How plumbers can help customers achieve greater energy efficiency

Technology in the heating industry has come on leaps and bounds in the last few years and, as a result, customers are much more aware of the fact that heating products can help them save more money on their heating bills than any time in history. It’s therefore very important that plumbers and heating installers are able to meet the increased demand for energy efficiency from homeowners, by being well-versed in a multitude of options, information and advice. A very important point that should always be communicated to customers is the process that naturally occurs when water comes into contact with metal. As all heating systems are made up of metal pipes and radiators, it is vital that customers understand how adding chemical inhibitor to their system will prevent internal corrosion and the build-up of sludge, helping to extend the longevity of the system and ensuring the system is running efficiently. Systems without chemical inhibitor cause the system to clog up with tiny pieces of corroded metal, which leads to the boiler and pump working extra hard to circulate water. This means that the system is using extra energy to heat the home (causing higher heating bills) and also increases the chances of a boiler breakdown due to it having to work harder. Plumbers need to explain the benefits of chemical inhibitor very clearly to customers so that they are in no doubt it will help them in the long run, ensuring that they schedule annual system checks which includes a top-up of inhibitor to the system. Another important point to communicate is the importance of insulating bare pipework. While not mandatory under building regulations, research by the Energy Savings Trust shows that lagging bare pipes can save money as well as a considerable amount of carbon dioxide emissions. Additionally, it can provide great protection during the coldest months when pipes are at their most vulnerable to freezing and bursting. Insulating pipes is not a big financial outlay, but the long-term beneficial effects should be emphasised to customers. The tips mentioned above are very important, but their effectiveness can be completely undone if the customer either doesn’t understand their heating system or uses it incorrectly. The benefits of having thermostatic controls should be explained because, if used correctly, they can have a large impact on efficiency and lower heating bills. As well as understanding the benefits, plumbers need to make sure customers know how to work the controls properly, so this requires a decision to be made on the best type of heating controls to match the lifestyles and needs of the customers involved. Article by Benjamin Clarke
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