With the cost of gas and electricity for heating and water, it can be very tempting to try diverting the chargeable energy source via a home made system to bypass the ‘expensive’ mains. There have sadly been many examples of folk tampering with domestic mains systems and being killed or very seriously injured when a gas leak occurs or a spark from an acetalyn welder sets off a chain of explosions. Gas is a fantastic product when used correctly, but it is dangerous and potentially lethal. If you are having a boiler or cooker repaired it must be done by a full qualified engineer. It is so tempting for the budding DIY enthusiast to ‘have a go’ at changing a wall gas heater or water heater. Landlords can sometimes find it irksome to have to get a proper engineer in but they are legally responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of all gas appliances in their properties and must undertake safety checks every 12 months – these are by law to be carried out by a fully safe registered engineer. The tenant is supposed to get a copy of the safety report within 28 days of the inspection – essential for their peace of mind!
There’s nothing nicer on a freezing cold day than to be able to get back home to a cosy warm house. Knowing that the heating will be on and working safely and correctly is one of the funadmentals of life! With so many new gizmos on the market these days too, we can all sit at work and reset the temperature at home and get it to come on when we want. However to be able to use these wifi based tools, we need to be certain the heating system is maintained well and is running absolutely at its peak. The only way to ensure this is to have a properly, legally qualified and experienced gas engineer call to inspect and test the boiler and associated heating system and the plumbing that is needed to facilitate it. We’ve had an annual contract for the twenty years we’ve been in this house and it’s one saving I would never make – I can call the company 24 hours a day if there’s anything at all causing me concern. This is so reassuring and although I’ve not needed to try out their emergency response, I feel sure that as a regular and long term customer, I would indeed get their very best service.
When searching for a plumber in an emergency or to book a boiler service, you need to take into account whether they have the correct accreditations to be working safely on your boiler, heating system and even your kitchen sink.
You are often told that nothing counts more than experience when it comes to trade, but experience only gets you so far. It’s actual training that separates a professional plumber from a DIY plumber or any tradesman. When looking for a professional plumber you need to look out for a few key things that let you know if they are legally able to work on your boiler system and if they are professionally trained to do so.
One of the most important accreditations to keep an eye out for when you are looking for a plumber to work on any gas appliance, gas fire or your gas boiler is whether they are Gas Safe Registered. Even if the work you need doing isn’t on gas we would recommend that you still only employ a plumber that is Gas Safe Registered, as you know they are experienced in their trade and work safely. All plumbers have to take a Gas Safe course every 4 years to maintain there Gas Safe certificate. Additionally, every time they work on any gas appliance they need to sign off the work before re-connecting the gas supply. This way the work can be traced back to a plumber or heating engineer that carried out the job.
What to do if you smell gas
If you can smell gas in your home, you should immediately call the National Grid (formerly Transco) on 0800 111 999
You’ll then be asked a series of questions to determine the nature of the gas leak and will be advised of appropriate safety precautions to take, which may include:
- Opening windows and doors
- Avoiding naked flames
- Avoiding electrical switches
- Avoiding the use of your mobile phone
- Avoiding the use of electrical items
Although a National Grid engineer will visit your home to make the area safe in the first instance, their remit is not to carry out the repair work needed.
A dripping tap isn’t just annoying; it also has the potential to be really expensive. And we’re not just talking about it running up your water bill – it can cause serious property damage, costing about £387 million in insurance claims annually. You can avoid the hassle of repairs and build up your no-claims bonus by keeping your home well maintained.
Like bleeding a radiator, fixing a dripping tap is a really simple skill that every homeowner should learn how to do. Our handy guide will talk you through it, whether this is your first time or you just need a refresher.
What you’ll need
Get these things together first and keep them nearby, because you don’t want to be running off looking for an important part in the middle of your repair:
- an adjustable spanner
- slot and cross-head screwdrivers
- replacement cartridge or assorted washers and O-rings
Cartridge or washer?
Some taps use washers while others have ceramic discs. An easy way to tell what kind of tap you have is to give it a turn – if it only rotates a quarter or a half, then it’s likely to be ceramic. If you can turn it further, it’s probably traditional. Worn O-rings are another cause of leaks in traditional taps, so if you replace the washer and there’s still a leak, check the O-ring (a type of seal) and seals for signs of wear and tear.