Moffat Heating & Plumbing
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Posts tagged heating

Be Proactive, Summer heating checks You Need To Do

temp-controler

It’s that time of year again, the time to be pro-active and think about your heating system before you need it.

Before the ‘heating season’ gets into full swing and all the good engineers are fully booked, it is prudent to get your boiler serviced. If you already have servicing done at a different time of year then now is the time to carry out a few checks for yourself.

  1. The chances are that you haven’t had your heating on much these past few months, so the next day that it’s ‘nippy’ or you have washing that needs drying, turn your heating on. Check that each radiator gets hot and that the room thermostat works.
  2. Check that isolation valves turn on and off and aren’t stiff.
  3. Check oil level in your tank, oil suppliers prices are generally lower during the summer months.
  4. Make sure you can locate and turn off your mains stopcock and also your external mains isolation valve (usually with the meter).
  5. Check your immersion heater works (If you have one). This should only be used as a back up, but it is wise to have it working before needing it.
  6. If your boiler hasn’t been serviced this year, now is the time to get this done.
    A service and safety check will increase the efficiency of your boiler and could flag up any potential problems with your heating system, meaning you spend less time without heating and hot water when you need it the most.

When Should You Invest In A New Oil Tank?

british-oil-heating-storage-tank

Your oil engineer should inform you as to your tanks condition during his annual service visit, it’s an important part of his inspection. Though the cost of replacing an oil tank can cost over £1,000, this is a small amount when compared to the cost of an oil spillage or you and your families safety.

Costs associated with an oil spillage include:

  • Emergency call-out
  • New tank installation
  • Clear up of oil spillage
  • Damage to neighbourly relations
  • Time spent without heating/hot water (upset family members)
  • Damage to garden

 

A few signs to look out for are:

  • Rusting (on metal tanks)
  • Overhanging of plastic tank
  • Tank located near flammable materials/road/heating flues

 

In short, if your tank needs replacing, look to do it sooner rather than later.

The Importance of oil filters

typical-fuel-oil-filterThe oil filter, regularly overlooked by oil service engineers or those posing as service engineers. This small but important part of your oil line needs to be inspected and replaced at regular intervals (usually your annual service if using kerosene).

Failure to do so can result in fuel starvation at the boiler and ultimately a breakdown and call-out cost. Regular inspection is doubly important if you have an ageing steel tank as these tend to accumulate more ‘crud’ than the newer plastic tanks. For the cost of between £5.00 and £7.50 a year this represents a good investment when compared against the reduced efficiency of the boiler and a potential call out fee.

The Dangers Of Running Out Of Heating Oil

Running out of oil for your heating system can prove costly for several reasons

  • The inconvenience of no heating or hot water.
  • The cost of calling out your heating engineer.
  • Potential remedial work to your oil boiler and oil-line.

 

When you get low on oil in your tank, you start to draw through the ‘muckier’ oil at the bottom. This can block the oil filters on your oil-line, your pump and your nozzle.

  • This will mean either the replacement of filter elements and/or the cleaning of the elements.
  • The oil pump may require dismantling which can then lead to trouble re-assembling necessitate new ‘O’ rings or even a new pump.
  • The oil pump, if run dry by, for example pressing the reset button too many times (manufacturers recommend no more than twice.) then a new pump may be required.

 

What to do if you are running low on heating oil

If you think you are running low on heating oil check your tank, my preference is to use a clean dipstick. Once you have determined a low level of oil in your tank you need to order some more.  If your oil delivery can’t be made for a few days there are several ways you can ration your oil usage.

  • Use your immersion heater for Domestic Hot Water (D.H.W.).
  • Turn your room thermostat down.
  • Turn off the Thermostatic Radiator valves (T.R.V.) in the rooms where you don’t need them.
  • If you have an open fire (and it’s safe to do so) light a fire. Sometimes it’s cosy snuggling up under a blanket in front of an open fire.
  • Have a shower instead of a bath.
  • Put another layer of clothing on.

 

All of the above points, barring perhaps the immersion heater usage are ways not only to ration your oil usage but also to save money and help save the environment (which will give you a warm feeling inside!)

What is a condensing boiler?

condensing-boilerAs of the 1st of April 2005 building regulations state that any new or replacement Oil boiler needs to be a condensing boiler. Only in exceptional circumstances does this not apply.

A condensing oil boiler is a boiler that re-uses previously wasted heat from flue exhaust gases. They will have a bigger heat exchanger or an additional heat exchanger, which allows the water in the water jacket to extract more heat from the exhaust gases than non-condensing boilers.

As the water vapour cools it turns into water (condenses) and leaves the boiler via a condense pipe (and trap) to a suitable termination point.

Condense water is slightly acidic, between 3-5 PH and thus would ‘rot’ ‘old fashioned’ boilers heat exchangers. Condensing boilers are generally made of stainless steel to prevent this. Whilst not great, the slightly acidic nature of the water is no worse than a lot of fizzy drinks.

Know your Oil Boilers!

There are 3 types of Oil Boilers that can be installed and used as a source of hot water

  1. Combi Boiler (or combination boiler).
  2. Regular Boiler (or traditional/conventional boiler).
  3. System Boiler.

 

Combi boilers provide heating and hot water directly from your boiler whilst regular and system boilers heat your central directly and produce hot water for your domestic hot water cylinder.

Situations where an oil fired combi boiler are best suited include:

  • You live in a flat/bungalow with little or no roof space.
  • You want to convert your loft into an habitable room, requiring the removal of loft tanks.
  • You require hot water ‘on tap’.
  • You have a seperate annex for a family member.

 

Note: The siting of the combi boiler is very important as it loses efficiency when there are long draw offs (pipe runs to taps, showers e.t.c.).

Situations where an oil fired system/traditional boiler are best suited include:

  • You require a system that allows the use of several draw offs (taps, baths, showers e.t.c.) at once.
  • You have low cold mains pressure coming into the property.
  • Your property has bathrooms, kitchens e.t.c. a long distance from each other and/or boiler siting.

 

Before selecting a boiler for installation, it is important to discuss your needs with your OFTEC registered oil engineer. Contact us now and let us help you get the right boiler.

Save money with oil clubs

save-money-heating-oilBuying heating oil in bulk from an oil supply company can be expensive. What oil clubs provide is a means of pooling together a group of people who can negotiate a better price for their oil.

Check if your village has an oil club, you may find this information in the local newsletter/magazine or at your local post office.
Agricole oil can also direct you to their oil buying club if they have one in your area.