances since 1866. It’s now a part of BDR Thermea, the parent company of two other boiler manufacturing companies – Potterton and Main. Baxi boilers tend to be cheaper than other brands, with prices ranging from £650 to £1,170 and coming with only a two year warranty.
Viessmann has also been manufacturing boilers for a good 100 years. They’ve expanded internationally, with their boilers selling in over 11 countries. Similar to Worcester, many of the boilers in their range won in the Which? Magazine Best Boiler category in 2017. Their condensing combi boilers have proved popular, and their range is priced from £750 to £1500. Viessmann customers were happy, often recommending their products to family and friends. Their heating appliances were considered very reliable and don’t break down often.
Best Boiler Manufacturers: What does the research show?
Worcester Bosch ranks highest across the board in terms of reliability, customer satisfaction and recommendations from engineers. Viessmann comes close on their heels – scoring just as high on the customer satisfaction and reliability, but aren’t recommended as much by engineers.
To read more about the Which? Best boiler brands survey, click here if you’re a member.
Heating system controls can be divided into two main parts programmer, and a room thermostat
As part of our boiler guide series, we’re exploring products that accompany your boiler installation to keep it working at optimum levels and suit your lifestyle. When making a boiler purchasing decision, it’s important to budget and account for bolt-ons like the heating system controls and filters. This post will focus exclusively on heating system controls and in our next boiler guide post, we’ll look at bolt-ons that help you maintain good water quality and therefore system health.
Getting the right heating controls with your boiler installation can make all the difference to the operation and efficiency of your system. Giving you an added way to boost its performance and keep it working for even longer.
Heating system controls can be divided into two main parts- a timer or programmer, and a room thermostat. Here, we’ll explain what each add-on is and how it helps.
Heating System Controls: Programmers
Programmers allow you to set different times for different days of the week for your heating and hot water to come on. They can take into account how often you’re at home, the rooms you use most often and sometimes respond to the weather outside by adjusting your boiler’s output accordingly.
Room thermostats will measure the air temperature in the room and allow you to set the level you find comfortable. It will then communicate with your boiler to switch it on and off to maintain the temperature you’ve set.
Programmable Room Thermostats
These combine the functions of a room thermostat and a programmer to control the heating of your whole house from just one unit. When set correctly they save you on energy costs because they wouldn’t have to heat your home from a completely cold start, the boiler simply comes on and off to heat the house when the temperatures in the rooms increase or decrease.
Thermostatic Radiator Valves
A thermostatic radiator valve is fitted to a radiator so you can control the temperature of that room by altering the flow of hot water into the radiator. As the temperature increases or decreases, the valve slowly opens or closes, responding to the ambient air temperature in the room, and changing the amount of hot water flowing through the radiator, maintaining a consistent temperature you’ve chosen. TRVs can save you money on your bills as well as your home’s carbon footprint by ensuring your heating system uses energy efficiently. Rooms that aren’t often used can be easily turned right down for example.
Heating System Controls: Intelligent Heating
Bear in mind, standalone room thermostats and programmers will set and control the temperature of the whole property at the same time. New to the market now though are a series of controllers that take the incorporation of modern technology one step further. These are termed intelligent heating controls and give you further control over your system’s management of heat to fit around your lifestyle. Here are some great examples:
The Wave is part of Worcester’s smart controls offering that allows you to control your system from an app on your smartphone over an internet connection. It allows you to take advantage of Worcester controls best features – including load and weather compensation. As well as being able to control the temperature in different rooms, it automatically senses when people are at home. Also, you can start heating your home before you get there because you can use the app to set the temperature in your house from anywhere in the world. They can sync with local weather forecasts to optimise start and stop times for the boiler to come on or modulate.
Heatmiser also offers an intelligent heating control in its neoStat range. It allows you to control your heating from anywhere for your convenience. The phone app allows you to create and save new programs and alter settings via your smartphone. Changes are instant, so if your schedule changes, or you’re going on holiday, altering the settings are only one click away. Multi zoning also gives you complete control over your underfloor heating system. Another great adaptation to the busy schedules of people today.
Similarly, Evohome gives you more control over your home’s heating by allowing you to control the temperature in any part of your home and save money all from your smart phone. You can add as many rooms or zones as you choose, as well as most types of gas heating systems – so whether you’ve got an underfloor heating system or radiators as your emitters. The Evohome is wireless, so installing it doesn’t require a great deal of renovation.
With all these different options available, your heating installation expert is best placed to conduct a thorough consultation and advise you on what solutions are best for your home and comfort.
This week, we’re continuing our boiler basics series. We’ve covered things to think about, what a new boiler will cost and different types of boilers. To sum up, here’s a quick fire list of 17 dos and don’ts when you come to install your new boiler.
Boiler Guide: Things to do
Make sure your installer is Gas Safety accredited.
Get 2 or 3 quotes from local boiler installer companies. Price, guarantee and quality of workmanship can vary drastically.
Have a magnetic filter included in the installation, or at least have a good reason to omit it.
Make sure the system is suitably flushed to remove sludge and debris at the time of the installation.
Have corrosion inhibitor chemicals added at the time of installation to protect the new boiler.
Ensure the installer covers the surrounding area in protective sheets.
Make sure the manufacturer’s guarantee and Gas Safe Register paperwork are completed, sent off and logged online.
Ask your installer about follow-up care and annual servicing.
Check if you need new programmers, pumps, thermostats and other components on the system.
Expect the old boiler to be properly disposed of.
Boiler Guide: Don’t do this
Use an installer with a conspicuous lack of customer reviews. It’s the only way to check the reliability of your installer.
Ignore the importance of researching the manufacturer of the boiler being recommended by the installer to make sure it is suited to your needs.
Be afraid to ask any questions about everything so that you are clear on what to expect.
Feel you have to hang around all day during the installation. Good firms are tidy and responsible and can be left to it.
Expect to clean up afterwards or be left with piles of rubbish – This should all be taken care of.
Pay the balance until you are satisfied.
Be bamboozled by jargon in the quotes. Get at least three and seek clarity when comparing them.
A new boiler is a considerable investment. Maybe one of the most important purchasing decisions for your home. It isn’t an everyday purchase, so your choices need to be informed and carefully considered. Here are five things from the WPJ Boiler Guide, you need to know before you install a new boiler.
Your Old Boiler
This may sound obvious, but do you actually need a new boiler? Your needs might be a simple boiler service or maintenance check. Maybe you need to update your controls – the programmer or thermostat if you notice that your boiler doesn’t switch itself off when your house is warm enough. Or the burning flame (through the window of some old boilers) stays on permanently, then it’s worth investing in a new boiler.
Boilers that can’t regulate themselves by switching off when necessary are costing you more in your yearly gas bill.
How you use energy should influence which boiler you install. For example, the size of your property, how much space do you have? How many bathrooms do you use regularly? Should you install a system boiler or a combi boiler?. How many people live in your home? Is your family likely to grow? Do you have a loft? What’s the water pressure from your mains? These are questions that your heating engineer should explore with you.
Your engineer is a great source of information about your new boiler. There are many choices and a detailed discussion with an expert is necessary. Check to make sure your heating engineer is accredited and gas safe registered. Read about choosing a gas safe engineer here.
Bear in mind, most installation engineers will have an incentive to recommend a particular brand. Most companies that install boilers have arrangements with big boiler manufacturers. According to Which?, most people don’t know this and 93% of consumers trust the recommendations of their heating engineer. Now, your engineer’s deal with a boiler manufacturing brand doesn’t always affect their judgement. Good engineers will put your needs first. You can tell by the questions they ask you and the information they provide.
Make sure you check reviews online. Reviews from checkatrade.com, Google reviews and on social media can show you how trustworthy your engineer is.
We’ve established that a new boiler is a heavy investment. But there are a lot more cost related things to consider beyond how much you need to spend now. Future savings in utility bills and maintenance costs are just as significant. It is sensible to consider how durable the parts are and how long the warranty provided is. The Energy Saving Trust has said that 60% of your annual energy costs go to your boiler. So, it’s important that it runs as efficiently as possible.
Generally, most of the heat created by older boilers is lost, making them more expensive to run. You could save up to £652 on your annual gas bill by choosing a more efficient boiler. Make sure to ask questions relating to efficiency before making your decision.
Your Carbon Footprint
A boiler that is efficient will be more friendly to the environment. Ask your engineer about heat recovery devices you can use to recapture lost heat. For example, a passive flue heat recovery system can reclaim lost heat that escapes through the flue. If you have a cylinder, keep your hot water warm for longer by increasing the insulation. And if your heating system is old, chemical inhibitors might slow down the buildup of scale and sludge. This will prevent deterioration and improve efficiency.
While these measures can help in the short term, they do little to reduce your carbon footprint in the long term. Domestic boilers currently account for 21% of the UK’s total CO2 emissions.
You can explore more carbon efficient boilers – check the Carbon and Nitrogen Oxide emissions of your new boiler. Also, explore installing a solar thermal system, which uses renewable energy.
Finally, your installer needs to make sure your new boiler is energy labelled. This allows you to track the efficiency of your new boiler and its contribution to your home’s carbon footprint.
If you choose to sell your home in future, you will need to produce an Energy Performance Certificate. A highly efficient boiler will boost your EPC rating, which can make your home more profitable.