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    Gas Safety Week - September 14th - 20th, 2015

    Thu 27th Aug 2015 - 9:28am Press Gas Safety Week - September 14th - 20th, 2015

    Benjamin

    Benjamin Clarke

    Amazingly, we are approaching the 5th annual Gas Safety Week, that runs between 14th - 20th September. Last year was a huge success with the public really being made aware just how important registered engineers are when it comes to keeping the public safe.

    The event this years is expected to be even bigger with a huge number of industry bodies, businesses and engineers having already pledged their support. Such participation is excellent and much-needed, especially after some recent research revealed some interesting statistics:

    57% of heating engineers surveyed said they had switched off a potentially deadly gas appliance in the past year. Countless numbers of lives could have been saved as a result of their actions.
    48% of those heating engineers who had turned off potentially deadly gas products said the reason the situation had got so serious was due to a lack of maintenance on the appliances.

    Throughout Gas Safety Week, the general public will be encouraged to sign up at StayGasSafe.co.uk where they can opt to receive reminders regarding annual maintenance of their heating system and associated gas components. Many people simply don’t realise that their boilers need yearly maintenance in order to remain safe and efficient, so that message will really be attempted to be driven home.

    Heating installers will be encouraged to make customers aware of what the Gas Safety Register is and to make them aware that only registered engineers can legally and safely work on gas products. Installers are also encouraged to make a show of their Gas Safe Register ID and to explain how customers can check the register to ensure gas workers are who they say they are and have the necessary qualifications.

    There will also be a massive Gas Safety drive across the local radio station network with specialist presenters and programmes being broadcast to help educate the public, Leaflets and a supporters pack will also be distributed and there will be huge social media participation to really make the most of the week and engage the general public.

    The week will be a real opportunity for the heating industry to put the importance of gas safety, regular maintenance and registered fitters into the public’s consciousness and, an added bi-product may well be the fact that our industry gets a large increase in business!

    You can follow the progress of Gas Safety Week 2015 by followig it on Twitter @GasSafetyWeek

    Article by Benjamin Clarke

    Countdown to the Energy Related Products Directive

    Tue 25th Aug 2015 - 10:52am Energy and Heating Countdown to the Energy Related Products Directive

    Benjamin

    Benjamin Clarke

    The Energy Related Products Directive (ErP) is a huge drive to really push the green agenda across Europe, and it comes into force in September 2015. This will have a massive impact on the heating industry, so it’s important that the information regarding it is clear and concise.

    Back in 2007, the European Council set some serious environmental targets to be achieved by 2020. They wanted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, make a 20% improvement in energy efficiency and to grow the share of renewable energy to 20%. This was known as the 20-20-20 target and it needed a clear policy to make these targets come to fruition.

    Energy Related Products are products that account for a large amount of energy consumption across the EU. Under the new Directive, only the most efficient products will be manufactured and sold and the way they are tested to ensure they are saving energy will be standardised across all manufacturers.

    The Directive consists of two parts which is hoped will make it easy for installers and consumers alike when choosing the most energy efficient products to be installed in their homes.

    The first part is regarding EcoDesign regulations, which will make sure that any products that do not meet certain efficiency guidelines will not be issued with a CE mark - the all important ‘seal of approval’ that energy products require to be legally sold in the UK.

    Part 2 is the Energy Labelling Regulations which will ensure that all products are clearly labelled with easy-to-read, colour coded ratings from A+++ at the most efficient end of the scale, to G at the lowest end.

    The impact on the average heating installer will be quite large, though having to learn some extra knowledge may well lead to greater business opportunities. Regarding heating systems, each individual component will have their individual efficiency ratings. However, installers will also have to calculate the efficiency of the system as a whole in order to make sure the customer is getting the most efficient system overall.

    For example, when installing a boiler with heating controls, water heater and a heat pump, the installer will need to look at the efficiency ratings of each product and come up with system efficiency figure. This requires the installer to learn about what can and can’t be legally installed, as well as being able to have enough knowledge about the efficiency of each product to ensure that their give the customer the best possible system. The positive side to this is it gives the installer the opportunity to sell a complete heating system rather than simply the individual components.

    So while there is more to learn, the UK is actually very well prepared for the onset of the Directive and is leading the way in Europe on efficiency technologies. In 2013, 99% of new boilers installed in UK homes were gas condenser boilers, whereas the rest of Europe could only claim 26%. Additionally, the UK accounted for a whopping 42% of all condenser boiler sales in the whole of Europe.

    We’re ready for the new Directive which is coming in September 2015 and the UK’s installers will be helping to take the UK to the forefront of Europe in meeting efficiency targets.

    Article by Benjamin Clarke

    How heating installers can help reduce the UK's energy usage

    Thu 20th Aug 2015 - 1:19pm Energy and Heating How heating installers can help reduce the UK's energy usage

    Benjamin

    Benjamin Clarke

    Over 50% of all the energy that is used in the UK goes on heating and hot water. This demonstrates how important the heating industry is in reducing our carbon footprint and the amount of energy we use. Central to our industry are the people who deal with homeowners and are responsible for the exact products and components householders use to heat their homes and water. These VIPs are….. heating installers.

    It’s estimated that a plumber or heating engineer visits a home every 20 seconds, which shows just how powerful installers can be when it comes to shaping how the UK as a whole consumes energy. When going to a job, homeowners will almost always seek advice from installers on the best course of action and the best heating set up for their home. This provides the average installer with a huge opportunity to educate the customer in how to increase energy efficiency and reduce heating bills, by recommending such products as heating controls and thermostatic radiator valves.

    For any heating engineer, it’s of the utmost importance to stay up to date on the latest technologies, fashions and trends within the heating industry. Spending the extra time getting to know your customer and their needs and requirements can prove to be vital in improving your level of service and growing your business.

    Every time you are called out to simply inspect a radiator or to take a look at a boiler provides a unique opportunity to interact with the homeowner and find out exactly what they want from their heating system. Households and families change over time, so a system that may have worked in the best, may no longer be the most cost effective solution now. Many people will not want to go in depth into the inner workings of their heating systems, but their will be just as many who are interested in the latest technologies that can make their lives easier and cheaper in the long run. It’s always worth opening up a dialogue and having a range of information, options and explanations ready at your fingertips.

    It’s often a good idea to have a look over the house house, where time and permission allow. You can then assess what is currently set up in the home before providing additional suggestions or quotes. Looking around can answer questions like:

    Are rudimentary heating controls installed?
    Does the home have a combi boiler?
    Is there any wall or loft insulation?
    Are all the radiators working and sufficient to heat the rooms they’re in?
    Is there any pipework that needs replacing or insulating?
    Are there areas where heat is escaping?
    How many people live in the house and what are their living arrangements?

    Rather than going to a job with a narrow focus on the exact issue a customer has called you out for, having these kind of questions in mind when you have conversation with a homeowner may well open up further business opportunities as well as averting emergencies or further large expenses for the homeowner. This approach will help your business, help the UK reduce its carbon footprint and provide the UK population with more energy efficient homes and cheaper heating bills.

    Article by Benjamin Clarke

    With a little planning installing smart heating control systems can be a great idea

    Tue 18th Aug 2015 - 1:02pm Energy and Heating With a little planning installing smart heating control systems can be a great idea

    Benjamin

    Benjamin Clarke

    Over the last eighteen months, the use of smart heating systems has become more and more popular as people get used the the idea of controlling their heating system from their smart device. This also means there is increasing demand for new innovation and technologies in this area and manufacturers are responding by making their smart heating products ever more sophisticated.

    Whether it be a new build or an existing home, one of the biggest issues on the agenda right now is improving energy efficiency in order to reduce the carbon footprint and to achieve lower heating bills. Whilst this is easy to achieve with new builds, and also is not too difficult with retro-fitting in older buildings, a clear design plan to ensure the heating control system works correctly and efficiently is needed to ensure maximum benefit to the homeowner and the environment.

    A good analogy is to compare a heating system with the way we light up our homes. If darkness descended and we decided to put on the lights in our kitchen, we would consider it absolutely crazy to be forced to press one switch that puts on all of the lights in the whole house. We would instantly understand that lighting the whole house when we only need one room to be lit up is a waste of energy, harmful to the environment and very expensive way of lighting our home. However, much fewer of us think about the repercussions of having one switch to put the heating on and the huge amount of energy this type of system needlessly wastes. There is much work to be done to get people thinking about their heating system in the same way they think about their lighting system.

    The ideal results of setting up a well thought out smart heating control system is the ability to switch the heating on and off in different zones of your home at different times and in line with yours and your families’ lifestyles. The best way of achieving this is to break your smart control system down into four steps - zones, times, temperature and interlock.

    When thinking about what zones to set up, the lifestyle of your family needs to be considered. Maybe some unused bedrooms don’t need to be heated very often, maybe you work from home or are retired and need the heating on in certain areas for longer periods than people who are out at work all day. Thinking about how you live your life and where in your home you spend most of your time can be a great way in establishing the necessary zones.

    Once you’ve established what your zones are, you will then have to think about when these zones will be heated and at what temperatures. You will know who uses which rooms and when and whether they have any particular temperature preferences. A smart heating control system allows you to make this kind of customisation so you know exactly where your energy is being used and at what times. It also enables you to tinker with the settings as necessary so you can find the sweet spot between energy efficiency and maximum comfort.

    The power that smart heating controls give the homeowner is astounding and are set to become more and more common in homes across the UK. As highlighted above, it is recommended that careful planning is given before installing a smart control system to ensure you get the most out of it. After all, smart heating controls in and of themselves will not make a difference to the environment or your bills, but the way you use those controls most definitely will.

    It is also of great importance that the smart heating system is very user-friendly, as it’s not use have a very sophisticated system installed that has the ability to control the boiler, underfloor heating and individual radiators if you or other members of your family don’t know how to operate them and get the most out of the features they offer.

    So, if you are planning on installing a smart system, make sure you know why you want it, how you will use it and make sure you get one that is easy to operate. Bearing all this in mind, then there is no reason why you can’t have a state-of-the-art smart heating control system that works to provide heat when, where and at what temperature you want it.

    Article by Benjamin Clarke

    Why it's time to upgrade your rads if they are over 15 years old

    Thu 13th Aug 2015 - 7:07pm Energy and Heating Why it's time to upgrade your rads if they are over 15 years old

    Benjamin

    Benjamin Clarke

    In this modern world of energy efficiency targets and rising energy bills, quality radiators and heated towel rails are becoming increasingly important in efficient central heating systems. This means that people are starting to realise that if they have radiators that were installed before the turn of the century, it is now the time to start replacing them.

    In the last 15 years, radiator technology has improved significantly resulting in homes that were much more energy efficient than they were previously. Modern rads are now smaller than their elderly predecessors, yet are able to emit just as much heat, if not more, with less energy expended. Today’s rads are much more efficiently designed, with better internal water channeling, which results in the hot water coming into contact with more of the radiator metal, but with much less water required.

    If people need to install a new boiler, it’s now increasingly recommended to also upgrade the radiators if they were installed before 2000. While having a new efficient boiler to replace an old inefficient or broken down one, it’s impact on heating bills will not be seen through to it’s full potential if it is having to pump water through old, dirty and inefficient radiators. Heating installers will now likely recommend to the homeowner that it is worth the extra investment of a full set of radiators if a new combi boiler is being put in.

    One of the common issues with old radiators is corrosion on the inside. When water runs through the boiler, pipework and rads, it can react with the metal which, over time, can cause small flakes of metal to break off into the water. These small flakes of metal tend to come to rest in the bottoms of radiators, causing radiator sludge and the associated side effects that come with it - rads cold patches, lukewarm rads and generally higher heating bills because of the system having to work harder to keep the home warm.

    We always recommend the use of a chemical inhibitor within your heating system to help prevent the nasty effects of internal corrosion, however, if you have neglected your heating system, you may find it’s best to start again and install brand new radiators and adding inhibitor every 6 months to one year. Additionally, if you have recently moved into a new house, you cannot know the home’s history. so you may need to have the system powerflushed or you may wish to rip everything out and start again.

    It may not only be for energy efficiency reasons that you want to install new radiators. Let’s not forget that modern radiators are much more attractive than the uninspiring white blocks of years gone by. Any interior design plan incorporates stylish radiators into the mix as they have become an integral focal point of any room. Even the basic-model panel radiators are stylish, with slim bodies, rounded edges and high quality finishes.

    Vertical radiators have grown in popularity in recent years and have been cleverly marketed by manufacturers as the answer for those who have limited horizontal wall space. The modern vertical radiator takes advantage of vertical space and kicks out just as much heat as it’s horizontal counterparts.

    For those with period properties who are trying to maintain an air of tradition, yet incorporating the benefits of modern efficiency, there are the classic column radiators, which come in a range of styles and sizes and look great in any setting without putting a huge dent in your wallet.

    In the bathroom, the chrome heated towel rail has remained a firm favourite, yet it is being quickly caught up by rails with a black or anthracite finish. The reason for this is mainly aesthetic, with many liking their rails to have a darker look to them, however it’s also been realised that towel warmers with a painted finish actually give off more heat than the chrome plated ones.

    So, if you do have a home with radiators that need to be pensioned off and let go, there is a huge choice available for you to choose from. Whatever size, style, colour or finish you desire, there will be a radiator to match your requirements. Not only will they look better than your existing rads, but they will also perform better, putting out more heat, using less water and helping to lower your heating bills!

    Our full range of radiators and towel rails are available at TradeRadiators.com

    Article by Benjamin Clarke