Faulty gas appliances leave Brits at risk of CO poisoning

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Every year thousands of people across the UK are diagnosed with carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, often caused by faulty central heating systems, gas cookers or gas fires.

Thousands more suffer without even knowing they are being poisoned. Gas Safe Register has launched gas safety week to highlight the importance of having gas appliances in the home safety checked annually.
Research released by the Department of Health confirms that large numbers of people are presenting themselves at hospital with low-level CO poisoning. Over a 12 month period, around 4,000 people have presented themselves at hospital with low-level CO poisoning. Accidental CO poisoning, arising from a variety of fuels, has resulted in more than 50 deaths this year.

Low-level CO poisoning symptoms mirror ailments such as cold, flu or general tiredness and can come about when small amounts of CO gradually escape from gas appliances into the air. But because CO has no taste, colour or smell, it is almost impossible to detect and people don’t realise they are in a dangerous situation until it’s too late.

The CO poisoning statistics come at the same time as research commissioned by Gas Safe Register, which found that a staggering 43% of people don’t get their gas appliances checked regularly, and nearly 1 in 10 are living with appliances that have never been checked.

Paul Johnston, Chief Executive of Gas Safe Register, said “Both sets of research expose worrying problems. It has been known for a long time that even low-level CO poisoning can cause significant harm, but people are failing to understand the importance of annual safety checks. That is why we’ve created Gas Safety Week (12 -18 September) to encourage people to take care and be gas safe.”

Medical expert Dr Rosemary Leonard comments,

“CO poisoning is a big problem because it creates symptoms that mirror more common everyday ailments. High levels of CO, often caused by faulty central heating systems, gas appliances and gas fires, can cause loss of consciousness and it can kill quickly with no warning. Those with low-level CO poisoning can face long-term health problems and children. Pregnant women and older people are particularly vulnerable.”

Contact Square Services for more information on 0208 226 5678 (phone), 0752 535 5005 (mobile) or info@squareservices.co.uk

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Flues in Voids

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Important advice for consumers who have flues which run in ceiling spaces or voids.

Some properties, mainly flats and apartments, have been built with boiler flues which cannot be inspected because they are hidden behind walls or ceilings. The boiler flues that this information relates to are connected to room-sealed fan assisted boilers. If you live in one of these homes then please read on for more information so you know what to do.

Gas Safe registered engineers need to be able to see the flue − which take fumes away from the boiler − as part of essential safety checks whenever the boiler is worked on. A flue in poor condition, combined with a boiler that is not working properly, could put you and your family in danger from carbon monoxide poisoning, which can cause death or serious injury.

If your boiler is situated on an outside wall, it is unlikely you have this type of flue. Alternatively, if your engineer can see all of the flue, you will not need to take any further action in relation to this matter.

If you do have a boiler where all, or part of, the flue cannot be seen, you, or your landlord, will need to arrange for inspection hatches to be fitted. This does not mean that your flue system is suddenly unsafe. As long as the boiler passes a series of safety checks − including having audible carbon monoxide alarms fitted − it can be used normally for the time being.

Carbon monoxide alarms are not an alternative to being able to see the flue and you will still need to have inspection hatches fitted. You have until 31 December 2012 for this work to be completed. It is recommended that inspection hatches are fitted as soon as you are able to do so. From 1 January 2013, any Gas Safe registered engineer will turn the boiler off and formally advise you not to use it until inspection hatches have been fitted in appropriate places.

Although most of the affected boiler and flue systems are relatively new (installed since 2000), the risk of faults leading to the release of carbon monoxide increases as the system gets older, especially if it is not serviced regularly. It is important that you have your gas appliance serviced annually.

You need to take action now

If your property is less than two years old then contact a builder. If your property is between two and ten years old contact your home warranty provider, as you may be covered by them if there are defects in the flue. A list of the main home warranty providers is shown below. If your property is 10 years or older you should contact a Gas Safe registered engineer.

If you are a tenant, it is the responsibility of your landlord to ensure that inspection hatches are installed and that the boiler and flue are checked every year.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at Square Services. T: 0208 226 5678 – M: 0752 535 5005 – E: info@squareservices.co.uk

If you have a specific enquiry e.g. around building warranties please direct it one of the groups listed below.

For any additional enquiries not answered through these routes please send questions to: fluesinvoids@gassaferegister.co.uk and it will be dealt with by a member of the group.

List of main home warranty providers

NHBC (National House Building Council) 
0844 633 1000 

Premier Guarantee 
08444 120 888 

Zurich Building Guarantee 
01252 387 535 

This advice has been developed by the Flues in Voids cross-industry team. It is made up of representatives of Gas Safe Register, house builders, home warranty providers, registered gas engineers, appliance manufacturers (including HHIC) and others and assisted by HSE, to provide clear communication to industry and consumers around the issue of flues being located in voids which do not allow inspection.

Contact Square Services for more information on 0208 226 5678 (phone), 0752 535 5005 (mobile) or info@squareservices.co.uk

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Gas boiler breakdown / Fault Finding

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Finding your gas boiler has stopped working can be a frightening time for even the most technically-minded of us all – the problem could be as simple as a seized part, right up to something more dangerous, so it is wise to act as soon as you find your gas boiler has stopped working. Get a qualified Gas Safe registered Engineer to check over and do some fault finding on your boiler/ system.

Do not attempt to do any work on your gas boiler to fix the problem yourself, but, if possible, turn off the supply of gas to the boiler itself.

This short guide should teach you what to do in the event of a gas boiler breakdown, as well as the risks involved in leaving a gas boiler broken.

Contacting Insurance

If you have taken out insurance on your gas boiler, your insurance company should have a 24 hour emergency number to contact in case of a gas boiler breakdown, with qualified and reassuring customer service agents that will then guide you through what to do next, depending on their procedure.

Some insurance companies will take the whole problem out of your hands and contact an engineer to fix the gas boiler from their trusted sister companies, others will require that you contact a n engineer yourself and provide the quote to repair to the insurance company.

Contacting an independent company like Square Services

If you have not insured your gas boiler, or your insurance requests that you contact an engineer to fix your gas boiler breakdown yourself, there are several important factors to look out for. Although most engineers available to fix your gas boiler are to be relied upon, there are a few issues you must ensure you check before committing to an engineer, these are:

Qualifications – All engineers must be Gas safe registered to work on a gas boiler, always make sure to check.

Experience – Whether you get a recommendation from a friend about an engineer, or go through an established company that specialises in sending out experienced boiler engineers. If possible, do a little research on your local engineers ring around, use the internet. This could save you a lot of heartache over unreliable or just plain dodgy engineers.

Quotes – Always get a quote, and make sure you ring several trusted, qualified engineers to make sure you can get the best deal you can. Even if you are insured, some insurance companies will put a limit on the amount you can claim on your policy, or raise your premium, so it is wise not to go for the more expensive or the cheapest just because you are insured.

For more information or a quote

Contact Square Services for more information on 0208 226 5678 (phone), 0752 535 5005 (mobile) or info@squareservices.co.uk

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Gas Boiler Service – Boiler Servicing for Gas Combi & Regular Boilers

Friday, May 20th, 2011

It is a common attitude that it seems pointless to service anything in our throw-away culture, as some things appear cheaper to replace than repair. Unfortunately, this rule does not apply to our gas boilers.

This is due to a number of reasons; a gas boiler is often run every day in the home, and depending on the workload can wear faster than other appliances, simple faults in a gas boiler are easy and inexpensive to fix.

With these faults increasing if ignored and resulting in the need to replace the whole gas boiler at a large expense, most importantly, an under-maintained gas boiler could prove dangerous to you and your family.

When Should I Service My Gas Boiler?

The peak times for people to develop an issue with their heating and boiler is at the end of the summer months, when people turn on their gas boilers after months of inactivity. In these months, it is not uncommon for a gas boiler to develop issues with clogged or seized parts due to lack of use.

Because of this, it is recommended that you schedule a gas boiler service before the end of summer – through the months of February and October are the most quiet for boiler engineers. Not only are you more likely to get a better service and from an engineer at a time that suits you more this way, it is possible that you may also receive a discounted rate out of the peak months.

How Much Will It Cost?

A full service of your boiler will cost from £85 for a Domestic standard efficiency boiler or high-efficiency condensing boiler and from £225 for a Commercial standard efficiency boiler or high-efficiency condensing boiler. Be sure to mention the make and model of your boiler – as well as its age and location, to ensure you get the best deal possible. As some boilers require service kits and these will need to be ordered if we have none available.

Anything Else?

In addition to the important boiler service, it is strongly advised that you install a carbon monoxide detector in your home in close proximity to the boiler itself. Carbon monoxide kills around 30 people a year in the UK, and is completely taste and smell free, A carbon monoxide detector will provide you with firm peace of mind concerning your safety, and may save your life.

In Conclusion

Not only is a regular, annual gas boiler service essential to ensure that any issues developing are discovered and dealt with quickly and efficiently at less inconvenience to yourself, it is also essential for safety, energy efficiency, and ensuring you get the most out of the life of your boiler.

To book a boiler service or for more information

Contact Square Services for more information on 0208 226 5678 (phone), 0752 535 5005 (mobile) or info@squareservices.co.uk

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Gas Safety Certifcates

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

Service Maintenance Check Certificate

Your Gas Safe registered engineer may give you gas safety information to show your gas appliances are working safely.

After a Gas Safe registered engineer has fitted or serviced your gas appliance, they will often leave you with a report, which explains what checks they did.

This report may be issued as a gas safety record, sometimes referred to as a gas safety certificate depending on the job you have asked them to do. It isn’t always a legal requirement for your engineer to give you this type of information, but many Gas Safe registered engineers will provide it or similar.

The gas safety information tells you that the gas appliance or gas fitting has been checked to see if it is working safely and meets the correct safety standards. This information may also tell you when you next need to service the appliance.

It’s important to get your appliances regularly serviced to make sure they are working efficiently and safely. You should also have a gas safety check done on all gas fittings and appliances every year.

Do you live in a rented property?

Did you know that your landlord has legal responsibilities when it comes to gas safety?

If you rent a property, ask your landlord for a copy of the current Gas Safety record. This record shows that gas appliances have had an annual gas safety check by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Landlords must also maintain gas appliances, so check the date when yours were last serviced as well.

Learn about what other steps you should be taking to make sure the home you rent is gas safe.

Are you a landlord?

Landlords must be able to provide their tenants with an up-to-date Gas Safety record.

By law, landlords must have all gas appliances serviced regularly, normally once a year by a Gas Safe registered engineer. The Gas Safe registered engineer will provide a Gas Safety record upon completion of the check.

Learn about what other steps you should be taking to make sure the property you let is gas safe.

What information does the Landlords Gas Safety record contain?

As a minimum, the record of a gas safety check must contain:

• Description and location of each appliance and/or flue checked.
• Name, registration number and signature of the engineer who carried out the check.
• Date on which the appliance and/or flue was checked.
• The address of the property at which the appliance and/or flue is installed.
• The name and address of the landlord (or his agent where appropriate).
• Any defect identified and any action required or taken to fix it.
• Confirmation of the results of operational safety checks carried out on the appliances.

Are a gas safety check and a service the same thing?

Not quite. A service includes a thorough clean of the appliance as well as the gas safety checks.

For a gas safety check or a service, essential safety checks are done to make sure gas fittings and appliances are safe to use. These checks include:

• Checking the flue or chimney to make sure the products of combustion (fumes) are being safely removed to outside.
• Checking there is an adequate supply of fresh air so the gas burns properly.
• Checking the appliance is burning the gas properly.
• Checking all safety devices are working properly and shutting the appliance off if a fault occurs.

Are you a homeowner?

Building Regulation Compliance certificates

Since April 2005, there has been a requirement under the Building Regulations (England & Wales) to notify building works (including the installation/commission of some gas appliances homes).

For further information on what building work should be notified under these regulations, please visit the website. Gas Safe registered businesses are able to carry out this notification for you through a self-certification process available through Gas Safe Register. 

If gas appliances are notified through this system, as the homeowner you will receive either a Declaration of Safety certificate or a Building Regulation Compliance certificate. 

To make sure that you are receiving the correct certificate you can view examples of both the Declaration of Safety certificate and the Building Regulation Compliance certificate online. In the UK and Isle of Man any gas safety record given to you after 1 April 2009 will only be valid if the engineer is registered with Gas Safe Register. In Northern Ireland and Guernsey it will only be valid after 1 April 2010.

Contact Square Services for more information on 0208 226 5678 (phone), 0752 535 5005 (mobile) or info@squareservices.co.uk

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Boiler Problems

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

Boiler Noise, Leaking, Knocking, Grinding, Clicking, Low Pressure?

Although a well-fitted, modern and reliably-sourced boiler from a reputable company or supplier is less likely to cause issues than an older, cheaper boiler, all boilers generally suffer from a variety of similar ailments when they do develop problems.

Lack of an annual boiler service, as well as severe conditions or stress the boiler is put under will increase the likelihood of your boiler developing common boiler problems other than the usual wear and tear over time resulting in loss of hot water and/or heating.

Common Boiler Issues

There are a few common boiler problems that boilers may experience – some can be fixed by yourself at home without the need of an engineer or any special tools, while others may need parts or adjustment that can only be made by a qualified engineer.

Most issues a boiler may have are difficult to possible to diagnose with a glance, with problems such as poor heat maintenance, noise and unreliability being the only signals that there could be something wrong. A good way of checking if your boiler has any issues that are currently small is by taking a look at the water pressure on the boiler.
Loss of Pressure – Your boiler will work at its optimum level only if the water pressure is made constant. Most modern combination boilers will be pressurised with the water entering its system from the mains cold though a device called the ‘filling loop’. Any loss of pressure in a modern combination boiler therefore can be fixed by adding water through the filling loop to the system.

Water Leaks – Water leaks can be very small at first, and cause a loss of pressure in your boiler. Checking the pressure on your boilers pressure gauge is a good idea to keep abreast of any possible water leaks in the system – as small leaks often evaporate quickly and are therefore hard to find, but can develop into larger leaks. The correct pressure of your boiler should be between the 1 and 1.5 level, it should never drop below 0.5 or be found rising about 2.5. Topping up the filling loop, which should be close to the boiler itself, will re-pressurise the system again if it drops too low.

Blockages – These can be detected by a loss of heat or water through parts of the system, or by an abnormal pressure reading on the boiler itself. Fixing these should not be attempted by someone without a Gas Safe Registration or with respect to condensing boilers without the necessary experience.

Repairing Common Boiler Problems

If your boiler develops a fault that you feel you cannot repair or want to be safe and have someone take a look at it, then the first thing you should do it contact a qualified heating engineer. Once you have established the exact problem with your boiler, it may be wise to shop around reputable engineers for a quote and parts to repair it.

When choosing an engineer, as well as it being vital that they are Gas Safe Registered, be sure they have plenty of experience in repairing your type of boiler (look up the make and model number of your boiler and ask engineers if they have worked on the common boiler problem your boiler is experiencing before) as well as doing some research either among friends or on-line on the reputation of the engineers in your area.

Contact Square Services for more information on 0208 226 5678 (phone), 0752 535 5005 (mobile) or info@squareservices.co.uk

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6 Year Guarantee

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

An exclusive 6 year* guarantee on all Greenstar gas & oil-fired condensing boilers

Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to extend and enjoy peace of mind. As part of the worldwide Bosch Group, Worcester achieves the highest standards in quality, design, reliability and after-sales service and support.

By choosing a new highly efficient Worcester condensing boiler, you’re playing an important part in reducing your heating and hot water bills and helping to save energy.

Investing in proven Worcester quality and reliability represents great value for money and delivers peace of mind. Worcester is offering to extend your peace of mind by extending your guarantee to 6 years when you choose any of these Worcester boilers from your local Worcester Registered Installer.

Gas-fired models:
Greenstar Ri regular boilers, Greenstar i Junior combi boilers, Greenstar i System boilers, Greenstar Si combi boilers, Greenstar CDi combi boilers, Greenstar CDi regular boilers, Greenstar CDi System boilers, Greenstar FS CDi regular boilers, Greenstar Highflow combi boilers.

Oil-fired models:
Greenstar Camray boilers, Greenstar Danesmoor boilers, Greenstar Heatslave boilers, Greenstar Utility boilers.

Act NOW to qualify for the Worcester extended guarantee on boilers purchased and installed between 1st May and 31st August 2011.*

Contact Square Services for more information on 0208 226 5678 (phone), 0752 535 5005 (mobile) or info@squareservices.co.uk

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Renewable Heat Incentive Update

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

The Government’s much anticipated Renewable Heat Incentive has left more questions than it has given answers, according to one of the UK’s largest domestic heating manufacturers.

Neil Schofield, Head of Government and External Affairs at Worcester, Bosch Group commented:

“We welcome any initiative that attempts to bring the benefits of renewable heat generation to greater numbers of people, but today’s announcement focuses very firmly on the industrial, commercial and public sectors.

“There are a number of questions yet to be answered for the domestic sector which leaves the picture confused.”

He continued:

“The fact that mainstream households will not be able to access RHI until October 2012 has led the Government to try and bridge the gap with the RHI Premium Payment, but we will not get details on this until May 2011.

“My take on it is that there is going to be some sort of grant subsidy made available for those who want to install now.

“In particular, the information on payments is vague as is the criteria by which a property will be deemed to be of sufficient standard to qualify for the RHI.

“My suspicion is that it will be Band D properties and above, but we need more information.

“The RHI, as it stands, appears to be focussed on non-domestic heating, early adopters and those off the mains gas network, which leaves questions about how we will encourage mass uptake.

“In summation, whilst we welcome this it does not feel like a game-changer.”

Source: Worcester Bosch Group

Contact Square Services for more information on 0208 226 5678 (phone), 0752 535 5005 (mobile) or info@squareservices.co.uk

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Oil boiler users urged to shop around

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Oil boiler users have been urged to shop around and diversify their heating technologies following increased concerns about competition in the oil supply marketplace.

The advice, from Worcester, Bosch Group, one of the UK’s leading boiler manufacturers, comes in the wake of record oil prices and media reports about an oil boiler fuel comparison website which is, in fact, owned by an oil company and is allegedly charging up to 25p per litre more than the average market price in certain instances.

Concern about the effect of high oil prices on the off-gas grid energy market has led the Minister of Energy, Charles Hendry, to ask the Office of Fair Trading to investigate the impact of high, rising and volatile commodity prices on communities, such as those in rural areas, who are off the mains gas grid.

Martyn Bridges, Director of Marketing and Technical Support, at Worcester, Bosch Group, commented:

“Consumers need to shop around to get the best oil price for their domestic heating systems, not just rely on their usual supplier or a supposed price comparison website.

“It is becoming clear that there are some sharp practices being employed, not least the charging of up to £200 for delivery, which is normally bundled into the cost of the oil.”

The market for oil boilers has decreased dramatically in recent years from approximately 100,000 units sold in 2000 down to approximately 60,000 in 2010.

“My own view is that the market for oil boilers has reached its natural floor now,” says Martyn.

“We expect there to be a market for the replacement of oil boilers for many years to come as the technology tends to have a long operational life and there are more than one million households in the UK which still rely on oil for heating.”

It also very possible that a “renaissance” of a sort could be around the corner with the hope of bio-oil being included within the RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive) and customers being paid for using this fuel.

“Installers also need to be advising anyone off the mains gas grid is to investigate the potential for renewable technologies, such as solar thermal and solar pv, or perhaps heat pumps in conjunction with an oil boiler, in order to give households an element of energy security and a hedge against rising commodity prices.”

Source: Worcester Bosch Group

Contact Square Services for more information on 0208 226 5678 (phone), 0752 535 5005 (mobile) or info@squareservices.co.uk

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Worcester launches online gas boiler help

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Worcester provides quick online advice to stop you feeling the chill.

As the weather turns chilly we all start taking a little more notice of our boiler than normal.

Occasionally it may show a range of codes or flashing lights which could be alerting you to something simple that can be easily corrected, or may be a sign that your boiler needs a service from a qualified engineer.

Offering quick hints and answers that could help you locate the problem and avoid calling out a service engineer when it is not needed, Worcester, Bosch Group has added a ‘Quick Gas Boiler Help’ section to its website, to point its customers in the right direction.

Simply choose your Worcester gas boiler from the drop down box and click ‘find tips’ for helpful advice on keeping your heating system in tip top condition.

A list of frequently asked questions – and answers – are also listed on the site giving advice on topics such as repressurising your system, what does a blue flashing light mean or what does a certain code mean, and the appropriate action to take.

Where applicable you will be linked through to helpful video guides or advised if a call to our contact centre would be appropriate.

The information on the site is general guidance and trouble-shooting only and not intended to replace professional advice from an approved installer or repairer.

For more detailed advice consult a Gas Safe Registered installer for gas boiler or an OFTEC registered installer for oil-fired boilers.

As ever, if you suspect a gas leak, immediately call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111999.

Source: Worcester Bosch Group

Contact Square Services for more information on 0208 226 5678 (phone), 0752 535 5005 (mobile) or info@squareservices.co.uk

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