Well the peak has come and gone and it appears that life is slowly getting back to normal, from shops reopening to days out at the zoo, we are all slowly getting used to the new normal. Here we talk about how the plumbing and heating industry has changed following COVID-19 and how we have adapted.
The last few months has been hard for all of us and the full effects of this will not be known for a few more months, but may I take this time to wish everyone the very best of luck over the next few months and we hope you all stay safe.
How has the plumbing and Heating industry changed?
One of the main issues is that as tradesmen we work within peoples homes, these are their safe zones which over the last few months has been a safe haven to protect them and keep them safe from danger. As tradesmen we should all take this into consideration and use the highest amount of protection to reduce the risk and keep our customers safe. Here at J & S Plumbing and Heating we check our employees temperature every day to ensure they dont have a high temperature (fever), we use gloves and masks to prevent the spread and we also wipe down surfaces that we have touched. This is in addition to the usual Protection of property procedures, including removal of shoes/ using dustsheets where required.
What procedures have changed in the plumbing and Heating Industry?
One of the Biggest changes we have seen is that everyone is using technology a lot more, from emailing to taking pictures and whatsapping them across to us directly, Lockdown has really increased the amount of people and the understanding of using technology. As a business we strive to be at the front line of technology and it is great to be able to use these skills in our business to not only help our customers but also to reduce the risk of contact and provide quotes without even entering the property. Of course we still need to visit some properties but generally feel that technology has advanced a long way in the last few months in a way that would have taken years under normal circustances.
What we did during the lockdown.
First of all, we spent a lot of time doing DIY and gardening and even managed to get some free online training, however after a couple weeks, the DIY run dry and so we started to consider some great changes to our business, with the introduction of the business bounceback loan, this made these changes a lot easier to make and we went fully at the new changes and hopefully this will be a great advantage to our business. One of the biggest changes was that we took on another engineer so that I can concentrate on helping people in emergencies. Liam was interviewed over the phone and we were extremely impressed with his attitude along with his 12 years of experience and I instantly offered him the job. Liam started on the fifteenth of June and we hope he will be ready to go alone after a few weeks of training in our systems and expectations.
What else has changed?
Some of the other great changes include the new online boiler installation quote system, which allows our customers to give some minor details and get a rough estimate of the cost of their new boiler without us ever stepping into their property, this helps reduce the risk of spreading the virus as well as giving our customers a clear and conscise guide to prices before we start.
The Local community and economy
We are all feeling the pinch at the moment with the reduction incomes and the unfortunate loss of jobs that have occured. The real effects of the economy downturn may not be known for several months/ years. However we feel strongly about helping our local community and we have also used the bounceback loan to purchase new signs to place around Lincoln, produced by a local sign maker. Our new van which will also be sign written was also purchased from a small family run local Forecourt and we have also had leaflets printed and delivered by a local company. Now is the time to invest in the future of our local business and help each other grow rather then sit back and wait to see what may or may not happen.
What does the future of Plumbing and Heating look like?
As with all tradesmen, we need to work in peoples homes. As people become more aware of the home being their safe haven, we will no doubt be less busy. Along with the reduction in peoples incomes, we will all see an instant downturn in business. Fortunately the Plumbing and Heating business is very stable and there will always be a need for Plumbing and Heating reapirs but with a lot of technology designed to remotely pass information to engineers without them even entering homes, the big question for us is wether the lockdown will speed up the self diagnosiing boilers so engineers will know exactly what is wrong before they even arrive at the property.
What did we learn from our lockdown training?
As part of our training we realised that we couldnt do everything ourselves and so we have teamed up with a lot of local tradesmen to produce a high standard job from now on. Our new additions include an electrician to ensure the work is installed correctly and the whole house is safe rather then just the boiler installation. Joe from JMF electrical has done several jobs for us now and his work is amazing and makes a real difference. We also have a roofer/ brick layer to brick up or install new flues so the work is brilliantly selaed and looks perfect too. Finally with the addition of a plasterer, we now feel our team is completely set up for the majority of scenarios, it has definetly been an eye opener to see the difference it makes by using trained proffesionals in each section of our business.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post and if you have found it useful or interesting then please can you share it on your social media to help others.
Thank you and please stay safe
Why is it so important to be Servicing your boiler every year?
Too many people believe that Servicing your boiler can be a waste of time or money. Also many people believe that it is ok to do it every few years. A boiler service may pick up issues with the boiler and also any issues with the gas coming into the property. Furthermore Servicing your boiler can also identify any degradation of the flue or boiler. During a boiler service your gas engineer can also check the boiler for the right mixture of gas and air. They will also check the condition of the seals between the products of combustion and your family. Therefore we suggest booking a boiler service every year by a gas safe registered engineer.
What is involved in Servicing your boiler?
This is one of the most popular questions our customers asks us. A boiler service will involve:
- Checking for the right air/gas mixture
- Inspecting the flue for any damage or loose connections
- Testing the gas coming into the property is correct.
- Checking the boiler has the correct pressure coming in along with the correct sized pipe from the meter to the boiler.
- inspecting for leaks.
- Checking the boiler is burning the correct amount of gas.
- Testing any safety devices.
- Inspection of the boiler and flue.
- Checking of the condition of the appliance including the effectiveness of any seals, gaskets, the cleanliness of heat exchangers etc. and checking for any signs of heat or other distress .
As a result, the boiler service is an essential part of looking after your heating and hot water system in your home. For this reason we ensure your boiler gets the love and attention it deserves.
My Gas engineer was only here for 30 minutes, is this normal?
A basic Boiler service usually takes around 30 minutes. However a full service will take longer. Why not ask your Gas safe registered engineer to find out if your boiler requires a full service.
What is the difference between a full and basic service?
With all condensing boilers there are 2 levels of boiler service. A full service should be completed every 2-5 years (Manufacturer dependent.)
- A basic boiler service includes all the above checks
- Full boiler service includes all the same checks as basic service but we also clean out the heat exchanger and burner. As a result we may also replace electrodes and any seals required.
Contact your local gas engineer to find out if your boiler is due a full service. It may help to provide the make and model of the boiler before you book.
What is an Appliance Safety Check?
An appliance safety check at a minimum includes all the tests to ensure the appliance is safe to operate:
- Testing the air and gas mixture is correct.
- It is of a type suitable for the room in which it is located.
- The casing is physically stable and securely fitted
- There is an adequate and permanent air supply suitable for the appliance type installed.
- Any flues or chimneys are operating correctly
- All safety devices function correctly.
Do I need to get my boiler servicing done every year?
The answer to this is always yes. Servicing your boiler is a requirement to keep the warranty valid. More importantly boilers have regulators on them and these are mechanical. Mechanical parts often break down and require regular testing and inspection. So if you haven’t had your boiler serviced recently, why not call your local gas safe engineer today?
My gas engineer came and serviced my boiler and a week later it broke down. Why didn’t they pick it up on the service?
You may of noticed in the above boiler servicing list that we dont check the water components. This is because we are not checking the correct operation of any water components. If we were to check all components, we would spend around 2 hours on the service. This would increase the price quite dramatically. Furthermore, a test would still not guarantee the component condition and would not prevent the boiler breaking down.
How long should my boiler last?
A boiler does not have a specific life span and every boiler is different. There are a few items that you can do to prolong the life of your boiler.
- Keep your heating system topped up with inhibitor. You cannot over inhibit your heating system but you can under inhibit your heating system.
- Getting a power flush on your heating can reduce the amount your boiler has to work and increase its life span.
- Installing a magnetic filter installed on the return to the boiler to prevent sludge entering the boiler.
- You can also turn your boiler down. Turning your boiler down can be more economical in the short and long term. Setting your boiler to around 3/4 power can prolong the life of your boiler.
- Servicing your boiler can pick up on faults before they damage the boiler beyond economical repair.
Consequently we recommend looking after your boiler each year to help reduce unexpected bills. Above all, make sure you give your boiler the love and care it deserves. After all it looks after you 365 days a year.
Whats the difference between Corgi and Gas Safe?
Corgi was the previous awarding body, which has now closed down. Gas safe took over in 2009 as the awarding body. Any gas engineer that visits your property must be Gas Safe registered. Checking this is as simple as asking to see their gas safe card. Ensure you ask to see the back to check they are qualified to do the work required.
Here at J and S Plumbing and Heating we can help with servicing your boiler . Why not Click here to find out more? If you enjoyed reading it please can you share on your social media so others can enjoy it too?
Why choose us?
Great polite service from the whole team, from the first contact to leaving site. Helpful and friendly Matt did a fantastic job.
Jason replaced 2 bathrooms for us. We cannot fault either the excellent work or the professionalism of Jason and his team. Many thanks.
Andrew, Swallow Beck