Abbey Boilers

Oftec Encourages Youths to Start a Career in the Heating Industry.

Recent studies show there has been a 27% decrease in the number of new apprenticeships started between August and October 2017 in comparison to the same period last year. Only 0.2% were in the heating industry. 

This drop in apprenticeships is in spite of the new government scheme to promote on the job training and a large number of jobs available in the sector for qualified engineers due to the lack of skilled technicians. 

With the rising costs of University and the increasing cost of living, apprenticeships are ever becoming a more viable option for further education and an easier transition into future employment. People are becoming aware of the benefits of hands-on training and experience in their chosen field. 

This year, as part of National Apprenticeship Week, local training centres were highlighting the opportunities an apprenticeship and then a consequent career in the heating industry can bring. The initiative aimed to help young people start various careers through apprenticeships. 

Malcolm Farrow, from OFTEC, said: “The heating sector is a fantastic industry to be involved with, offering good career prospects in a variety of different roles. Apprenticeships provide real hands on experience and they are a great starting place for anyone looking to become a heating technician.

“OFTEC approved training centres work with many young people coming into the heating profession who have already completed an apprenticeship and provide additional industry-recognised qualifications for technicians to demonstrate their professionalism and competence.

“Although building standards and technology are always advancing, people will always need heating and hot water. There is no shortage of work out there – just not enough professionals to do it. Trusted and reliable OFTEC registered heating technicians are always in demand.”

If you are a qualified heating engineer and are looking to work for a busy and respectable heating firm them please get in touch with Abbey Boilers. Click here for contact details. 

What is a Powerflush?

 

A Powerflush is a cleansing process which aims to remove deposits of sludge, rust and any other debris from your central heating system.

 

These contaminants, if left, can seriously affect the efficiency of a heating system and, in severe cases, a powerflush could be the only option available. Over time the water in your pipes, boiler and radiators deposits unwanted byproducts like rust. This rust (plus other dirt and debris) becomes an unpleasant, mud-like substance that professionals affectionately refer to as ‘sludge’.

Sludge in your heating system can cause to blockages and corrosion which will lead to both inefficiency and / or breakdown. In extreme cases it can be so damaging that a complete boiler replacement is needed.

When do you need a Powerflush?

If you carry out regular servicing and maintenance (professional servicing is recommended annually) then a preventative Powerflush should only be necessary every 5-6 years to clear debris and prevent significant blockages from taking hold.

However, this will vary depending on the system you have. For example, some boilers use copper heat exchangers rather than stainless steel which will corrode quicker.

IMPORTANT: If you are planning to replace your boiler it’s important that the engineer performs a Powerflush before the installation. Otherwise, you risk contaminating the new boiler with damaging sludge and debris that’s hanging around in the old pipework.

Get quote for a poweflush from Abbey Boilers here.

Signs you need a Powerflush

There are signs to look out for that suggest that all is not well in your central heating system.

  • Cold areas on radiators e.g. at the bottom
  • Excessive noise from the boiler or the heating system pump
  • Discoloured water when you bleed the radiators
  • Heating is slow to warm up
  • Cloudy tap water (limescale in system)
  • Some radiators struggle to heat up as well as others
  • Radiators cold but pipes are hot
  • Boiler regularly shuts down and needs restarting
  • No water escapes when you bleed a radiator
  • Noisy radiators and or / boiler
  • Small leaks in radiators.

If any of these problems sound familiar to you, it’s time to contact a professional engineer. While a Powerflush may be all that is required to get your heating back on track, unfortunately, it is not always that simple. A system may be so damaged that it is actually cheaper to replace rather than repair. If that’s the case you will need to consult with at least two professionals to make sure you’re getting the right solution at the best price.

What are the benefits of a Powerflush?

It’s not all doom and gloom; there are lots of positive reasons to get a Powerflush carried out too.

  • Radiators will heat up quicker
  • Radiators will get hotter
  • Quieter radiators / boiler
  • More energy efficient system = cheaper energy bills
  • Higher hot water temperatures
  • More reliable i.e. less chance of breakdown
  • Increase the life of your heating system.

How does a Powerflush work?

An engineer will connect a pump to your central heating system. If it’s a Combi it will be connected at the pump head but if it’s a system boiler it will be connected at the circulation pump. This pump will push special chemicals through the pipes, boiler and radiators.

This includes a chemical that will remove sludge and rust, a descaler to remove limescale and corrosion inhibitor to help prevent future rust from forming. The engineer will collect and dispose of any contaminated water, debris or particles that they remove from the system.

The engineer may also use special tools on the exterior of the radiator to dislodge stubborn blockages. They should be able to measure the temperature of your radiators before they have started work and then show you the improvement after the Powerflush.

The whole process can last anything from 6 – 10 hours depending on the number of radiators in your home, the age of the system and the severity of the sludge in the system. The engineer may find more problems than originally anticipated such as needing new parts to replace those that have been damaged beyond repair. Most Powerflush jobs can be completed in one day but some of the more severe cases may require longer.

A qualified engineer will be able to perform repairs, replacements and carry out a Powerflush.

Who should carry out a Powerflush?

Not all companies will perform a Powerflush to the same standard. There are a range of chemicals and equipment on the market and, as with all industries, there are providers with varying levels of expertise and attention to detail. Always check independent review sites and request customer recommendations. We recommend sourcing at least two quotes from professionals so you can compare costs.

Boiler Guide has a network of 5,000 reputable engineers across the UK and can provide you with up to 3 free of charge, no obligation, competitive quotes.

Can you perform a Powerflush without a professional?

Put simply, not really.

While there are Powerflushing kits for hire and instructional videos available on the internet, it’s a risky and complicated job. A professional will make a Powerflush look easy, clean and safe but the reality is it’s a job that has the potential to get very messy. Specialist chemicals and equipment should only be handled by those trained to do so.

It’s also possible that carrying out the work on your heating system by yourself may invalidate any manufacturer’s warranty you have. A professional engineer will provide you with a certificate to prove that the Powerflush has been carried out. This is crucial if you need to evidence to a manufacturer or insurance provider that you have had all work carried out by a professional. Get quotes.

Finally, if the work is completed incorrectly it could cause more damage than you had to begin with.

NOTE: Installing a magnetic filter will not deliver the same benefits as a Powerflush procedure, but it can protect a system (that is still working well) from future sludge blockages.

How much will a Powerflush cost?

There are lots of factors that will affect the price of a Powerflush such as size and complexity of the heating system, not to mention any incidental troubleshooting that crops up. A Powerflush can cost anything between £300 to £1000+ but will also vary from engineer to engineer. Sometimes there will be additional costs like extra descaler chemicals or replacing the TRVs.

It is important that your central heating system is as efficient as it can be at all times and, although a Powerflush can be an expensive process, it can also save a lot of money over time in reduced heating bills.

Is a Powerflush always the solution?

In some particularly severe cases you may find it is actually more cost effective to replace the system than carry out a Powerflush. A Powerflush will not fix broken parts. If a blockage has caused a part to break that will add time and cost to the job to get the system back to optimum performance. A professional will be able to advise you if this is the case.

10 Things to Know About Oil Tanks

If you find yourself moving into a new property with a heating oil tank or you just want to recap on what's good practice for your oil tank, our top tips are sure to help. 

1.  Understand you tank

If you have recently moved into a property with an oil powered central heating system, examine your tank, find the sight gauge, find the filter and learn where the cut off valve is, in case of an emergency.

2. Check your tank regularly. 

Oftec (the Oil Firing Technical Association) recommend you look over your tank weekly. Look for any cracks, scratches, bulges or rust, which may allow the fuel to leak. 

3. Replacing your tank

Oftec suggests that the lifespan of the average oil tank is 20 years. This number can fluctuate depending on the amount of maintenance the tank has received.

4. Tank and Oil Insurance

A lot of household insurance policies do not include your heating oil tank. The environmental agency recommends you take out another insurance policy that covers your tank for any loss of oil, any expensive environmental cleanups and the cost of cleaning your own and any neighbouring properties. 

5. Getting to your tank

It is important that your Heating Oil delivery driver and your heating engineer are able to access your tank for inspections, deliveries and maintenance. 

6. Protecting your tank and oil. 

Although not common, oil theft does happen, especially in more rural, isolated, properties. Although it is important for tradesmen to have easy access to your tank,  it is also important that the tank is not obvious to everyone else. You can limit the chance of theft by shielding your tank form the road, installing a security light or alarm and regularly monitoring your oil usage. 

7. Checking your oil levels

Running out of oil is an easy but problematic and expensive thing to do. Running out of oil means you will require an emergency fuel delivery and possibly an oil technician to re-start your heating system.  

8. Leaking tank

Heating oil is toxic and dangerous for the environment and wildlife. If your tank does leak, try to limit the damage as much as possible by; trying to stop the leak, placing a bucket or something similar down to catch the leak and phone Abbey Boilers on 01403 275512  

9. Water in your tank. 

Condensation and leaks can happen in your tank. This causes a buildup of water. Water can contaminate the fuel in your tank and cause problems with your central heating, boiler, or Aga. Our annual service includes a tank check. If water is found by our engineer, it can be easily removed and save you a whole world of trouble. 

10. Service your boiler and tank annually. 

An annual oil service at Abbey Boilers costs £72. Here at Abbey Boilers, we follow the recommended guidelines set out by OFTEC and suggest your oil heating system is serviced once a year. At the inspection, our engineer will check your oil boiler, in addition to your tank, your supply pipes and your filters. For the reasons, you should get an annual service, click here.