Five minor boiler problems that you could solve yourself

With businesses and home owners restricted by the rules of social distancing, isolation and lockdown, it might not be as easy to get a heating engineer to tend to your boiler emergency at the minute. The good news is that whilst it is always advisable to have a professional take care of most boiler repairs, not all problems need an engineer’s expertise. You might be able to solve the problem yourself.

The pros at British Gas highlight five common boiler problems that could be resolved by you at home or work. Have a look:

  1. Low pressure

Symptoms

  • Your boiler switches itself off
  • Your central heating makes banging sounds
  • Your upstairs radiators, or those furthest from the boiler, stop heating.

What to do?

Fixing this usually takes little more than a tweak of the filling loop on your boiler. So if the pressure gauge on your boiler control panel reads less than 1 bar, carefully use your valve to increase it to between 1 and 1.5.

Just bear in mind that you might have to reset your boiler once you’ve re-pressurised the system, so check your manufacturer’s guide for details on how to do this.

  1. Problem with settings

Symptoms

  • Your boiler doesn’t come on when it should, or comes on erratically
  • The boiler doesn’t fire up
  • You have an error displaying (or a blank panel) on your thermostat.

What to do?

Your timer settings may have changed if you’ve had a power cut, or someone’s accidentally knocked the panel. So double check and adjust them if you need to, using your boiler manual if you’re unsure. Check that the central heating dial on the boiler control panel is turned up too.

Next, check the thermostat settings. If the temperature is set below 21℃ your boiler might not fire up, so increase the temperature to see if this helps. If there’s nothing displayed on the thermostat panel you might need to replace the batteries.

  1. Pilot light gone out

Symptoms

  • There’s no visible pilot light on your boiler
  • Your boiler won’t fire up.

What to do?

A pilot light can blow out for a number of reasons, but you should be able to reignite it by following the instructions on your boiler.

  1. Boiler locks out and needs resetting

Symptoms

  • The lock-out (red) light on your boiler keeps coming on
  • Your boiler control panel displays an error code
  • The boiler won’t fire up

What to do?

Sometimes a simple reset is all that’s needed. You should find your boiler reset button somewhere on the front control panel. If you can’t locate it, take a look at your boiler manual then follow the instructions on how to reset the system. If this doesn’t work you could try switching the boiler off and then on again.

  1. Frozen condensate pipe

Symptoms

  • The boiler makes gurgling sounds when you try to use it
  • Your boiler won’t fire up
  • The temperature outside has been particularly cold

What to do?

Try thawing it yourself by applying hot (but not boiling) water and a warm compress – like a hot water bottle – directly to the pipe.

If these simple solutions don’t work it could mean that you have a more serious problem with your boiler. Also note that it’s only safe to perform the most minor boiler repairs yourself. If you’re in doubt about any of the above do not hesitate to call your trusted technician, who will be able to advise you on the best course of action, perhaps even as your make the repair yourself.

For further details on any of the aforementioned repairs, visit Britishgas.co.uk which has videos and more detailed explanations on how to conduct these minor repairs.

For all your energy related questions, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.

Where are boilers more likely to breakdown?

New research suggests a link between hard water areas and the frequency of boilers breaking down. After a thorough examination of properties across Great Britain, 2020’s UK Boiler Breakdown Study ranks areas from best to worst when it comes to boiler reliability:

  1. Scotland (1.79%)
  2. Yorkshire and the Humber (1.97%)
  3. North West (1.92%)
  4. South West (1.97%)
  5. Wales (2.05%)
  6. South East (2.11%)
  7. East (2.17%)
  8. East Midlands (2.21%)
  9. North East (2.42%)
  10. West Midlands (2.75%)
  11. London (2.91%)

Interestingly, boilers in Scotland are the most resilient against breakdowns, in spite of the fact that average temperatures across Scotland are decidedly lower when compared than the rest of the UK mainland. In 2019, the average temperature north of the border was just 7.9 °C, compared to England (10.4 °C) and Wales (9.7 °C), suggesting that: either Scottish boilers are more resilient to the colder conditions or residents are more reluctant to turn them on when it gets cold.

London properties are shown to have experienced the largest number of boiler-related problems over the course of last year. In general, Northern regions fared better than the rest of the UK when it came to reliability.

Just behind Scotland in the rankings are North West (1.92%) and Yorkshire and the Humber (1.97%) – also the areas with the softest water in the country.

There is also a link between home ownership and the percentage of boilers breaking down, according to the study, with areas dominated by rental properties (such as London, the North East and the West Midlands) experiencing more frequent breakdowns. This is likely due to tenants not keeping a close eye on the condition of their boiler or not living in a property for a long enough time to notice any changes.

David Holmes, the founder of Boiler Guide, says: “…when looking at areas towards the other end of the scale, London is synonymous with having an abundance of ‘older’ residential and commercial properties, with many containing older heating systems that are in dire need of repair. Coupled with the higher occupancy rates and the dense population of the region, the strain put on boilers and other home heating systems is hard to ignore.”

It’s imperative that boilers are serviced at least once a year by a Gas Safe engineer so that irregularities can be picked up and fixed before any major breakdown occurs. Whether you’re a home owner or managing a commercial property; maintaining  your boiler will ensure that it works efficiently, effectively and safely.

For all your energy related questions, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.

Source: Pham News

How does your business consume and spend money on energy?

Do you feel like you’re overspending on energy? Check out the latest stats to see where your company sits in comparison to the average:

The cost of running your office is dependent on many factors but what is the average cost for a micro, small and medium office? Check out the following stats:

Business size:

Micro 5,000-15,000 kWh
Small 15,000-30,000 kWh
Medium 30,000-50,000 kWh

** A kilowatt-hour (or kWh) is the unit of energy utility companies use to measure how much gas and electricity you’re using.

The factors (mentioned above) that contribute to how much energy your company uses…here’s a breakdown of appliance usage based on a standard variable business tariff (c. 18p pkWH):

Air con 29.15%
Light fittings 26.12%
Computers 10.91%
Vending Machine 6.05%
Water Cooler 6.05%
Kettles 4.66%
Fridge 3.33%
Printers 3.02%
Hand dryers 2.59%
Microwaves 1.73%
TV screens 1.71%
Laptops 1.27%
Dishwasher 1.04%
Toasters 1.04%
Coffee machine 0.86%
Desk fans 0.48%

Electricity is a necessity for running an office, but what might surprise you is which appliances are costing you the most. The total cost of running this model office was £10,423 in energy bills alone.

Your business might be a lot smaller but the above model provides an idea of what appliances are costing you the most – and where you might be able to cut down on use.

Another really interesting statistic is that 46 per cent of business energy is consumed outside of 8am-6pm – as found by British Gas. This highlights a need for improved energy efficiency such as ensuring computers, lights, kitchen appliances are turned off. And to ensure that you are getting the best deal possible, compare energy providers regularly to see how much money you could save!

For all your energy related questions, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.

Source: Finder

The impact of heating on CO2 emissions

To avert the impact of climate change we must reduce our carbon emissions; this is not news. However, a new survey by clean tech company, Vestemi, has revealed that many of us don’t realise that heating buildings has an environmental effect. Most buildings in the UK, whether homes or businesses, run on fossil fuels such as natural gas or oil; as a result heating contributes to 37 per cent of the UK’s carbon levels.

According to Vestemi, over half the people surveyed had no idea that heating is contributing to the UK’s carbon level. When asked how they felt about this fact, 75 per cent said it made them feel helpless and unsure about how they could change this. When asked if they would put measures in place to help reduce emissions, 78 per cent said they would and were keen to know more about what was available to them. A quarter of respondents said it made them want to take urgent action.

As a home or business owner, one of the simplest ways to help reduce emissions is to turn the thermostat temperature down to 19ºC; 82per cent of survey respondents said they would do this, across ages. Other measures that can be implemented to help reduce the carbon footprint of your building are smart radiator thermostats and insulation, which were the most popular choices for survey respondents.

For respondents who are aware of the impact of heating on emissions, the majority opted for more costly options, including improving insulation and boiler replacements.

Jeremy Lock, CEO of Vestemi, says: “It’s clear the energy industry as a whole needs to raise more awareness of the solutions available. Reducing emissions is not about complicated solutions, it’s about making those small steps to great impact. If we all do a little, and now, we can achieve a lot more in a shorter timeframe and help reach that 2050 net zero goal.”

For all your energy related questions, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.

Source: phamnews.co.uk

Worcester Bosch suggest new ‘Hydrogen-ready’ boiler zero emissions solution

The UK has recently agreed to a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 – a massive challenge as it will mean big changes including the end of petrol and diesel cars and gas boilers. Already Worcester Bosch has met with MPs to present their first hydrogen-ready boiler as part of the zero carbon solution.

The boiler manufacturer claims that the hydrogen boiler offers a cleaner future for UK heating. The boiler can run on natural gas until the current gas grid can be converted to hydrogen, which will minimise the amount of expense and disruption involved in replacing the system. Thirty years sounds like a long time but to change there’s a lot to do.

The majority of homes in the UK are heated by combination gas boilers which will need to be phased out and replaced with renewable heating alternatives (such as heat pumps, biomass boilers or solar thermal panels, or through electrification of the network using electricity generated through renewable technology such as solar PV and wind farms) if the UK is to achieve its new zero emissions target.

After a thorough investigation and assessment, Worcester Bosch believes that gradually decarbonising the supply running through the mains gas network by adding hydrogen would not only cost three times less than the government’s current aim of electrification, but would also allow the UK’s heating infrastructure to remain.

Martyn Bridges, Director of Technical Communication and Product Management at Worcester Bosch said, “The development of hydrogen-fired boilers will mean millions of existing heating systems in our homes can be saved, rather than the entire system needing to be replaced if alternative technologies such as heat pumps were installed.”

For all your energy related questions, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.

Sources: Theguardian.com and Boilerguide.co.uk

Top business energy users in the UK

The more people there are, the greater demand there is…on everything; goods, services and, yes, energy. Businesses have to keep up and in 2017/18 the amount of energy used in the UK grew by 1.1 per cent; the highest amount of energy since 2013. The Government stats are in and the UK’s top 10 biggest business energy consumers are:

  1. Commercial and miscellaneous services – 14,575 ktoe
  2. Public administration – 5,647 ktoe
  3. Manufacturing and industrial services – 3,774 ktoe
  4. Chemical manufacturing – 3,668 ktoe
  5. Food, drink and tobacco manufacturing – 3,110 ktoe
  6. Mineral products manufacturing – 2,689 ktoe
  7. Printing and publishing – 1,890 ktoe
  8. Agriculture – 1,584 ktoe
  9. Mechanical engineering – 1,567 ktoe
  10. Iron, steel and metal manufacturing – 1,507 ktoe

And here’s where it was used:

  • Transport – 40 per cent
  • Domestic – 29 per cent
  • Industry – 16 per cent
  • Services – 15 per cent

Where does your business sit in the stats? And are you using more energy to meet service/industry demand?

The good news is that although energy consumption is on the rise (due to an increase in population), consumption of natural gas grew by 1.6 mtoe (million tonnes of oil equivalent) and the consumption of bioenergy continues to increase. The consumption of natural gas has also increased more than tenfold from 3,662 ktoe in 1970 to 43,787 ktoe in 2018.

As business owners it’s important o do what we can to mitigate our impact on the environment. For all your energy related questions, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.

Source: Gazprom-energy.co.uk

Top tips for running commercial heating in winter

There are three things that make running a heating system in a commercial property tricky and even expensive: the large size of the building in question, the number of people populating the building at any given time and the varying purpose of the building (which may have offices, kitchens, sleeping quarters etc.) all requiring different levels of heat.

As winter approaches, commercial buildings will want to be efficient, environmentally friendly and cost-effective in their energy use. There are some practical ways to do this:

  • Understand your heating system and how it works, which will inform whether or not the heating system in place suits the size of the property.
  • A thermostat will ensure a consistent temperature, keeping everything comfortable without fiddling with settings all day. Position thermostats carefully – not next to doors or windows – to ensure accurate readings.
  • Use timers to heat rooms only when needed (understanding that different parts of the building will have different heating requirements), which will ensure the correct temperature in each room.
  • Service boilers annually so as to ensure optimal functioning.
  • Eliminate draughts! Up to 15 per cent of energy lost from a building escapes through gaps in doors and windows, which equates to up to 15 per cent of the money spent on heating going out the door.
  • Use natural resources to heat the premises – like sunlight (big windows, open blinds) and close blinds to keep heat in when sun has gone down.
  • Partition a big office space into smaller spaces to deflect and capture heat.
  • One system may not be the best option for a multipurpose building, in which case a range of smaller systems might work better. Installation could be expensive but cheaper in the long-term.

Above all else, system maintenance is essential! For all your energy related questions, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.

Sources: Villageheating.co.uk; Robinsonsmea.com

How much does it cost to run an office?

Electricity makes the world go round – and the office. Finder.com recently published a compilation of the latest statistics that reveal how UK businesses consumed and spent money on energy over the last year. It’s a useful piece of information as it enables business owners who might be worried they’ve overspent to see where they sit on the scale of average.

The cost of running your office is dependent on many factors but the average cost for a micro, small and medium office is as follows:

MicroElectricity: 5,000 – 15,000kWh (£1, 062); Gas: 10, 000 kWh (£430)

MediumElectricity: 15,000 – 30,000kWh (£2,038); Gas: 25,000kWh (£856)

LargeElectricity: 30,000 – 50,000kWh (£3, 146); Gas: 45,000kWh (£1,424)

The appliances that are cost offices the most are:

Appliance                   Percentage of total electricity bill

Air Con                        29.15%

Light Fittings               26.12%

Computers                  10.1%

Vending Machine        6.05%

Water Cooler              6.05%

Kettles                         4.66%

Fridge                          3.33%

Printers                       3.02%

Hand Dryers                2.59%

Microwaves                1.73%

TV Screen                    1.71%

Laptops                       1.27%

Dishwasher                 1.04%

Toasters                      1.04%

Coffee Machine          0.86%

Desk Fans                    0.48%

These statistics offer insight into where businesses can cut back on costs when it comes to running an office or perhaps even invest more if the budget allows.

For all your energy related questions, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.

Apple energy goes 100% green

Apple has just announced that in a concerted effort to combat climate change, all of its retail stores, data centres and corporate offices in 43 countries (including the US, the UK, China and India) now run on 100 per cent clean energy. Apple uses a variety of clean energy sources, such as solar technology, wind farms and new concepts like biogas fuel cells and micro-hydro generation systems for generating electricity.

This is huge inspiration for Apple supporters, particularly businesses that use Apple products as well as those that supply Apple. In fact, to date there are 23 Apple suppliers that have pledged to power their Apple production with 100 per cent clean energy.

Thus far, clean energy from supplier projects helped avoid over 1.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gases from being emitted in 2017, the equivalent of taking more than 300,000 cars off the road. In addition, over 85 suppliers have registered for Apple’s Clean Energy Portal, an online platform that Apple developed to help suppliers identify commercially viable renewable energy solutions in regions around the world.

In a statement about the energy milestone, Apple CEO Tim Cook said: “We’re going to keep pushing the boundaries of what is possible with the materials in our products, the way we recycle them, our facilities and our work with suppliers to establish new creative and forward-looking sources of renewable energy because we know the future depends on it.”

Whilst sustainability is said to be a priority for many companies, as the saying goes: actions speak louder than words. Well done Apple!

For all your energy related questions, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.

Source: Apple.com – “Apple now powered by 100 percent renewable energy”

Ten ways to help your business reduce its carbon footprint

The bigger the business, the bigger the carbon footprint – and the harder you’ll have to work to do your part help reduce global carbon emissions. The good news (for everyone) is that an increasing number of businesses are committed to 100 per cent renewable energy! Here are some practical steps your business (small or large) can take to shrink its footprint:

  1. Proper insulating. Poorly insulated premises require large quantities of energy to heat.
  2. Recycle.
  3. Support businesses (through business deals, purchases etc.) committed to reducing their impact on the climate.
  4. Buy gas and electricity from retailers who sell renewable power – this will grow companies, who can then offer competitive rates.
  5. Drive less. Walking or riding a bike releases far fewer carbon emissions into the atmosphere than driving a car.
  6. Reduce your water usage – encourage employees to take shorter showers, install low flush toilets, be sure to turn off the taps properly.
  7. Air travel is usually the largest component of the carbon footprint of frequent flyers – find an alternative mode of transport (trains?) or not take as many flights.
  8. Replace old gas and oil boilers, which can be wasteful. By replacing your old boiler with a new one (even if the old one is working well), your fuel use could fall by a third or more.
  9. Avoid energy-sapping halogen lights and go with LEDs (light-emitting diodes) where possible.
  10. Consume less. Invest in fewer and better things for your business.

For more ideas on how to reduce your carbon footprint, read “How to reduce your carbon footprint” and “Easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint“.

For all your energy related questions, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.