Not all heating systems are made equal

With the chilly weather upon us many people are considering changing their heating systems at the moment. However not all heating system installations are the same and unfortunately it can be hard for the layperson to determine the differences at first glance.

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                       BEFORE                                                           AFTER

In the course of our work we are always coming across poor workmanship usually done by a “tradesperson” who has disappeared off the face of the earth!

Most customer know that the PRICE of a new system is not the same as the COST of a new system as short cuts to reduce the price at the installation stage can be very costly at a later date; a great example of this is omitting to fit a magnetic filter and properly flush the system. The dirt and debris that was in the system before and which probably led to the reduction in performance of the old boiler will now be running around your new boiler coating all of the new part in a thick layer of grime!

So how do you spot these differences and make an educated decision, here’s our top tips.

1. Checkatarde logoAs always, use someone who is recommended or comes highly rated by “Rated People”, “Checkatrade” or other bona fide trades people registers.


2. Do your research – good trades people have good review and share their success with others in a subtle way using many marketing channels

3. Check out your short listed trades people’s website for photos of recent work. Good workmanship is sometimes shown on these forums and you can mention these during the selection process to establish a benchmark of quality.


4. Carefully compare your quotes picking out the salient points such as “fully flush the system”, “commission and test”, “lag all pipework”, and ask why these are omitted from other’s quotes.

5. Always opt for “Supply and Fit” – you may think that you can make a saving by purchasing items yourself but please bear in mind that these have NO wrap-around guarantee. What we mean is that if a part / item you supply fails then the responsibility for replacing that part lies with you. If a plumber supplies a part and it fails the liability of the performance of the part lies with the provider, ie. the plumber.

6. Read and understand the documentation: in many cases boiler are not registered with the manufacturers because the plumber has done it, this also applies to Gas Safe register and Building Control. In many cases there are extended warranty offers which need to be applied for at the time of installation. Also many new appliances such as boiler and unvented cylinders have a “Benchmark” form which needs to be filled in correctly and signed off by the customer – make sure this is done and all the information is correct.

Hopefully with these guidelines the general public can make better decisions and receive better quality workmanship.


BAXI training refresher

2016-11-14 11.20.56It was great to catch up with Baxi Trainer, Roy Fugler and a few other heating engineers to refresh ourselves on the current state of play in the energy / heating environment. Roy introduced a BAXI incentive scheme, covered the governments ErP (Energy related Products) legislation and how the calculations would be done in practice. He also gave a short presentation about Baxi’s new products and support initiatives.

Baxi products

It seems Baxi are retaining their Platinum and Duo-Tec range of combination boilers as well as hitching a ride on the back of the very successful “Megaflow” trade name normally associated with unvented hot water cylinders by launching a “Megaflow” system boiler – i.e. one that just heats the house and a hot water cylinder. The Platinum and Duo-Tec are great boilers offering excellent service/price balance, are easy to fix (by us) and are supported by an excellent telephone technical help line as well as up to 10 year warranty if you keep to the service schedule.2016-11-14 12.46.12

They have also launched the 100, 200 and 400 boilers which are more eco –savvy with a new coms protocol called OpenTherm ( This enables the intelligent use of internet based control programmes similar and including Nest which also allows external weather compensation to be factored in to the equation; giving the boiler an additional 2% increase in ErP efficiency.

Nest Pics 2NEST Pro

The training also included a session on the Nest internet controller, (Gen 3), which has elevated our status to “Pro” installer. We have already fitted a good few of these controller and can confirm they are an excellent product. It was brought to our attention that these are especially good for the older generation as the wall mounted control interface is so user friendly and the learning function does all of the programming for you. If you require a Nest or more information on how they can save you money then please feel free to give us a call.

High power / high efficiency

We have just complete our proudest job ever! Fitting a 65KW system boiler and plate heat exchanger to a large house in Hampshire.IMG_0532

The existing boiler was past its best as it was over 15 years old and many of the parts had become discontinued. The Potterton Derwent was state of the art in its day with its high output and simple design but new condensing technology has overtaken it making it very uneconomical.

First off was to specify a replacement which was a close tie between Viessmann and Worcester both of which offer boiler with advanced controls and weather compensation. In the end Worcester was chosen for their technical help and on-site support.

WGB162 library picThe Worcester WGB 162 65KW boiler and plate heat exchanger was chosen to link into the house’s existing 240v controls via Worcester’s advanced electronic 4121 boiler control computer. A plate heat exchanger was included in the system to protect the boiler from the older existing systems (and its debris ) and also because the existing system was an unpressurised system whereas the boiler runs at 1Bar pressure.


2016-09-13 17.01.04Removing the existing boiler was not an easy task as it was so heavy (330kgs) but once drained and dismantled it could be lifted out in sections. The next part of the job was to prepare the walls for fitting the new boiler and carefully plan out the positions of the other equipment to minimise unnecessary bends so as to maximise the flow characteristics of the system.

Once the system pipework had been thoroughly planned the support system could be installed and the pipework attached to the existing system and new appliances.

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This was closely followed with the new condensate system which had to utilise a condensate pump which was required as there wasn’t an adequate waste gully on the outside of the building and we were uncomfortable about discharging up to 7 litres per hour of condensate water into a soak away.

Once the pipework and equipment has been pressure tested it was time to fit the Buderus Logamatic 4121 controller which could be located in the existing airing cupboard heiz24de_buderus_logamatic_r4121_mit_fm445and connected to the boiler via a data cable. Unfortunately Worcester Bosch has not designed a wireless system, this would have been very much easier in this case.

The controller is specifically designed to allow for system weather compensations (see – which achieves an additional 2% on to an already very efficient boiler. 4121 wiring diagram

Once the wiring diagram has been fully understood it was just a matter of attaching the necessary heat and flow sensors and commissioning the MEC2 handset.

Worcester Bosch have a very capable technical help department that allows connection through FaceTime if you get stuck on the system set up.

2016-09-17 09.53.27With the boiler commissioned and working its just a matter of setting the heating and hot water times and letting the system take over. The final element is fitting the insulation to the pipework and handing it over to the clients after talking them through the controls.

This was a great job, the customer was delighted with the work especially as we were £3,000 cheaper than the competition!

Plumber of the Year 2016

Hi All!!

Firstly, I didn’t win😂😂

Secondly, I would like to thank everyone that helped and supported me in my campaign. I received over 350 votes from all over the globe from Australia to Vietnam, Switzerland to Ireland so thank for your votes and for those who spread the word.

I’m sorry that the wonderful charity Mesothelioma UK will not be benefitting from the prizes this year but rest assured “I’ll be back”, next year. I am already forging a plan to understand where I went wrong and how I can be better next year!

Finally I would like to personally thank the judges from Plumb Centre, Just Trays and Bristan Taps and also Matt from Hatch PR who managed the whole event.

UK Plumber of the Year–Final 5


I am delighted to report that I have been selected as one of the 5 finalists in the 2016 UK Plumber of the Year competition. The selection process was down to the most number of votes cast and although I don’t know everyone else’s votes I know that I had enough votes to qualify.

So can I say a big THANK YOU to all of you who voted for me and wished me good luck in the final which takes place on 31st August in Tamworth, at Bristan’s Head Office. The final selection is based on an interview with the three main sponsors from Plumb Centre, Bristan (Taps) and “JT” (Just Trays, shower trays).

I am continuing my pledge to support Mesothelioma UK and to that end starting a Just Giving page to collect donations along with money received from selling the prizes.

Day -0 It’s zero hour

Today is the last full day to cast your vote for Plumber of the Year 2016 – you need to vote for ME for the following reasons:-

Please vote for me at

1. I’m donating the money from the prizes, £10,000, to Mesothelioma UK

2. Any shortfall will be made up by ME.

3. I will be adding Gift Aid to my donation which is an extra 25%

4. The money is desperately needed to help the many sufferers in the regions like ours which has the highest recorded occurrences of the disease

5. I will be using the publicity to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos in the workplace

Please vote for me at

Day -1: Asbestos – what is it?

Breathing in asbestos fibres is damaging to the lungs and can cause four main diseases:

1. Asbestosis – a non-malignant scarring of the lung tissue

2. Asbestos-related lung cancer

3. Mesothelioma – a form of cancer mainly affecting the lining of the lungs

4. Non-malignant pleural disease (diffuse pleural thickening and pleural plaques)

Asbestos is the term for a group of minerals that is made up of thousands of microscopic fibres. We now know the dangers of breathing in asbestos but for many years we didn’t and it was used in buildings for roofing, flooring and insulation. Thankfully its use is now banned but buildings built before the year 2000 may still contain asbestos. The HSE has more information on asbestos health and safety.

Anyone who has worked in the construction industry may be at risk in jobs such as joiners, plumbers, electricians, painters and builders. Those who worked in railway engineering, factories and shipbuilding may also be at risk. Fire and Rescue officers may also be at risk having entered burning buildings that contain asbestos.

If you think that you are suffering from an asbestos related disease such as mesothelima or asbestosis, then you should immediately seek medical attention and contact your local GP. There are also a large number of national and local asbestos and mesothelioma support groups who can advice you on your condition and provide support and guidance for both you and your family. They, as well as specialist solicitors may also be able to advise you on asbestos and mesothelioma compensation claims.

In the North East Linda Scott chairs the Mesothelioma support group, you can contact her by replying to this post with your name and number and we will pass  them on to her.

Please don’t forget to vote for me in the Plumber of the Year 2016 competition where I am donating all the £10,000 winnings to Mesothelioma UK. The link is
Many thanks, Richard Weir.

Day–2 the final countdown

We are delighted to report that our efforts to publicise our Mesothelioma campaign have received regional coverage with a short article in the Newcastle Journal yesterday –

We have also received excellent support from the British Lung Foundation and the British Lung Foundation Wales both of whom are fighting the battle against mesothelioma. 

British lung walesBrit lung Fnd

Bring it back to the North East

In the above article we call for the award to be brought home to the North East which is traditionally an industrial area – of course we all know that, the North East made over 90% of all the world’s shipping fleets back in the day. However our region is now paying the price for that era when asbestos was used in many products and processes which has resulted in the North East having the UK’s highest reported occurrence of Mesothelioma.(1)

Meso in North East

If you haven’t already votes, please cast your vote, by following the link below, for me to bring the award back to the North East to help our people who are suffering from Mesothelioma.

Many thanks, Richard.


Day–3 the final count down

Thanks to everyone who has been so kind as to vote for me, this really is for a good cause.


There is still time to cast your vote for the 2016 Plumber of the Year at, hopefully you’ll choose me!

Mesothelioma header-logo

My aim is to support Mesothelioma UK and to donate the £10,000 prize money to the charity to help them research into the cures for this terrible disease that so many plumber and general building trades are afflicted with every day. We need to raise awareness of the risks of coming into contact with asbestos and understand that it’s something that needs expert help to remove.

Day–4 a day of numbers

1000 x 4 people die of Mesothelioma per year in the UK.

100 x 1 years, it took, to identify the cause of Mesothelioma cancer

10 x 1 Years is how long it takes to register a new drug

Meso investment

1 x 1 if the position of the UK in the world ranking of deaths per capita

Meso around the world

I am trying to win UK plumber of the Year 2016, I have been short listed to the final 15 and if I win am pledging the £10,000 winnings to the charity. To win I need as many votes as possible at the website :, please vote for me.