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    VIDEO - Learn how to remove a radiator without draining it

    Tue 28th Jul 2015 - 12:54pm DIY Troubleshooting VIDEO - Learn how to remove a radiator without draining it


    Benjamin Clarke

    What if you need to get behind a radiator to paint the wall or to get rid of the last remianing remnants of some 1970s wall paper? Does it mean you have to drain down the whole system just so you can get behind the rad? No, it doesn't.

    Jimmy, the professionally qualified plumber, is on hand to take you through the process of removing a radiator from the wall without all the time and effort required to fully drain the system.

    Because you aren't draining the system, the radiator will be full of water and therefore very heavy, so if you are attempting to do this at home then it's a good idea to have someone on hand to helping with lifting the heavy radiator off the wall.

    As Jimmy explains in the video, it's very important to shut off the lockshield valves so that no more water can flow into the radiator. This will ensure that water does not rush out onto your floor when you remove the rad. It's also vital that you, not only relieve the pressure from the bleed valve, but also remember to shut the bleed valve after you have let out the pressure. If you don't do this, then air can get into the top of the rad, forcing water out of the bottom. As Jimmy says in the vid, he "cannot stress the importance of it enough." You've been warned.

    Make sure that you have some towels placed down on the floor because there will always be a few drips of water that splash out and, obviously, it's best if this dirty water doesn't go all over your floor, particularly if your home is carpeted.

    By following the instructions in this video, you will successfully have the knowledge to safely remove a radiator from your wall without completely draining down your central heating system. This will leave you with no excuses as to why you have painted that bit behind your radiator!

    The radiator used in this specific video is the Deco radiator. You can view all our deco style radiators at

    Article by Benjamin Clarke

    Why plumbers should keep hydrated to avoid crashing their van!

    Thu 23rd Jul 2015 - 10:43am Energy and Heating Why plumbers should keep hydrated to avoid crashing their van!


    Benjamin Clarke

    Something for all plumbers and heating installers who drive their own transportation to be aware of is some recent research by Loughborough University.

    Over a period of two days, a variety of tests were carried out on male drivers using a driving simulator. In one of the tests, all the men were considered to be ‘normally hydrated’ and the results on the driving simulator showed there were 47 driving incidents.

    However, when all the men were in a state of dehydration, the number of recorded driving incidents rocketed to 101 incidents. This figure is comparable to those under the influence of alcohol and drugs, with typical symptoms including late braking, lane drifting and running over into the hard shoulder.

    The male volunteers visited the laboratory and used the driving simulator and carried out the same tasks when hydrated and dehydrated. The hydrated tests were undertaken when the men were given 200ml of fluid an hour. They were considered dehydrated when they were given only 25ml per hour and the difference in results were clearly very noticeable.

    Over the last 40 years, government campaigns have successfully made drink driving socially unacceptable and society has become much more aware of the dangers involved. However, the effects of dehydration on the ability of drivers to safely control their vehicles is much less known and explored.

    The state of dehydration in the tests conducted by Loughborough University were considered to be mild and very reflective of the fluid taken in by a plumber who has worked a busy day. With 68% of all vehicle crashes in the UK caused by driver error, it is unknown how many of these are caused by dehydration.

    The general consensus is that plumbers should ensure that they are keeping well-hydrated by drinking around 2 - 3 litres of water per day, particularly during the summer months. Having a drink before a long journey and keeping a big bottle of water in the car would be advisable.

    Not only would keeping hydrated help a heating installer focus on driving when out on the road, but it would also enable them to provide a better service when arriving at a job due to improved concentration, which is a win-win situation for all involved.

    Article by Benjamin Clarke

    Why mandatory installation of TRVs should be added to The Building Regulations

    Tue 21st Jul 2015 - 11:21am Energy and Heating Why mandatory installation of TRVs should be added to The Building Regulations


    Benjamin Clarke

    In 2006, the Government removed the requirement for thermostatic radiator valves to be fitted when a boiler is replaced from Part L of the Building Regulations. This was a big error as it meant that installing one of the best energy-saving components of a central heating system was not made mandatory.

    Adding an individual room temperature control (like a TRV) was a requirement of Part L until it was dropped in 2006. The reason given at the time was it was something that should be seen as good practice but not necessarily a requirement.

    Legislation was introduced around 2006 that prohibited requirements to be placed on components that were not being changed. In effect, if it was just the boiler being changed, it was not legally possible to force the introduction of TRVs at the same time. In the eyes of the law, TRVs were seen as a system control, not a direct control of the boiler, so the requirement to add them was dropped from the Building Regulations.

    In many cases, installers recognised the benefits of fitting TRVs and the reduction of energy bills for consumers and so continued installing them. However, what has happened over the years is that many plumbers and installers adhering to the ‘good practice’ recommendations have found themselves undercut by other installers willing to do a job to only meet the minimum requirements - namely, not installing TRVs. In turn, this led to other installers offering a service to meet only the minimum requirements as a way of keeping up and maintaining their business. This has caused a huge drop in the number of TRVs being installed around the UK, which is not good for lowering energy bills or helping the UK to meet energy efficiency targets.

    It’s a shame that this situation has arisen, because when a new boiler is installed in a home, the system has to be completely drained down. A drained-down system is a perfect time to install thermostatic radiators and is a much more cost-effective time to do it, rather than installing them as a completely separate measure, which would be much more expensive.

    It seems a strange decision to drop the requirement to install TRVs when a new boiler is being installed, because during the same period, the requirement of installing condensing boilers to all new builds and replacements of old boilers was introduced. Additionally, underfloor heating systems are required to have room temperature controls as are new radiator systems. So it doesn’t make sense that these energy efficiency measures should be put in place, yet they leave out the requirement for TRVs, which actually enhance the already-efficient performance of condenser boilers.

    Research done by the University of Salford showed that adding a room thermostat and TRVs to a heating system could reduce the annual energy costs by as much as 40%. Failing to install TRVs has the potential to cause overheating in bedrooms and spare rooms, leading to unnecessary energy wastage and therefore, higher heating bills for the homeowner.

    In 2016, the new version of Part L of the Building Regulations is due and it is hoped that the previous mistakes and missed opportunities have been learnt from. It is time for the government to amend the regulations accordingly to ensure that all UK homes are comfortable, have low energy bills and become on target to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.

    The UK needs to hit its emissions targets, householders want to worry less about spending on their heating bills and more people need to be pulled out of fuel poverty, so we hope that policy makers make the correct decisions when they revise the Building Regulations next year by adding in the requirement to install TRVs when installing a new boiler. This will be in the long-terms interests of the country and the people.

    Article by Benjamin Clarke

    The government and the heating industry need to work together to create an eco-friendly UK

    Thu 16th Jul 2015 - 11:35am Energy and Heating The government and the heating industry need to work together to create an eco-friendly UK


    Benjamin Clarke

    There are lots of popular soundbites that have been thrown around in the last decade or so surrounding the environment. To name just a few:

    Climate change. Carbon footprint. Eco-friendly. Sustainable living. Renewable energy. Global warming. Greenhouse gases. Emissions.

    These have become very important words and phrases as we have become increasingly aware of the fragility of our planet. These words appear regularly in the media and we often hear of summits where world leaders gather to pat themselves on the back with the announcements of budget and reduction targets. However, these fancy words and meetings are only helpful if there is a detailed plan underpinning their aims.

    Because the majority of the UK’s energy consumption goes on creating heat, in 2012, the Heating & Hotwater Industry Council (HHIC) commissioned a report on what the necessary steps should be for the UK to successfully become a decarbonised country in regards to our domestic heating generation. The HHIC wanted to make sure than the plan included the use of a mixture of all types of fuels and technologies, which is in stark contrast the previous government initiatives that have solely focused on all-electric solutions.

    The resulting report has come up with practical and achievable suggestions that has roles for both the Government and industry in helping the UK to reduce carbon emissions and to reach various targets that need to be met.

    - There needs to be a committed long-term policy for heat generation. The report suggests that the current use of ‘incentives’ to encourage the use of more eco-friendly products and behaviour is not effective enough. It feels that regulations enshrined in law is the only way that the heating industry and the public will have the knowledge and confidence to fully invest themselves in alternative heating systems.

    - Long-term policies will encourage investment in new technologies. If the ‘money men’ see that the government is seriously committed to eco-friendly technologies for the long haul, then, provided the government take all the necessary steps to make it worthwhile, people and businesses will feel encouraged to make financial commitments for the development of new products and technologies. All new technologies take time to come to fruition so the sooner people can be persuaded to invest, the better.

    - The government needs to seriously listen to experts within the heating industry. It is these people who have the knowledge and expertise in the sector, and it is ultimately these people who will be driving forward the new technologies. Therefore, the government should actively engage with these experts so that the process of creating high quality and efficient products and the subsequent roll-out and take up among consumers can be as smooth and effective as possible.

    - The heating industry needs to work hard on making customers aware of the existence of many new technologies and products. Traditional, carbon-heavy products are so ingrained in the mind of the public, that the industry will need to make a concerted effort to increase their knowledge and awareness.

    - Additionally, the heating industry needs to ensure it presents the alternative technologies in a very positive light that clearly highlights the benefits and gains to consumers. It is no use if the fantastic, low-carbon products exist but homeowners do not feel happy about installing them. All information given to consumers must be clear, concise and comparable. The more consumers understand and are comfortable with new and emerging technologies, the happier they will be with using them in their homes.

    Clearly the government has a massive role to play in creating regulations, removing barriers and encouraging investment in the eco-friendly market. However, the role of the heating industry in helping the UK become a carbon-free society should definitely not be underestimated.

    Householders are interested in their heating system being reliable and keeping them warm when they most need it. It is estimated that as much as 85% of new home heating systems are made by heating installers on behalf of the customer, rather than the customer making the purchase directly themselves. This clearly demonstrates the power that the heating installer has on what products, technologies and systems are used in homes across Britain, so it is vital that installers create an environment whereby the customer is happy with eco-friendly technologies and that they understand the benefits to their lives (and their bank balance), as well as being made aware of any applicable financial incentives or assistance.

    It is definitely possible for the UK to hit its carbon emissions targets and to become a genuinely more eco-efficient society. However, this can only happen if the government and heating industry are pulling in the same direction and are actively engaging the public to successfully get them onboard for the long journey ahead.

    Article by Benjamin Clarke

    How flexible heating controls will benefit all UK homes

    Tue 14th Jul 2015 - 10:43am Energy and Heating How flexible heating controls will benefit all UK homes


    Benjamin Clarke

    It’s been estimated that the UK has 1.4 million people who require specially adapted housing to meet their everyday needs. For this reason, the Lifetime Homes Standard was introduced to make it easy to design and build such properties easily, efficiently and consistently.

    The Lifetime Homes Standard contains a list of 16 criteria that all new build housing should conform to in terms of their design. Most importantly for the heating industry is Criterion 16, which states that switches, socket outlets and ‘other equipment’ (e.g. radiators) are installed at a height of between 450mm - 1200mm above the finished floor level.

    Additionally, Criterion 16 specifies that thermostatic radiator valves should be installed at least 300mm from a corner of a room, the idea being that they are easily within reach for those with disabilities or limited reach and movement. This ensures that TRVs are easily adjustable without the need for bending over, particularly important for the elderly and wheelchair users.

    With these specifications in mind, it’s now increasingly important for installers to be aware of their customers’ needs and aware of the heating products that exist with flexible controls. Having this knowledge at their fingertips will ensure excellent customer service for those with special requirements and will assist them greatly in achieving comfortable temperatures within their homes.

    Recent research has shown that having TRVs installed can make a huge difference in energy efficiency and consumption. Statistics recently released by The Association of Controls Manufacturers showed that by adding a room thermostat and thermostatic radiator valves, consumers could save as much as £410 annually on their heating bills.

    Of course, having TRVs installed is only of use if the occupant of the house can actually reach them, so some manufacturers have experimented with designs that allow for adjustable TRVs. The adjustable TRVs can be slid to the top or the bottom of the radiators, making them easily accessible, whatever the customers’ impairment. This provides a nice alternative to the traditional placement of TRVs in a fixed position at the bottom of a radiator.

    Another revolutionary design idea within the heating industry is the introduction of ‘central connections.’ Rather than pipes being connected to radiators at either end, this idea allows for all pipework to be connected at a central point within each radiator. This means that all pipework can be installed before the addition of any radiators or heated towel rails, without the need for adjustments or re-piping caused by varying widths of radiators. It also means that if any radiators need to be changed, then they can be swapped out very easily without the need for expensive and disruptive adjustments to the pipework.

    Currently there are many positive developments within the heating and home-building industries which should benefit all homeowners, regardless of whether they are able-bodied or disabled. Improvements like those outlined above will help to ensure that Britain’s homes go into the future having efficient and flexible technologies, improving the standard of living for everyone involved.

    Article by Benjamin Clarke