A boiler is one of the most important appliances in your home; responsible for your heating and hot water in most cases. It is difficult to imagine life without a boiler if you’ve become accustomed to having one. Because of the intense pressure boilers are under, they are – sadly – often given to failure when you need them most.
However, by being a little cautious when choosing and caring for your boiler, you could not only increase its’ life and efficiency, but you could also significantly reduce the number of emergency boiler repairs you have to have.
Choosing a Boiler
Choosing a boiler might sound simple on paper, but thanks to the very many varieties of boiler and property, there is such a thing as a perfect match, assuming you make all the necessary considerations.
There are 2 main types of boiler; a combi and a heat. As you might imagine, a combi-boiler provides water for the combination of your radiators or heating system whilst a heat only boiler provides the hot water for a tank only. Within these categories, there are also several types of fuel which a boiler can run on so when choosing, you’ll need to be careful about the fuel you have and that it is compatible with the boiler you’re considering. Although the majority of UK homes run on mains gas, there are a staggering 4.3 million which use oil, LPG or liquid petroleum.
Another major consideration with any boiler is its’ efficiency. As well as ensuring that your home is environmentally sound, having an energy efficient boiler could ensure that your own heating costs are minimised and the difference between boilers could be quite staggering.
A further consideration is the way you use the boiler. It used to be the case that you flicked a switch on the wall to get your boiler on and off, but now you can programme them for certain times of the day, access them by remote control and even have apps for mobile devices to control the timing and temperatures.
Installing a Boiler
As you’re probably aware, boiler installation isn’t easy or fast. There are many household jobs that you’ll be able to do yourself: boiler installation is not one of them.
You’ll need someone who is fully trained and is CORGI registered. This means that they’re able to safely connect, disconnect and work with gas appliances and unless they have such a registration, they shouldn’t be touching your boiler.
However, as well as ensuring their credentials and their training, you may also wish to get a feel for them personally. As the saying goes, people buy from people, and this person will be spending a lot of time in your home or premises as they install the boiler. Therefore, using the reviews of friends, family, online forums and expert guides such as Which? may help you as you make your decision.
Care of your boiler
By treating your boiler correctly, you can greatly increase its’ lifespan and minimise the chance of something going wrong. Although without professional qualifications, you can’t actually maintain the boiler itself, there are many things you can do. Regular servicing, running the boiler even in the summer (for short periods of time), regular radiator bleeding, checking the pressure on a regular basis and ensuring that you call in a professional engineer should you come across any problems.
These problems, which are unfortunately common with boilers might include lack of heat or hot water, leaking and dripping, odd noises such as banging, whistling or gurgling, a loss of pressure and a loss of pilot light.
Benefits of regular boiler care
As has already been mentioned, you should always seek professional help if your boiler isn’t acting as it should. However, in many cases, it’s far better to have regular servicing than it is to wait for boiler problems.
Having regular maintenance gives you (and the professionals) the opportunity to troubleshoot and find problems before they develop, it means that your boiler retains its’ efficiency and that any safety issues can be properly highlighted before they become dangerous.
If you are considering installer a new boiler this winter, then Bluewater Plumbers Ltd located in Manchester, are the plumbers to contact. They provide a 24 hour emergency plumbing service to meet all your heating needs. Approved installer of Vaillant boilers, and can offer up to 7 years warranty on both Vaillant and Ideal boiler range.
Are the UK Governments Plans for the Energy Sector Smart?
The revolution in the energy sector marches on, wind turbines and solar panels are harnessing more renewable energy than ever before – so where is it all leading?
The UK government have recently announced plans to modernise the way we produce, store and use electricity. And, if realised, the plans could be just the thing to bring the energy sector in line with 21st century technology and ideologies.
Central to the plans is an initiative that will see smart meters installed in homes and businesses the length and breadth of the country – and their aim? To create an environment where electricity can be managed more efficiently.
The news has prompted some speculation about how energy suppliers will react and many are predicting a price war. This could benefit consumers of electricity and investors, many of whom may be looking to make a profit by trading energy company shares online using platforms such as Oanda – but the potential for good news doesn’t end there.
Introducing New Technology
The plan, titled Smart Systems and Flexibility is being rolled out in the hope that it will have a positive impact in three core areas.
- To offer consumers greater control by making smart meters available for all homes and businesses by 2020. Energy users will be able to monitor, control and record the amount of energy they use.
- Incentivise energy suppliers to change the manner in which they buy electricity, to offer more smart tariffs and more off-peak periods for energy consumption.
- Introduce new standards for electrical appliances – it is hoped that the new wave of appliances will recognise when electricity is at its cheapest and at its most expensive and respond accordingly.
How the Plans Will Affect Solar Energy
Around 7 million houses in the UK have solar panels and the government say that their plan will benefit them as they will be able to store electricity on batteries. The stored energy can then be used by the household and excess energy can be exported to the national grid – in this instance lower tariffs or even payment for the excess energy will bring down annual costs significantly.
The rate of return on energy exported to the national grid is currently between 6% and 10%, but there are many variables to take into account, such as, the cost of battery storage and light levels. Still, those with state-of-the-art solar electricity systems could end up with an annual profit after selling their excess energy.
The Internet of Things
Much of what the plans set out to achieve are linked to the now ubiquitous “internet of things” – where, for example, appliances and heating systems are connected to the internet in order to make them function more smartly.
Companies like Hive have already made great inroads into this type of technology, but the road that the government plans are heading down, will, potentially, go much further -blockchain technology looms and has already proved to be a game changer in the world of currency.
It has already been suggested that the peer to peer selling of energy and exporting it to the national grid may eventually be done using blockchain technology.
“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”
Don and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution (2016)
The upshot of the government’s plans for the revolution of the energy sector, is that technology will play an indelible role in making it more efficient, more flexible and ultimately more sustainable.
4 Case Studies on the Benefits of Solar Energy
Demand for solar energy is growing at a surprising rate. New figures from SolarPower Europe show that solar energy production has risen 50% since the summer of 2016.
However, many people are still skeptical of the benefits of solar energy.Does it actually make a significant reduction in our carbon footprint? Is it actually cost-effective for the company over the long-run?
A number of case studies have been conducted, which indicate solar energy can be enormously beneficial. Here are some of the most compelling studies on the subject.
1. Boulder Nissan
When you think of companies that leverage solar power, car dealerships probably aren’t the first ones that come to mind. However, Boulder Nissan is highly committed to promoting green energy. They worked with Independent Power Systems to setup a number of solar cells. Here were the results:
- Boulder Nissan has reduced coal generated electricity by 65%.
- They are on track to run on 100% renewable energy within the next 13 years.
- Boulder Nissan reduced CO2 emissions by 416,000 lbs. within the first year after installing their solar panels.
This is one of the most impressive solar energy case studies a small business has published in recent years. It shows that even small companies in rural communities can make a major difference by adapting solar energy.
2. Valley Electric Association
In 2015, the Valley Electric Association (VEA) created an 80-acre solar garden. Before retiring from the legislature, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid praised the new project as a way to make the state more energy dependent and reduce our carbon footprint.
“This facility will provide its customers with the opportunity to purchase 100 percent of their electricity from clean energy produced in Nevada,” Reid told reporters with the Pahrump Valley Times. “That’s a step forward for the Silver State, but it also proves that utilities can work with customers to provide clean renewable energy that they demand.”
The solar energy that VEA produced was drastically higher than anyone would have predicted. SolarWorld estimates that the solar garden created 32,680,000 kwh every year, which was enough to power nearly 4,000 homes.
This was a major undertaking for a purple state, which may inspire their peers throughout the Midwest to develop solar gardens of their own. It will reduce dependency on the electric grid, which is a problem for many remote states in the central part of the country.
3. Las Vegas Casinos
A number of Las Vegas casinos have started investing in solar panels over the last couple of years. The Guardian reports that many of these casinos have cut costs considerably. Some of them are even selling the energy back to the grid.
“It’s no accident that we put the array on top of a conference center. This is good business for us,” Cindy Ortega, chief sustainability officer at MGM Resorts told Guardian reporters. “We are looking at leaving the power system, and one of the reasons for that is we can procure more renewable energy on the open market.”
There have been many benefits for casinos using solar energy. They are some of the most energy-intensive institutions in the world, so this has helped them become much more cost-effective. It also helps minimize disruptions to their customers learning online keno strategies in the event of any problems with the electric grid.
4. Boston College
Boston College has been committed to many green initiatives over the years. A group of researchers experimented with solar cells on different parts of the campus to see where they could produce the most electricity. They discovered that the best locationwas at St. Clement’sHall. The solar cells there dramatically. It would also reduce CO2 emissions by 521,702 lbs. a year and be enough to save 10,869 trees.
Boston College is exploring new ways to expand their usage of solar cells. They may be able to invest in more effective solar panels that can generate far more solar energy.
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