Friday, 8 January 2016

Your plumbing and heating New Year's Resolutions

What are your New Year's Resolutions for 2016? Finally running that marathon? Cutting out sugar? Reading the newspaper everyday? When it comes to defining goals for the year ahead, we often end up choosing unrealistic targets that leave us feeling disappointed when we inevitably fail to meet them. Not so with our 2016 Plumbing and Heating Resolutions - which simply encourage you to make gradual changes around the home which could allow you to make significant savings on your heating bills, prevent costly plumbing breakdowns and also help to protect the environment!

1. Save money on your heating bills

January is a great time to think about making a few home improvements that could help you to make significant savings on your heating bills over the course of the year. Start by ensuring your property is well insulated, with loft insulation of 270mm deep and lagging around pipes and your water tank. You should also consider upgrading your heating and hot water system; a high efficiency condensing boiler with heating controls could save you up to £200 a year! Smart heating controls can also help by adapting to your routine so that the heating comes on when you want it.

2. Insulate pipework from winter weather

When pipes freeze and burst, they can undergo considerable damage. Wherever possible, avoid pipes freezing by ensuring that they don't run through an unheated area. If you're going to be away for a short period, consider leaving your heating on a timed function and set to the lowest temperature on the thermostat and for longer periods, be sure to drain down the system. Frost thermostats can help by measuring and sending the temperature of air around your boiler back to the boiler to turn it on at low temperatures.

3. Check your oil tank

Defend the environment against the damaging effects of oil leaks on local ecosystems in 2016 and guard against large financial losses by checking your oil tank regularly. When oil enters the watercourse it quickly poisons fish and other creatures and smothers plants. Remember to inspect both your tank and pipework once a week and try to locate tanks as far from streams and ponds as possible. Monitoring how much oil your tank uses is one way to identify when leaks occur. Consider using a second container such as a bund to prevent oil from entering the environment in the event of a leak.

4. Bin it, don't block it!

Avoid blockages and costly pipe repairs by carefully monitoring what goes down your drains. Always scrape your plate thoroughly before doing the washing up or loading the dishwasher and never pour fat or cooking oil down the sink. Instead, collect fat in a jar and allow it to solidify before throwing the whole lot in the bin. A drain guard is a handy tool that can be placed directly into the plughole to catch scraps of food before they can become blockages. It also pays to clean your drain regularly using an ingredient such as baking soda, vinegar or lye.  

5. Get your chimney swept

We all love a real log fire, but take care never to light it without checking your chimney first. Getting your chimney swept at least once a year will ensure that it isn't clogged up by debris such as soot and birds' nests which stop soot, ashes and other harmful substances from exiting the building. Using a NACS (National Association of Chimney Sweeps) registered sweep will give you peace of mind in the knowledge that the work is undertaken safely and to a high standard. For an additional cost, a smoke integrity test can also be performed, which reveals whether your flue is likely to leak smoke and carbon monoxide into rooms or other parts of the building. If this test is failed, find a Solid Fuel specialist to install a new flue lining at

6. Call a Quality Plumber!

Finally, don't risk a DIY job when it comes to plumbing problems in 2016, which can often do more harm than good. With minimum levels of work experience and qualifications in order to join, members of the APHC (Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors) have the skills and knowledge required to sort out your issues to a high standard first time. Find a bona fide installer in your local area by visiting

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