• Winter Advice – How to Avoid Burst & Frozen Pipes
  • central_heating_winter_advice

Winter Advice – How to Avoid Burst & Frozen Pipes

Over the past three winters, England suffered a prolonged season with thousands of holiday homes affected, leading to burst and frozen pipes throughout the country. This is one of the biggest problems in the UK that causes residents to spend a bulk of their earning on repairs.

Here are some useful tips to avoid burst & frozen pipes in the big freeze.

Regular Inspection

It wouldn’t cost you anything to regularly inspect all your house pipes. Especially, during the winters make it a habit of inspecting the pipes once a week. By doing this you will be able to identify any small leaks before a major crack in the pipes.

Heating System Maintenance

It is imperative to maintain the heating system in accordance with the recommendations of the manufacturers.

Leave your heating on in sub-zero temperatures 

By leaving your heating on in sub-zero temperature you will be able to maintain the temperature of the water pipes constantly and prevent them from getting cold enough to freeze.

Use Large Condensate Pipes

If you are using a condensing boiler with condensate pipes outside then ensure that these are installed in accordance with the guidelines of the manufacturer as the pipes can easily freeze if not large enough in diameter, causing the boilers to stop functioning. A breakdown of this magnitude will cost a lot to fix.

Things to do Before Leaving Your Holiday Home for a Long Period

Before you leave, drain down the whole water system and turn off the main water supply to your house.

It is recommended that when leaving your holiday home for a long period of time; keep the heating on at a constant low level. By this way the water in the pipes will have a constant temperature, preventing it from getting cold enough to actually freeze.

Ask a friend or a neighbour to keep inspecting your home while you are away. If a problem is spotted early on it can prevent major damage.

Proper Lagging

The lack of lagging is considered one of the major factors behind the freezing of pipes, so keep in mind that pipes and tanks in the loft need to be properly lagged.

Lay Insulation on Top of Pipes in the Loft

It is recommended to lay insulation on top of pipes instead of underneath them, due to the fact that any insulation below the pipes will prevent heat from reaching them.

Insulate Water Tanks

The insulation on top of your water tanks is also another useful method to prevent your pipes from freezing during the winters.

Locate the Stop Cock

Before the onslaught of the winter season it is highly recommended that you locate the main stop cock and see if you can turn it on and off. Mostly it can be located underneath your kitchen sink. An access point of a stop cock also exists outside the house near the driveway, so you can also turn off the supply of water from there.

Check the Taps

Always insulate taps outside the house such as in your garden and also repair any leaking taps. You can also turn off the main supply of water to all the taps in your house to prevent the pipes from freezing.

It is quite easy to prevent pipes from bursting if you pay attention. It has been observed that most pipes in the UK burst due to negligence on part of the house owners. Whenever, you plan to leave your home for an extended period of time always turn off the main water supply to your home and drain the pipes. Once the pipes are properly drained, you can then leave the home without worrying. Inspecting your pipes is not a long process and requires minimal time and should not be ignored.

  • Understanding ECO Grants
  • Save Money on Gas Bills With New A-Rated Boiler Grant

Understanding ECO Grants

Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a stupendous initiative by the UK government to reduce the country’s carbon emissions and at the same time help the residents upgrade their gas heating boilers. There are millions of households throughout the UK that are still using old, out-dated heating boilers that produce less heat but put tremendous burden on users in the form of energy bills.

The ECO initiative is here to change all this, under this scheme people on certain government benefits can now enjoy boiler replacement entirely free and in some cases partially free. And as boiler replacement is quiet costly, the ECO scheme has gathered a lot of attention and a positive response.

Attributes of ECO

  • The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) that took over from CESP and CERT in early 2013 requires the big six energy suppliers, to help householders become more energy efficient – an investment of almost £1.3bn is expected to be made by energy companies.
  • The ECO scheme is primarily focussed on helping low income consumers and those living in low fuel areas. The areas that are covered by the ECO grant include: period homes, blocks of flats or any brick built home without a cavity, or very small cavity.

 

  • Key components of ECO:
    Affordable Warmth Obligation: The affordable warmth obligation provides heating and hot water saving measures, insulation, glazing to low-income and vulnerable households. Call us on 08000-786-085 to check whether you may be eligible for the affordable warmth obligation.
    Carbon Saving Obligation:This provides funding to insulate solid-walled properties (internal and external wall insulation) and those with ‘hard-to-treat’ cavity walls.
    Carbon Saving Communities Obligation This provides insulation and glazing measures to people living in the UK’s most deprived areas.

 

What is the Qualifying Criteria for ECO?

You must own your property or rent it privately and have the owner’s permission to do the work.

You must also get one of the following benefits:

  • Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (and your income is £16,010 or less)
  • Working Tax Credit (and your income is £16,010 or less)
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit (and you earned £1,250 or less after tax in any assessment period in the last 12 months)

Extra conditions

For certain benefits, one of the following must also apply:

  • You get Child Tax Credit and your child’s disabled
  • You get Disabled Child Premium
  • You get Disability Premium
  • You get Pensioner Premium
  • You receive a work-related activity or support component – if you’re claiming income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • You are 60 or over – if you’re claiming Working Tax Credit
  • You get a limited capability for work or work-related activity element – if you’re claiming Universal Credit
  • You get Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment – if you’re claiming Universal Credit

 

So there you have all the qualifying details you need to get a new boiler to beat the chills this year. Once you meet the qualifying criteria Domestic & General Heating will talk you through the whole process, starting from a free survey of your property which is carried out by our surveyors for free. Later, our engineers who are all on Gas Safe Register will begin the installation process by replacing your old boiler with a new and more efficient heating system.

What Happens if You do not meet the Qualifying Criteria?

Not everyone can be lucky enough to qualify for this scheme, for them there is still hope, as we at the Domestic & General Heating have boiler finance plans which can help you get a boiler without having to pay upfront. You can choose a monthly payment plan while enjoying a warm living due to an efficient boiler. You can get further information about our payments plan here

What are the Benefits of availing an ECO Grant?

  • On meeting the qualifying criteria you will have a boiler installed with new heating controls
  • A-rated boilers are installed under this scheme, e.g- Baxi Boilers, Vaillant Boilers and Worcester Boilers
  • ECO grants would help save £300 yearly
  • A-Rated boilers increase efficiency and decrease bills
  • Save £130 – £450 annually
  • Cavity wall insulation: save between £100 and £140 annually
  • New Loft insulation: saves £140-£180 yearly

With so much to offer, this scheme has something for everyone. We have a database of information regarding ECO eligibility criteria which you can visit on http://www.dgheating.com/eco-funding-grants-eligibility-criteria

What Type of a Boiler should you prefer?

While almost all gas heating boilers are covered in ECO grants, currently the Combination (combi) boilers are a major hit and everyone’s first choice.  Combi boilers are easy to install and take little space and they can also be hanged on a wall which makes them an excellent choice. If you have a small family and a medium sized residence then this is the boiler you need to get.

A combi boiler is simultaneously a high-efficiency water heater and a central heating boiler, hence justifying its name (combination). No separate hot water cylinder is required, offering space saving within the property.

Benefits

  • Provides limitless hot water on demand.
  • Can be an economical option, as combi boilers only heat the water you use.
  • A great space-saving solution with no need for a separate cold water tank or hot water cylinder.
  • Installation may be quicker as there are fewer parts in a combi central heating system.

 

Different models of combi boilers are present on our website from where you can choose anyone and let us know. Our gas heating installers can also help you make a choice regarding which type of boiler suits you best.

We offer 1-year of aftercare on our boilers, so don’t worry about the new boiler installation as we will cover you for a year and service the boiler. One thing to remember is that you need to get your boilers serviced every year to keep them in working condition.

So, if you want heating advice, installation, maintenance or repairing, Domestic & General Heating is the company to contact. We strive to make your winters warmer.

Best boiler for your house

The performance of a boiler greatly depends on the size of the house and your heating/hot water needs. The best boiler for a one-bedroom flat will not necessarily be the same as the best boiler for a three bedroom, detached house. Here is a comparison between the best boilers for small, medium and large properties.

 

Best Boiler for a 1 and 2 bedroom house

If you have a one to two bedroom house, or flat, with only one bathroom then you will be best off with a small combi boiler. A small property will require a combi boiler of around 24-27kW. Here are some recommendations for the best combi boilers;

ManufacturerProduct nameTypeMax. central heating output (kW)Average price with installation*
BaxiEcoBlue+ 24Combi24£1584
Worcester BoschGreenstar 24i JuniorCombi24£1573
VaillantecoTEC Pro 28Combi24£1603

 

Best Boilers for a 3 bedroom house

Houses with three bedrooms and one bathroom can benefit from a range of boilers. A more powerful combi boiler (28-34 kW) is required. Conventional boilers can also be an option. It is best to talk to a qualified installer to receive the best advice.

These are our recommendations of the best boilers for a three bedroom house;

ManufacturerProduct nameTypeMax. central heating output (kW)Average price with installation*
BaxiEcoBlueCombi28£1797
VaillantEcoTEC Plus 837Combi28£1698
Worcester BoschGreenstar 34CDiCombi30£1786
BaxiSolo 30 HE AConventional30£1519
Worcester BoschGreenstar FS 30CDiConventional30£2170

 

Best for a 4 bedroom house

Large, houses with four bedrooms and above have higher heating and water demands and require a more powerful boiler. Typically combi boilers are not recommended here as they do not cope well with multiple showers/appliances using hot water simultaneously. A powerful combi boiler of 30kW and above may be suitable if that is your preferred option.

Speak to an expert installer from Domestic & General Heating to find out what type of boiler would be best for your property. Some recommendations are;

ManufacturerProduct nameTypeMax. central heating output (kW)Average price with installation*
Glow-wormFlexicom 35hxConventional35£1822
VaillantEcoTEC Plus 438Conventional38£2131
Worcester BoschGreenstar 42CDiCombi30£2264
BaxiEcoBlue Advance 40Combi32£1975

 

  • 6 Easy ways to Improve Energy Efficiency
  • Get Free New Boiler and Save on Energy Bills

6 Easy ways to Improve Energy Efficiency

With the winter season approaching, this is the perfect time to start working towards making your home as energy-efficient as possible. The steps you take now would help keep your winter fuel costs down.

According to an estimate one in three adults worry about how they will pay their energy bills in the winter season.

So what can be done to make your home more energy efficient and cheaper to run?

Interestingly you can do this by taking a few simple measures, like turning your heating down, or keeping the doors and windows properly closed, can have a significant effect on your annual bills. The sooner you start making changes, the greater the savings.

Here are our six tested methods for bringing down energy bills and carbon emission at the same time.

  1. Insulate your Loft and Cavity Walls

Residents in the UK lose about 25% of the heat produced by gas heating boilers through lofts, and about 35% through the walls. This problem can easily be resolved by properly insulating your loft and cavity walls. While the average cost of this process depends on the size of the property, costs can starts from £150. The process is not very long and can take a few hours. Due to the effectiveness of this process, you can make your money back in about two years.

  1. Boiler Upgrade

The use of inefficient boilers drives up energy bills and causes frustration when your home isn’t getting warm quickly. These boilers take longer to heat the room while using more energy. You are in luck, as modern boilers are designed to be energy-efficient, with a SEDBUK rating A, reaching efficiency levels higher than 90%.

Updating your old boiler with a new A-rated Gas Heating Boiler would help you save around £300 to £400 off your heating bills, which is certainly a considerable amount of money. You can make long term savings by investing in an efficient boiler. Invest now and invest intelligently.

  1. Use Draught Excluders and Door Seals

The gaps under the doors are another very critical factor and if you have them then this means that your precious heat is probably pouring out through them. This also puts burden on your radiators, making them work harder to keep you warm.

Draught excluders are a cheap solution to this problem. It is recommended that you buy a few for use around the house, especially on doors that lead to empty rooms or outside the house. Rubber and foam seals can also be used to stop draughts and you will notice a rapid difference straight away. Soon the home will start getting warm quicker with energy bills much lesser. These small steps can make a huge difference.

  1. Switch to a water -saving showerhead

While we all enough power showers, their downside is that they quickly use up water if you’re not careful. Opting to use a water-saving showerhead is a great way to start saving on your energy bills.

 

  1. Use an energy monitor

An energy monitor is a really handy gadget for keeping an eye on energy bills. It costs something around £20-60 to buy an energy monitor. After it is plugged in it will give you the stats about your energy consumption and how much you’re paying for it.

 

  1. Use LED light bulbs

While these bulbs are expensive to buy they last much longer and are highly efficient. Investing in switching to LED lights from your regular bulbs is worth your money and you can expect to make your money back in savings on your bills.

If you’d like to find out more about staying warm and saving money this winter, get in touch with us today and our friendly team will be happy to help you. Just fill the form and our heating installers can also visit you to conduct a FREE survey of your property to evaluate your heating needs and give you a no-obligation quote. The installers can also help you make your home’s heating more efficient without the need for installing new equipment.

10 Winter Tips to Prevent Boiler Breakdowns

10 Winter Tips to Prevent Boiler Breakdowns

There is nothing more important than a properly functioning Gas Heating Boiler during the winters and with predictions of a long winter this year, it makes logical sense for us to bring you a little boiler wisdom to see you through. Continue reading and find out how to prevent a boiler breakdown due to extreme low temperatures.

 

Always keep an eye on your heating

Always monitor the heating level of your boiler and remember that it is a bad idea to keep the heating on zero during a cold spell as it can damage the heating system by forcing it to work harder. You can save on the cost of repairs by preventing the boiler from freezing up and keeping it in a workable condition.

 

Read boiler Instructions

You might think it is boring but trust us it will prevent a boiler breakdown. Nearly all boilers come with manuals and to keep your boiler in shape always read the manual.

 

Make sure the Boiler is on

If your boiler is not working the first thing you need to check is if it is actually switched on. Then see if the electricity or gas supply has stopped. If the fuel supply is running then you need to observe the boiler’s pilot. If the pilot is out, reset the boiler manually. You can do it easily and don’t have call an engineer for it.

 

Check the Boiler Pressure

A drop in pressure can sometimes make combi boilers to stop functioning. When the boiler stops working always check the pressure dial, radiators and pipes for any leaks. You can increase the pressure manually if you can’t find a leak in your heating system. Always remember to switch off the boiler before adjusting the pressure. However, be careful as too much pressure can be dangerous.

Bleed the Radiators

You can feel cold patches on the radiator if air gets trapped and blocks the system. In such a situation you are required to bleed the radiator. However, if you can still feel the cold patches, the system might be clogged with sludge and would require a chemical flush by gas safe registered engineers.

 

Insulate the Condensate Pipe

In condensing boilers the condensate pipes can get blocked after freezing in very low temperatures. To prevent this you would be required to insulate the pipes.

If you have this problem repeatedly it is advised that you consider relocating the pipe internally or replace it with a wider pipe.

Thaw the Condensate Pipe

If unfortunately you have failed to prevent your condensate pipe from freezing then you would need to thaw it out. The best method to thaw is by placing a hot water bottle on the pipe. You can also pour hot water over the frozen pipe. Giving it a blow with a hair dryer or wrapping towel soaked in hot water can also work. You need to then reset the boiler.

Old Boiler means more Boiler care

Most boilers in England are 10 to 12 years old with depleted efficiency. If you also have an old boiler it is worth thinking about planning your finances for boiler care. The average cost of a boiler breakdown is estimated to be £235.37 and could go higher if it has more problems. To avoid this it is better to spend a decent amount on boiler care.

 

Get the Boiler Serviced before it’s too late

Regular boiler serving helps prolong its life and avoid untimely breakdowns.  Older boilers are more fragile which is why in order to keep them running you should have them serviced before the winter onslaught. Even the boiler manufacturers advise yearly boiler servicing.

Even when your boiler is functioning properly do not hesitate to get it serviced at the end of the winter season.

Call boiler experts before the boiler breakdown

Call Domestic & General Heating or fill the form on our website and our experts will get in touch with you at the earliest. Our surveyor can also conduct a free survey of your property to give you a no-obligation quote for the installation of a central heating system.