How to vent a radiator

Do some of your radiators feel cold at the top and warm at the bottom? If so, this is being most probably caused by air that has been trapped in your radiator. You should be able to fix this  yourself by venting your radiators.

Venting a radiator is a simple, safe and process. Basically it just means opening a small valve on your radiator to allow any trapped air to escape.

Before you vent the radiators, please turn off your central heating system. This will prevent more air from entering the system and damage to the system.

Find the bleed valve this usually has a small grub screw and is located on one side at the top of the radiator.

Place a cup or old rag underneath the bleed valve to catch any excess water. Also be careful as the water that escapes from the radiator may be very hot.

Your radiators should have come with a small radiator key. If you can’t find the radiator key you should be able to buy one any DIY store.

The air vent should be  at the top of one side of your radiator. To vent your radiator, insert the radiator key into this valve or flat screwdriver with some air vents and carefully turn it anticlockwise. The air trapped in your radiator will start escaping with a hissing sound. When water begins to dribble out out the valve you will know that all the air has been removed from the radiator, the proceed to close clockwise not to tight. Your system should have a chemical inhibitor added to your system every 2 -3 years as this helps keep your boiler and central heating system in optimum condition and prevents boiler problems and system failures.

Still need help?

If the problem isn’t resolved by the advice above, or you’d rather not tackle it yourself, just give us a call on 07855 382 189.

How to defrost a frozen condensate pipe

Even the best-tended boiler will struggle to function if its condensate pipe freezes. Luckily, it’s not a difficult job to put things right if it does happen. This handy guide will help you get your boiler up and running quickly and easily.

 What is a condensate pipe?

A condensate pipe carries condensation from your boiler to your outside drain. It’s usually a white or grey plastic pipe that travels from your boiler through the external wall directly outside where your boiler is located.

During cold weather the condensation in this pipe may freeze and cause a blockage causing the condensate to back up into the boiler and cause a shutdown.

condensate-pipe-diagram
Condensate pipe emerging from the external wall.

 How to defrost the pipe

If you suspect that your boiler condensate pipe has frozen, following steps should help you get things back to normal quickly. Remember, if you don’t feel competent to follow this guidance then you should contact a expert boiler engineer for help.

  1. Confirm the condensate pipe is frozen
    Depending on the make of your boiler, a frozen condensate pipe may be indicated by a ‘fault code’ or warning light on the boiler’s display. Gurgling or bubbling sounds coming from the boiler or the condensate pipe are another sign that the condensate pipe has frozen.
  2. Locate the blockage
    The pipe is probably frozen at its most exposed point. This may be the open end of the pipe, or at a bend or elbow. Running your hands over the pipe until you find a section that feels colder than the rest should help you identify the blockage quickly.
  3. Thaw the pipe
    Using a jug or watering can, pour warm water along the length of the pipe, repeating the process until the pipe has thawed (don’t use boiling water as this can crack or damage the pipe). Alternatively, you can use a hot water bottle or a heat pack to slowly defrost the pipe.
  4. Restart your boiler
    Once the frozen section has been melted and cleared, check your boiler manual for instructions on how to reset the boiler correctly. Your boiler should now restart correctly. If you boiler doesn’t restart you will need to call out a qualified boiler engineer.

condensate-pipe-defrost
Pouring warm water along the length of the pipe.

 How to prevent the pipe from freezing again

You can avoid future stress by taking some steps to help prevent the condensate pipe from freezing again.

If your condensate pipe isn’t already insulated, wrap it in some old towels immediately to prevent it freezing again. As soon as you can, get down to your local DIY store and buy some foam pipe insulation to wrap the condensate pipe in. This insulation comes in a variety of sizes, so measure the pipe’s diameter before you buy.

condensate-pipe-insulate
Condensate pipe wrapped in foam insulation.

During extreme weather conditions, even proper insulation may not be enough to prevent the condensate pipe from freezing. It may help to temporarily run your boiler with the boiler thermostat set as high as possible for as long as the cold spell lasts. But if you continue to experience problems, just give us a call.

Replacing your old boiler

Boilers account for around 60% of what you spend in a year on energy bills, so an efficient boiler can save up to a third on your energy bills.

Why are new boilers more efficient?

Replacing an old gas boiler with an A-rated high-efficiency condensing boiler and improving your heating controls will significantly cut your home’s carbon dioxide emissions – and could save up to a third on your energy bills.
Why are new boilers more efficient?
A well-maintained boilers regularly serviced boiler burn their fuel very efficiently, but they inevitably lose some heat in the hot gases that escape up the flue. A condensing boiler has a bigger heat exchanger, which recovers more heat using the heat from the flue gases to good use, then sends cooler gases up the flue making it more efficient.

The flue gases can get so cool that the water vapour in the gas condenses out. When this happens, even more energy is recovered from the condensing vapour, and the efficiency gets higher still.

Installing a new boiler
If it is time to change your boiler, then the first thing is to decide what type of boiler you need, in terms of size heating output, and hot water demand all need to be considered seriously before choosing.

The most suitable boiler
Most old gas are conventional boilers – they have a separate hot water cylinder to store hot water, rather than providing it directly from the boiler. When you replace your boiler you have a choice of buying a new conventional condensing boiler, and keeping your hot water cylinder, or buying a combi boiler that doesn’t need a cylinder, there are advantages to both which should be considered before deciding

A  conventional boiler is actually more efficient than a combi at producing hot water in the first place, but then some heat is lost from the hot water cylinder, so a combi may be more efficient overall. The best option for you will depend on a the demands of your household:

What is the hot water usage  A large family house with more than one bathroom could be better off with a conventional boiler – a smaller house using less may be better off with a combination boiler.

If space is an issue? A combination boiler does not need a hot water cylinder, or header tanks and so requires less space.
If you are thinking of installing solar water heating? Most  combination boiler will not be compatible with solar water heating or cannot use it so effectively.
Once you’ve decided on the type of boiler. You can call us for a free survey and quote on 07855382189.

How to replace a tap washer

Isolate the  water supply hot and cold to the tap and open the tap this will drain any water from the tap. A useful tip is to put the plug in the waste. This will stop any part falling down the drain, which always happens (Murphys law).

Then remove the handle of the tap and you might need a screwdriver to remove the screw.

This is under a small red or blue bit of plastic top cover. Once the handle has been removed you will need some water pump pliers to remove the cover. Use and adjustable spanner to hold so as not let the tap move you may have to hold it in position.

Now you should have a hexagonal nut twist this with a spanner once again being very careful not to move the base of the tap. Pull out the hexagonal nut and at the bottom is your washer. Replace the complete faucet with a new one.

If the problem isn’t resolved by the advice above, or you’d rather not tackle it yourself, just give us a call on 07855 382 189.

Powerflushing your heating system

Over time sludge can block pipes and prevent the radiators from distributing heat around your system. Sludge also seriously affects the efficiency of your central heating system, it inevitably leads to higher fuel costs and shorten the time when you need to replace some or all of the central heating system.

The central heating system can also be power flushed.

Special sludge removal chemicals are added to the system via the header tank or the radiators which are then vibrated to agitate the corrosion . This process is then done to each of the radiators in turn, and the pipework and boiler until all of the floating debris has been removed via a twin magnetic filtration system which collects the debris and sludge removing 100% of the corrosion, the efficiency of the central heating system can be improved by up to 25% this will also keep your system working without the risk of expensive repairs to the boiler caused by sludge and debris.

This will remove the corrosion but we always recommend fitting of a magnetic filter.

Please phone us for any queries or help on anything on 07855382189

How to replace tap cartridge for quarter turn taps

Most Modern taps are different in design to older ones so stopping an annoying drip is not always easy as changing the washer. This is the case if you have a tap which turns from full off to full on with a quarter turn of the handle, these are ceramic type valves which vary from manufacturers so these need to be specially ordered which we would be happy to do.

If you have the Documentation for your taps, or email us at aa247gasheating@gmail.com a digital photo, then we can do the research before we arrive and often save a second visit.

Please phone us for any queries or help on anything 24 hours a day on 07855382189.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, poisonous gas produced by incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels, including gas, oil, wood and coal. CO poisoning can be fatal or cause permanent damage to your health. CO is produced when carbon fuels don’t burn properly. It has no smell or taste, in large quantities can kill very quickly.

Where does CO come from?

Co can be produced in all fuel burning appliances that are not regularly service and maintained such as cookers, gas fires and wall heaters , boilers and water heaters. Dangers signs that CO may be leaking include yellow or orange flames where there should normally be blue ones and sooty stains on the walls around fires or water heaters or any fuel burning appliance. You could also be poisoned by CO if you share a wall or chimney with a house that has a CO leak, even if your house does not have one.  You can’t see it, taste it or smell it but CO can kill quickly without warning. According to the Government statistics every year around 15 people die from CO poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed, maintained or regular servicing and that are poorly ventilated. Levels that do not kill can cause serious harm to health if breathed in over a long period. In extreme cases paralysis and brain damage can be caused as a result of prolonged exposure to CO. Increasing public understanding of the risks of CO poisoning and taking sensible precautions could dramatically reduce this risk.

There are signs that you can look out for which indicate incomplete combustion is occurring and may result in the production of CO;

Yellow or orange rather than blue flames (except fuel coal effect fires or flueless appliances which display this colour flame)
Soot or yellow/brown staining around or on appliances
Pilot lights that frequently blow out
Increased condensation inside windows
There are a number of simple steps that gas consumers can take to keep themselves safe.

Use this check list to check for CO leaks

1 Check the colour of the flames in your appliances. If they are orange, there may be a problem. Whatever the colour, you should get your gas appliances serviced every year.

2 Make sure your chimney flue isn’t blocked. If you have birds nesting in it, remove the nest and then fit a bird guard to stop them nesting in the future.

3 Do you have an eye level gas grill? These can be particularly dangerous so check yours is working properly. Older cookers can cause problems so use the electric toaster for now. Get your cooker checked !!

4 Is there enough ventilation in your home, with most modern houses been well insulated and double glazed, check air vents are not blocked and of the right size for your appliances , lack of air can produce CO.

5 When did you last get your appliances checked? Get them checked annually, a safety check and service is essential for maintaining your appliances – don’t leave it to chance. Use on qualified engineers and ask to see their identification. They must be registered with one of the following organisations:-
National Grid phone 0800 111999
Gas Safe Register phone 0800 4085500
HETAS Ltd phone 01462 634721
APICS (Association of Professional and Independent Chimney Sweeps) phone 0845 6585080
OFTEC (oil)phone 0845 6585080
NACs ( National Association of Chimney Sweeps) phone 01785811732

6 Do you suffer or have suffered from tiredness, unexplained illnesses muscle pains and aches, upset stomach, dizzy spells and regular headaches or have your family members suffered from these symptoms? if you have or your family members have go and consult with your doctor immediately for a carbon monoxide test because the CO in your blood will drop once you are in fresh air and the carbon monoxide test may not detect the correct CO levels in your blood.

7 Are you a tenant? If you are your landlord/lady should provide a current gas safety inspection certificate stating that all appliances have been checked and serviced.

Carbon Monoxide can be produced by any combustion appliance, including those that burn fossil fuels e.g. oil, wood and coal. If you have one of these appliances you should make sure that it is serviced and maintained by a competent person and the chimney is regularly swept.

Early symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning can mimic many common ailments and may easily be confused with food poisoning, viral infections, flu or simple tiredness. Symptoms to look out for include:

  • headaches or dizziness
  • breathlessness
  • nausea
  • loss of consciousness
  • tiredness
  • pains in the chest or stomach
  • erratic behaviour
  • visual problems

For more information visit the NHS or telephone NHS Direct on 0845 4647.

If you or your family experience any of the above symptoms and believe you may have been exposed to carbon monoxide, you should seek urgent medical advice from either your GP or an A&E department.