Plumbing FAQs and Tips

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Over the years, our customers have asked us all kinds of questions in regards to plumbing and heating issues in the home, so we have provided sections of plumbing faqs and tips for the benefit of home and business owners to help prolong the health and life of their plumbing and heating systems.

What should I know about Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colourless and odourless gas which accounts for more deaths annually in the U.S. than any other poison. CO can be produce when burning any carbon based fuel. To safeguard against the potential of CO, always have your boiler, furnace and any other heating or cooking appliance installed and periodically serviced by a qualified heating technician. It is recommended that all homes be equipped with at least one CO detector.
Should I have a CO detector in my home?
It is strongly recommended that all homes should be equipped with at least one Carbon Monoxide detector. It is as important to have your fuel burning equipment serviced annually to prevent the possibility of Carbon Monoxide.
Who should I contact to work on my boiler?
It is always recommended that the installer of the boiler be contacted first. If the installer is unable to be contacted or is unable to provide service, a qualified local heating technician should be contacted. In the hands of an inexperienced person, heating equipment can be dangerous, never attempt a repair yourself.
What size of boiler do I need in my home?
The only way to determine what your actual requirement is, is to have a heat load carried out on your home by a qualified heating technician. This calculation looks at the size of the structure, insulation, doors and windows along with your climate area for outdoor design temperature. A heat loss is then calculated to determine what is required for the boiler and the heating elements to heat the structure. It is an exercise worth the time and effort to know that you have the sufficient sized equipment and radiation to do the required job next winter without over sizing the unit and loosing efficiency.
What is a fire valve?
A fire valve is an important safety feature of an oil installation. BS 5410 Part 1 :1997 (which is the accepted industry means of compliance with the Building Regulations) requires that a remote acting fire valve should be installed so as to cut off the supply of oil before it enters the building remotely from the appliance in the event of an overheat/fire situation. A fire valve body must be located externally before the oil supply line enters the property with the sensor at the appliance. Sometimes historically, this may not always be so easy to achieve as remote sensing fire valves used to be comparatively restricted in length. However, you will be pleased to know that today remote sensing fire valves are available up to 20m in length for mechanical and 25m for electrical types.
Do I need to re-line my chimney if I am having an oil boiler replacement?
Yes, when installing a new / replacement appliance the chimney will need to be re-lined with a stainless steel flue liner. The OFTEC Registered Technician is required to ensure as far as is reasonably practicable that the liner should last the life of the appliance. If a new / replacement appliance is reconnected to existing stainless steel flue liner, the existing stainless steel flue liner may split (allowing products of combustion to escape) when it is disturbed without the technician knowing it.
My new oil boiler has just been serviced. Where can I obtain a conventional flue data plate?
You should be able to purchase a flue data plate from your OFTEC Registered Service and Commissioning Technician. If your technician has difficultly in obtaining them he can now get them from OFTEC Direct. I must add that as your original installer was not OFTEC Registered you will need to apply to your Local Authority Building Control Department for a “Regularisation Certificate” (basically a retrospective Building Notice) as soon as possible so that you are not liable for committing the offence of non-notification of the fitment of a “Controlled Service”.
Are all oil boilers safe?
If your oil boiler and the flue system is installed to comply with current regulatory and manufacturers’ requirements and the installation is regularly serviced and maintained, you can expect many years of safe operation. As an additional safeguard, a remote sensing fire valve must be fitted in the oil supply line immediately outside the property. This will automatically cut off the fuel supply into your house and to your boiler should a problem occur.
Are all oil boilers noisy?
Advances in design and appearance of oil boilers over the last twenty years have been enormous and many of the existing boilers available have been developed for installation into kitchens. There may be some minor operational noise, on start-up. Balance flue boilers tend to be quieter than conventional flue boilers. As with any boiler, audible noise levels will vary according to its location within your house and background noise.
A selection of really useful tips on how to look after your plumbing and heating in the home. Carrying these out will help reduce any future damage and potentially save you money on your bills, especially in the winter months!

  • Locate all emergency controls for both electrical and fuel supply to your heating system.
  • Have your boiler serviced annually.
  • Have your range serviced every six months.
  • Have your tank checked for water ingress on a regular basis.
  • Make sure the central heating inhibitor is topped up annually.
  • Check valves operate correctly every three months.
  • Ensure pipe work and tanks are protected from cold weather by insulating them properly.
  • A dripping hot water tap wastes energy and in one week wastes enough hot water to fill half a bath. Fix leaking taps and make sure they’re fully turned off to save energy and money.
  • Invest in Thermostatic Radiator Valves to control the amount of energy each uses. TRV’s sense the temperature in a room and can switch on or off depending on how warm the room is.
  • Turning your thermostat down by 1 degree centigrade could save you around £60 a year. Avoid overheating space or water – check thermostats and controls regularly.
  • Check time switches so heating times match building occupancy.
  • Check radiators and heat emitters are free from obstructions.
  • Check insulation on pipes, and lagging on hot water storage tank.
If your appliance fails to start, please check the following first:
  • Is the burner lockout light illuminated? If so…
  • …Depress the lockout button and wait.
  • Only carry out this action a maximum of two times.
If the problem persists, please carry out the following checks:
  • There is fuel in the tank.
  • Tank valve is on.
  • Remote fire valve button is depressed.
  • Local isolation valve is on.
  • Power to the boiler not interrupted.
  • Boiler stat is up to required temperature.
  • Room stat is up to required temperature.
  • Cylinder stat is at required temperature.
Still not working? Then give us a call on 023 8036 7757