Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Quality Plumber Week acts as a reminder to check credentials

As we enter autumn and start to switch on our central heating systems, we at the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC) are calling for everyone to celebrate the important role that plumbing and heating engineers play in keeping people healthy and safe.


Quality Plumber Week 2017, which runs between 2-8 October, aims to stress the importance of using properly qualified, trained and accredited plumbers in a bid to reduce the numbers of rogue traders operating in the industry.

We're encouraging homeowners to always check that their plumber or heating engineer has the relevant professional qualifications and accreditations for the work being carried out.  

To help avoid being a victim of sub-standard work, we advise any person planning on having any form of plumbing and heating work done, whether a boiler service, bathroom installation or smaller plumbing and heating work, to following some simple steps.  1. Seek advice from a member of a professional membership organisation; 2. To obtain at least three written quotes for the work; 3. Speak to previous customers about their experience; 4. Agree all costs before starting, preferably with a works contract in place; and 4.  Never pay for the entire job upfront.

John Thompson, our CEO has gone on record saying: "Quality Plumber Week aims to unite the plumbing and heating industry in order to showcase the important work that we do in keeping society healthy, warm and safe. The week also aims to raise awareness to homeowners that there are many highly qualified professionals out there who are proud of their trade and the work they do each day. A welcome change from the negative press that the industry quite often receives when we hear about another plumbing horror story.

"I hope that everyone will come together to celebrate our industry and help raise the awareness amongst consumers of the many highly qualified and proficient professionals that we have in our industry."

For more information on Quality Plumber Week and to learn how you can get involved visit www.aphc.co.uk/quality-plumber-week. You can also join the conversation and thank your plumber on social media at #QPW17.

To find a local quality plumber visit www.findaqualityplumber.co.uk.

More advice and free consumer focused plumbing and heating guides can be sourced at www.aphc.co.uk/home_owner_advice_guides.asp

Friday, 15 September 2017

Are you aware of the dangers of Carbon Monoxide?

Our own commissioned research into the levels of awareness in the dangers of Carbon Monoxide has revealed what could be described as alarming.  This is why each year we pledge our support to Gas Safety Week.



Gas safety is important all year round, but it is not always a household’s top priority. Gas Safety Week, which is coordinated by Gas Safe Register, provides a platform for the gas industry, consumer organisations and individuals to focus on gas safety over a one week period in order to raise awareness with the public.

The seventh annual Gas Safety Week is taking place between 18th and 24th September and aims to raise awareness of the dangers of poorly maintained gas appliances, which can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning.

As the plumbing and heating industry’s largest employer’s trade association we actively promote gas safety and we believe it is important that we support Gas Safety Week. When I last checked, APHC is just one of around 7,000 companies and organisations who have pledged their support.  Whilst it is great to see this level of support and we hope this year’s campaign makes a positive contribution in protecting the safety of the public, I know from our own research there is still more work to do. 

Our research found that 39 per cent of households don’t have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted in their homes with another 34 per cent having rooms that contain either a gas, oil or solid fuel burning appliance that doesn’t also have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted.

Our research also found that 37 per cent of householders didn't know that it is advisable, and in some cases that it is a legal requirement, for a carbon monoxide alarm to be fitted in each room where there is a gas, oil or solid fuel burning appliance.

We have been vocal in wanting to improve gas safety and just recently APHC’s president called for greater enforcement action in penalising those responsible for dangerous gas work and further legislation banning these individuals from re-registering on the Gas Safe Register.

You can find out more about Gas Safety Week 2017 at www.gassaferegister.co.uk/gassafetyweek.

You can source a qualified plumbing and heating engineer at www.FindAQualityPlumber.co.uk

Friday, 4 August 2017

Stay safe and only instruct a Quality Plumber or Heating Engineer

Quality Plumber Week is organised by the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors and aims to promote the industry's very best plumbing and heating contractors and warn against rogue traders.
This year, QPW17 also aims to promote the importance of continuous skills development to the industry and remind the public about the importance of choosing an appropriately qualified plumbing and heating engineer. Additionally, it aims to provide consumers with advice for sourcing a quality plumber whilst reminding to always check credentials.
 
 
 
This is an important message because research by the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors has found that 79% of people choose a plumber based on their accreditations. Yet 43% do not check that their plumber or heating engineer is qualified and 29% do not verify their membership with the relevant organisation.
  • Don’t risk your personal safety and security, always check the credentials of the plumber you instruct.
  • Remember, membership of a trade association ensures qualifications and standards are verified but always check membership is current.
  • If you need a plumber, we vet our members’ accreditations so you can be confident of appointing a qualified and proficient plumber.
APHC is currently looking for support from consumers, plumbers and industry manufacturers and suppliers. 
For more information about how to get involved visit www.aphc.co.uk/quality-plumber-week.asp where there is also a range of promotional resources available to use.
More information about Quality Plumber Week will follow later in the year.
Did you know that 87% of consumers would instruct an APHC member over a plumbing and heating contractor who wasn’t a member?
You can find a local qualified plumbing and heating company who are members of the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors at www.FindAQualityPlumber.co.uk

Friday, 14 July 2017

A timely reminder about the importance of properly maintaining a hot tub

According to BISHTA, the trade association that represents the British and Irish Hot Tub and Swim Spa Industry, the estimated number of hot tubs in the UK is around 100,000 with 6,000 being sold annually.

Given the sales of hot tubs and the recent news of a hot tub warehouse being fined £1 million after it was found to be responsible for a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak which killed two men; we thought it would be timely to blog about the importance of correctly maintaining a hot tub.
 
 
Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia caused by the legionella bacterium. This disease can be serious if not treated immediately, but you can easily guard against the disease by monitoring the water in your hot tub and by making sure that your hot tub is kept clean.

Hot tubs pose a ‘reasonably foreseeable’ risk of Legionnaires’ disease because the water is kept at a temperature of between 30 and 35 degrees, close to body temperature, which is the ideal environment for legionella bacteria to grow.

The bubbling and frothing of the aerosols in a hot tub can then throw the bacteria into the air for several metres around the tub, which if inhaled can make their way into the lungs potentially infecting them with Legionnaires’ disease.

Although Legionnaires’ disease can be fatal it is also treatable. However, Legionnaires’ disease is preventable with appropriate maintenance of your hot tub.

Firstly and most importantly, always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for appropriate management and maintenance of a hot tub, because cleaning and maintaining the hot tub regularly is the only way to ensure that bacteria do not concentrate in the water and the spray.

In terms of what maintenance is required, BISHTA recommends the following steps.
  • Purchase a spa test kit capable of checking chlorine levels
  • Use the kit to check the disinfectant and pH levels before each use
  • Maintain disinfectant levels: chlorine at 3 ppm and bromine at 3 ppm.  Maintain the pH of water between 7.0 and 7.6
  • Maintain total alkalinity at: 80 to 160 ppm
  • Superchlorinate (shock) the hot tub regularly using chlorine. Become familiar with the hot tub shock process by consulting your manual or spa/pool supply store
  • Drain and clean the hot tub after shocking
  • Clean the hot tub by vigorously scrubbing all surfaces with a chlorine solution such as household bleach, to remove any biofilm or slime. Biofilm protects bacteria from disinfectants. Rinse the tub after cleaning
  • Clean or replace filters according to your hot tub instruction manual
  • Refill hot tub and do not use until all chemical levels have returned to normal
  • Ensure your hot tub circulates the water periodically when it is not in use. This is vital to help prevent contamination of hot tub pipes with disease causing organisms

More detailed information on maintenance can read at http://www.bishta.co.uk/regular-maintenance-saves-money/

APHC administers a Legionella Risk Assessment and Disinfection Scheme where members are qualified to undertake legionella risk assessment and remedial work. You can source an APHC member at www.FindAQualityPlumber.co.uk.

Happy soaking!

Friday, 23 June 2017

Planning a BBQ this weekend? Most of us are savvy enough to avoid food poisoning, but are we aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning?

Barbecue season is upon us, but did you realise that you could be at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning?

Research by the Gas Safe Register has found that 80 per cent of people are unaware they are at danger of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning while having a barbecue.

This is something that needs highlighting as about half of the country will have five barbecues this summer. 



CO gas is released during a barbecue when a carbon-based fuel, such as gas or charcoal, isn’t given enough ventilation to burn adequately.

CO poisoning is known as the silent killer because it is a colourless, odourless and tasteless poisonous gas - so you can’t see it, taste it or smell it!

When CO enters the body, it prevents the blood from bringing oxygen to cells, tissues, and organs. CO can kill quickly without warning or cause serious harm to health if breathed in over a long period of time. In extreme cases paralysis and brain damage can be caused as a result of prolonged exposure to CO.

Symptoms of CO poisoning to be aware of include breathlessness, headaches, nausea, dizziness, collapse and the loss of consciousness. 

The side-effects of exposure to low levels of carbon monoxide are not always obvious and can be similar to those of food poisoning and flu. 

General published advice to reduce the dangers of CO poisoning whilst barbecuing includes never using a barbecue indoors or inside a tent or other structures and areas where there isn’t sufficient ventilation. 

Simply, never bring a barbecue inside - even when the barbecue appears to have burnt out! 
More than 200 people go to hospital in the UK each year with suspected CO poisoning, which leads to around 50 deaths.

Gas, oil and solid fuel burning boilers and appliances also produce carbon monoxide. Therefore you should safeguard against CO poisoning with regular servicing and maintenance checks.  It is also recommended to have a CO detector in every room where a gas, oil or solid wood burning boiler, fire or stove is situated.

If you are concerned over CO fumes, you can source a qualified plumbing and heating engineer at www.FindAQualityPlumber.co.uk who can investigate the presence of fumes and inspect your appliances.

The Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors have published a guide to ‘Understanding the dangers of Carbon Monoxide’. 

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

16.5% of people are unhappy at work due to the condition of their employer’s toilets

We have recently conducted a research project which found that 16.5% of people are unhappy at work due to the condition of their employer’s toilets. Whilst on the surface this may seem like a trivial matter, employers have a legal requirement to adhere to.

The research has revealed alarming insights into the negative impact that the state of workplace toilets are having on workers.

We distributed a press release to the national media detailing our findings and recommending for employers to use an APHC member via www.FindAQualityPlumber.co.uk to source a qualified plumber.

We surveyed over 1,000 workers in England and Wales asking about the condition of the toilets at their place of work.  Our research found 43.8% of the people surveyed felt their workplace toilets needed to be better maintained.  And when asked if their workplace toilets require updating or refurbishing, 44.4% said they did.




London seemingly has the worst workplace toilets with 50.9% of workers surveyed believing they need to be better maintained and require refurbishing.

Most alarmingly, 16.5% of workers stated that the current condition of their workplace toilets negatively impacts their happiness at work.  This figure rises to 20% in Wales and to 20.9% in the South-East of England.

John Thompson, Chief Executive of APHC, commented: “There are too many employers who are seemingly neglecting the up-keep and maintenance of their toilet facilities.  Employers have a legal requirement to adhere to. The Health & Safety Executive state that where it is reasonably practicable, employers have to provide adequate toilet and washing facilities for employees.  In 2010, a businessman was fined £30,000 because he failed to ensure that his premises were equipped with clean and functioning toilet and welfare facilities.

“However, over and above all legal requirements, employers have a moral duty to provide clean, safe and well maintained toilet facilities. 

“From a commercial point of view, investment in employee well-being is crucial for a business in order to be successful, as an unhappy workforce can cost employers dearly in reduced productivity, low quality levels, increased sick-leave and in staff turnover with the recruitment and training of new members of staff.”


Specific responses from the survey about the poor state of workplace toilets included there being bad smells, cracked tiles, broken toilet seats, toilet bowls, sinks and taps, poorly flushing toilets and tired and dirty decor.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Don’t let a DIY plumbing project washout your bank holiday

Given the current weather, it might be safe to assume that the majority of the country is in for a warm and sunny Bank Holiday.   However, with insurance companies claiming that water damage claims almost double over a Bank Holiday, don’t let a plumbing DIY project turn your Bank Holiday into a washout.




As this blog has touched on previously, before attempting a plumbing project, stop, think and ask yourself whether you might be best calling in a professional as it’s all too easy to drill into a hidden pipe or flood your bathroom whilst fitting a new tap. 

Accidental water leakage tops the list of home insurance claims, with a 42 per cent increase over the Bank Holiday, according to home insurer Zurich.  With average repairs nearly hitting the £3,000 mark, a DIY project just may end up costing you much more than you had bargained for.

If you’re tackling a DIY job this Bank Holiday, it might be pertinent to get professional advice first.  This can save damage, disruption or even a potential injury.

In reality, doing a plumbing job yourself will be cheaper than calling in a professional, but it is important to know where to draw the line. 

You can find a local qualified plumbing and heating company who are members of the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC) at www.FindAQualityPlumber.co.uk

Being a member of APHC distinguishes professional businesses from the rogue traders.  As a consumer, using an APHC member gives you reassurance as their work is guaranteed by APHC - the leading trade body for plumbing and heating contractors in England and Wales.  

Did you know that 87% of consumers would instruct an APHC member over a plumbing and heating contractor who wasn’t a member?