My Trusty Van Is Going and I feel Gereft

I have a companion and tomorrow shes leaving. Weve been together for 3 and half years. That’s 1277.5 days which is numerous hours minutes and uncountable hours. Three and a half years is enough time to get to know anyone especially when its every work day. All their secrets foibles. What makes them tick and what makes them go nuts.
I don’t think shes to happy that shes being replaced by a younger model either. But honestly this new one. Wow shes a looker! Shes got an amazing voice and im really excited to get to know her.
But there you go. If you buy a van when its 4 years old and then use it for another 3 and a half the new van will always be better. But im still mourning this loss.
So heres my goobye for the 1st van that BeeXpress ever owned. The 1st of many I hope.
Here is the last time my Transit will ever be posted online . Don’t worry though the new van will up soon in just a couple of days.

3.5 Common Heating Problems

Well winter has finally hit us. It really looked touch ago at the beginning of December but now we’re in the 1st few days of the new 2012 we’re finally feeling the cold bite and can hear the rain falling outside. Its lucky that our heating and hot water systems are working… Isn’t it?

If you are even slightly worried here’s a small list of things you can check yourself to make sure the rest of the winter goes without any hitches.

1. The Pump

No not the shower pump although that is important. Im talking about the heating pump.

Grundfos pump

In most residential houses you’ll have a Grundfos 15-50 or 15-60 pump. They will be red and have a slot in the centre where a large flat head screwdriver can fit. Just like the picture. They’re normally in the hot water cylinder/ airing cupboard and they are meant to pump the heated water in the pipes around towards the radiators/cylinder.

If this fails the boiler will overheat and shut down. If you listen to the pump for just 1 minute you’ll be able to tell if it’s working correctly or not. If there’s a low whooshing sound then water is flowing nicely along and there are no problems. If you can hear aloud whooshing noise then there’s probably some air in the pipes. You’ll need to vent the radiators. If you need tips on that just have a look at the video below where I show you how to vent a radiator…

Most pumps are C Rated pumps and are therefore costing you more than they should. With a small investment you can upgrade to an A Rated pump that will save you money in the medium term (3 years or so). Just call us and we’ll come over and quote.

2. The Tank (AKA The Cold Water Storage Cistern)

Upstairs in your loft you’ll have a black plastic or silver metal tank. This holds the cold water going to the cold taps everywhere in the house (apart from the kitchen tap traditionally) and the Hot Water Cylinder and from there to your hot water taps. Inside there’s a ball valve similar to the one on your toilet. It works on washers and if the washer fails it’ll drip or flow until the tank is nearly full. The vast majority of houses has an overflow pipe to drain the water away but you might not know about it until you have a look. If you find there is a leak then call us and we’ll see if there’s a quick fix we can do.Ball valve with float

3. The Radiators

These are fun. We often get customers calling because a radiator wont heat up. This is sometime because the valves on the side of the radiators have been turned off at the end of the winter 6 months before and not been touched. Now 6 months later they turn them on nothing happens! Normally the fault is a TRV or Thermostatic Radiator Valve. These have a small wax capsule that melts when it’s heated releasing a pin to go up and the water to flow through. This can sometimes be repaired by knocking the pipe VERY GENTLY until the pin pops up by itself. The radiator should start to heat up within a few minutes.

3.5. The Radiators part 2

You’ll also find that sometimes a radiator is cold on the top but hot at the bottom. This is caused by air and you can see how we vent radiators HERE.Venting a Radiator

Lastly you may sometimes find that the radiators are cold at the BOTTOM but hot at the TOP. This will be caused by sludge and you’ll need a powerflush to remove that. Give us a call and we’ll happily come over top help you out.

Unvented Systems 101:

Want a brand new and shiny system in your house?
Well this is the one to go for. It’s very similar to a traditional vented system (please see my other blogs for more info) but there are no tanks in the loft thus saving space and runs off mains pressure therefore in theory giving you a better shower experience and toilets that fill up quickly.
An unvented system is basically made up of 2 parts. The Boiler and The Cylinder.
1. The Boiler.
Because high water pressure and high temperatures don’t mix very well there is a safety feature that if the pressure gets too high a valve opens and all the water will gush out to safe place. This is called the PRV or the Pressure Relief Valve. This is connected to the Pressure Relief Pipe which you’ll normally see clipped to an outside wall. If this goes off and you see water dripping from the pipework then call us a there’s a problem with your heating system.

A system boiler will have a Pressure Vessel inside the casing and a converted regular boiler will have the pressure vessel somewhere outside normally close to the boiler. It’ll look like a large red balloon… made out of metal.
Its controlled like every other heating system with a programmer, room thermostat, cylinder thermostat, zone valves etc etc.
The boiler directly provides heating for the radiators and indirectly provides hot water from…

2. The Cylinder.
An unvented hot water cylinder has to be made for purpose. You can’t use a normal cylinder as it hasn’t been pressure tested or have the correct safety controls on.
At 100 degrees C water will expand by 5 times its volume. Just boil a kettle and see what happens. Check out this video from some nutcase Americans to see what happens when you play with the safety devices or use an installer who is not properly trained or qualified.
Whilst we’re discussing heating engineers make sure that they’ve got a G3 Certificate. This means they know what they’re doing, can self-certificate the installation and you’ll have a great system that will last a long time.
There are 2 types of unvented cylinders. Both work on the principal that when water is heated it expands. They both need some sort of vessel to hold the expansion of the water.
1. Megaflo.
These are quite clever. They have an internal air baffle that acts as a pressure vessel. The vessel may need to be ‘topped up’ every few years. Because the baffle is inside it saves space so you can situate it in more places. These cylinders currently have a Lifetime Cylinder Warranty.
2. Gledhill or others.
These have an external pressure vessel. Gledhill in particular has a 25 year warranty and works out relatively cheap as any extras like the pressure vessel itself and the immersion heaters are all included in the pack.

Something important to consider.

If you are seriously thinking of having a pressurised system installed mae sure that your cold water mains pipe is up to the task. You may need to have the pipe from the street to the house sized up to be able to give you the pressure you want. And this will involve some digging and at least £1000 on top of your original budget.
To get the best possible performance you will also want to change the hot and cold pipes inside the house to a larger size to get the best possible flow rate and have a true Power Shower.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us.

So what is a condensing boiler anyway?

A condensing boiler means paying less money monthly for the same heating and hot water comfort. Read on to find out more.
By law in the UK any new boiler installed needs to be a condensing boiler.
Condensing boilers might look similar on the outside to the old boilers but they are very different. 1st and foremost there’s a new white pipe under the boiler which carries away the condense fluids. This will normally go to drain via the large 4 inch waste pipe that will run up the side of your property or terminate on a waste pipe inside the house. Say under the kitchen sink.
If you were to take off the front cover of your boiler (not advisable if you don’t have a Gas Safe Registered engineer close by) you would also notice vastly different innards to your old boiler. The old boiler when running will normally reach temperatures of 160 degrees Centigrade. A new condensing one will heat up between 60 –80 degrees. These lower temperatures mean that instead of the flue gases escaping pretty much unnoticed as in an old boiler you’ll see a thick white steam coming out instead. It might remind you of the old tank engines… or not. It also means that the heating may take a further 10 minutes or so to heat up your property but most people don’t notice this time lag at all.

A condensing boiler will use less gas to heat the same house to the same temperature. And that saves you money.