7 Steps to Bleed Your Home Heating System Before Considering an Oil Boiler Service

One of the most common call-outs for plumbers in Dublin is to bleed an oil-fired boiler. However, if you are confident and prepared you can do this task yourself.

By following the series of simple steps it means you can undertake this, without the need for an expensive visit.

The first of these is to turn off the boiler before starting, then:

Step 1

Find the bleed screw. It is usually near where the fuel line comes into the pump. On most oil fired central heating systems boilers it is a small, nipple-like, screw.

Step 2

Put a bucket or pan under the bleed screw to catch any fuel that may spill as you bleed. If there is not space for a bucket a foil tray will do. Alternatively you can put tubing over the bleed screw to drain to a bucket.

Step 3

Using a small wrench (crescent) or pliers slightly loosen the bleed screw, but be careful to only slightly loosen the screw as you don’t want it to drop and be lost in the oil.

Step 4

Push the restart button on the boiler. As the furnace begins it will suck fuel in and air and fuel will begin to come out of the bleed screw.

Step 5

Keep your wrench/pliers ready to tighten it when the sputtering of air and fuel ends. It may take a number of attempts. If the furnace cycle ends before the sputtering stops hit the reset button again. Some central heating systems may prevent more than two or three attempts. If that happens just hold the reset button in for several seconds to restart the process.

Step 6

As soon as the sputtering stops and a flow of fuel is coming out of the bleed screw tighten the screw. Make sure not to over-tighten as this will strip the screw, making for an expensive job to replace it.

Step 7

Let your furnace run as it should be fine now. If it fails to restart repeat the above steps.

However, if all this fails it may be more air in the system than can be dealt with, or other blockages are present. If that’s the case you probably need a boiler service and getting a good, qualified plumber in Dublin is essential when having repair work done on heating systems for homes.

If you need plumbing or heating specialist, we are always here to help. Contact us today!

01 437 9577
087-276-8007

Building a New Home? - Here’s What You Need to Ask The Plumber

It’s everyone’s dream to have their new house built – a home designed for their own needs.

More and more people across the country are taking on these mammoth construction projects themselves and the one thing that’s essential to get right first time is the plumbing and heating.

The exciting part is buying the land and working with the architect, but before you even think about laying any foundations it’s a good idea to sort out your utilities.  From central heating systems, showers, toilets and en suite bathrooms to your kitchen and more it’s important to get it right.

Not only do you have your own high standards but there are industry standards and regulations that you must ensure your house adheres to.  Having the right plumber do the job will take care of this.

Even if your builder is recommending a plumber in Dublin or plumbing company you must make sure you ask the right questions before agreeing to them.

First of all you need to make sure that they are registered with the appropriate trade organisation. That’s a virtual guarantee of quality and tradesmanship, but more importantly proof that they meet the professional standards associated with issues such as installing gas heating systems.

It’s also important that you can inspect their website, see the address and examine testimonials. A reputable plumber will be happy to not only show you testimonials but to put you in touch with previous clients.

Design is something that you may have discussed with your architect and builder but a good plumber can tell you exactly what is possible and within your budget.

You may have dreamed about having a wet room complete with shower and cast iron bath, but is it possible, will the ceilings have enough load bearing – and will it be blowing the budget?

Equally you may want that fridge freezer with the drinks dispenser, but remember it needs to be plumbed in to get that ice cold water.

It is more often than not that these small details that get overlooked. And, that’s why it is vital to pick the right plumber and work with them closely at every stage. To give just one example a client wanted an island in the middle of their kitchen with a sink, but had never considered that it needed to be plumbed until well after the concrete had been poured for the floor.

And, then there is the issue of radiators. Sure, you may think that your plumber will just be installing your boiler, but they can advise where is the best place to have them before the floor is down. At the same time any other advanced systems such as underfloor heating or solar heating systems need planned in partnership with your plumber.

All in all when building a new house, or re-developing a home it’s essential to work in partnership with your plumber, by keeping the dialogue going any doubts you may have will be removed and you’ll have a valuable asset in explaining what can, and cannot be done…and, more importantly, how much it will all cost.

When it is time to choose a plumber for your new home, we hope you will contact us.

 

 

Tips For Maintaining Your Gas Boiler

You’ve seen all the warning TV ads so you know if there is a problem with your gas boiler and you need to draft in expert assistance fast. While there have been major advertising campaigns around what to do and what not to do when you suspect a problem with your boiler, there is little information available about how to actually prevent issues from occurring in the first place.

A boiler can last for many, many years, performing at optimal levels, but that’s only if it’s properly maintained. We have put together this quick guide of tips for maintaining & servicing your boiler, to help you prevent major issues and ensure you can enjoy a lasting, stress free relationship with one of the hardest working pieces of equipment in your home.

 

  1. Give It a Quick Visual Check Each Month
  2. It pays to give your gas boiler a visual exterior inspection. Spotting visible signs of a problem like leaks, cracks or warning messages and calling in a plumber immediately means that minor issues can be quickly rectified and prevented from becoming significant disasters.

     

  3. Take Action If You Hear Strange Noises
  4. If you begin to hear rattling, knocking, banging or gurgling sounds, you’ll be glad to know it’s not likely to be coming from a ghost or new spooky resident in your home. If you observe such sounds, you will likely find that they are coming from your boiler. If you hear strange noises, call a registered gas boiler service expert immediately. Don’t try to ignore the noise or drown it out!

    Even if you aren’t alerted to loud noises from your boiler, it is worth paying close attention to the sounds it is making. The sooner you can spot irregularities in the sounds made by your boiler – no matter how faint they may be – the less significant the issue will likely be to resolve.

     

  5. Keep It Running All Year Round
  6. As the warmer summer months arrive, it is common for many people in Ireland to switch off their boiler until the sharp cold winter returns. While this may seem the right thing to do economically, it might not be the case in the long run. To keep all components in working order, it is best to put them into action regularly, even if it’s just for 30 minutes every day or every second day in the summer.

    Any potential issues can be rectified quicker if the boiler is in regular use too – the last thing you want to do is leave it switched off until winter only to discover there is an issue with your boiler just when you need it most!

     

  7. Insulate The Boiler Pipes
  8. Insulating your pipes isn’t an expensive or complicated task and it can go a long way to preventing a boiler breakdown. During the winter months, it can be all too easy for the pipes to freeze up as temperatures fall below zero.

    Unfortunately, frozen pipes can quickly lead to a boiler breakdown so it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If there’s one thing you do to protect your boiler, it should be to insulate your pipes.

     

  9. Book An Annual Boiler Service
  10. Along with your own checks and maintenance tasks, you should always ensure to schedule a yearly service by a registered gas boiler service company.

    The expense of an annual service isn’t a huge cost and is one you should never debate cutting. After all, the aim of regular servicing is to save you money in the long run by nipping issues in the bud and keeping your boiler in tiptop shape.

 

So there you have it; our top 5 quick boiler maintenance tips – short and sweet, but believe us when we say, taking heed of each tip can have a massive impact in helping to extend the life of your gas boiler.

 

How to Fix a Leaking Tap

Leaking taps are the most common household plumbing problem, and not to mention one of the most annoying; the constant dripping noise is bound to drive just about anyone crazy!

However, when it comes to leaking taps there is often a quick fix and there isn’t necessarily a need to call out a plumber.

A leaking tap is fairly simple to tackle on your own, even if you aren’t much inclined to participate in DIY projects. These are the easy steps to take in order to fix a leaky tap in your home. But first, what do you need to complete this task?

 

What Do You Need?

Before you begin the project of fixing your tap, it’s best to ensure that you have the right equipment to handle the job. For this project you are going to need:

Once you have these by your side then it's time to commence the real task.

 

How to Fix a Leaking Tap

  1. The first thing that you need to do when it comes to fixing a leaking tap is turn off the water mains. If you live in a house, then chances are that the mains can be found on the street or in your front garden. If you live in a townhouse or apartment, your mains are most likely in the bathroom.
  2. We really want to avoid anything going wrong during the process, and this means proper preparation. Put a bucket under the sink to ensure that you catch any drips or spills, and make sure to drain the tap water first, then put in a plug. This will ensure that none of the parts fall down the drain if you drop them.
  3. Use the spanner to remove the tap’s cover, which is normally found above the hot/cold water sign. Undoing this allows you to unscrew the handle.
  4. Using your fingers or a wrench, unscrew the handle carefully from the top of your tap.
  5. Unscrew the bonnet from top of the tap to expose the bottom valve.
  6. Use your adjustable spanner to unscrew the bottom valve.
  7. There will be a black rubber washer at the bottom left from unscrewing the valve. You need to get this washer out, as it’s probably the cause of your problem – rubber washers tend to become damaged over time and don’t seal things tightly enough.
  8. Now replace the old washer with the new one in the exact spot you just removed it from. Screw it in and make sure it’s as tight as it can go to adequately seal your tap.
  9. Fit the tap valve back on and tighten it with your wrench.
  10. Fit the covering back onto the valve and make sure to tighten it with a screwdriver – don’t overdo it though as this may mess with the tap alignment. Make sure your tap is properly closed and then turn the water on to test it.

And that’s that! Congratulations on fixing your first tap. We hope that you enjoyed learning about the process.

Top 10 Plumbing Checks to Look Out For

If you’re about to buy or rent a new home, you’ll want to make sure that the plumbing is in order and that you’re not going to experience any nasty surprises when you move in.

Our handy little guide gives you the lowdown on what to do and what to check with regards to boilers, heating, radiators and pipework with our top 10 plumbing checks to look out for before you move into a new property.

Boilers and Heating

  1. Determine whether it’s a wall hung, combi/condensing boiler or a back boiler.
  2. Find out when the boiler was installed. As you can imagine, the newer the boiler, the more efficient they tend to be, and the less you’ll have to pay for heating your house and water. If the boiler is newly installed ask to see the Gas Safe certificate, which will confirm that a fully qualified and competent heating engineer fitted the boiler.
  3. Does the boiler have a regular maintenance and servicing contract? Take a look at the general appearance of the boiler, and check to see whether there are signs of dripping water or rust around any of the boiler’s connections. If it looks dusty or dirty, it’s likely that it’s not been inspected for a while. If you’re renting a property this is your landlord’s responsibility but you can also call your local boiler service if it is more efficient. 
  4. If your boiler feeds a hot water cylinder, check to see that the cylinder is properly insulated.
  5. Try the heating to see if it works efficiently. If the heating is switched on at the beginning of your property viewing, the radiators should start to feel warm by the time you’re ready to leave.

Radiators and Leaks

  1. Once you’ve determined that the heating is working, it’s time to check the radiators. Are they warm from the bottom of the radiator to the top?
  2. Take a look at the valve connections on the radiators, and the radiators themselves to see if they’re rusty. If there’s evidence of rust, this would indicate that they’ve been leaking. That said; we suggest that you look under the valves and the radiators, and along the pipework to see if you can see any further signs of leakage.

Toilets and Drains

  1. Give the toilet a flush to check that the flushing mechanism is working and that all levers, handles and buttons work properly.
  2. Do the bathrooms and toilets smell fresh? Be wary if there’s a strong smell of air freshener as this may have been used to disguise a problem with the drainage. If you suspect that there is a drainage problem, you may want to check the drains outside too.

And finally…

Ask where the stopcock is so you’ll know where to turn the water off if there is a plumbing emergency.

If in doubt call in the plumbers

If you’re renting a property, all plumbing is the responsibility of the landlord, but if you’re planning to buy an older property and you’re not sure that the plumbing is up to scratch, you may want to ask your local plumber to carry out a thorough Plumbing and Heating Health Check before you sign the house purchase contract.

 

How to Keep Warm and Save Money on Your Heating This Winter

Temperatures are dropping, and the nights are drawing in. It’s a time of dark evenings, frosty mornings and huddling indoors with the curtains closed.

But if you’re worrying about how you’re going to keep warm and save money on your heating this winter, here are 6 simple ways to cut the cost of your energy bills, and still keep toasty.

Switch your Energy Supplier

If you’re still with the same energy supplier, it may be time for a change. Unfortunately, energy companies don’t seem to want to reward us for our loyalty, so check out the comparison sites to see if you could be getting a better deal. Once you’ve found a better tariff, give your existing supplier a call and ask if they can better it, or at least match it. You could save hundreds of pounds per year on your energy bills.

 

Exclude Any Drafts

Ensuring that your home is adequately draft-proofed will go a long way to cutting your energy bill and keeping you warm. Check for gaps under doors, windows that don’t shut properly and drafts coming up through floorboards.

Easy solutions include buying inexpensive draft excluder strips and self-adhesive strips from your local DIY store, and covering your floorboards with a large rug. Don’t forget to check for drafts from your letterbox and keyholes, and make sure that cold air isn’t coming into your house through gaps around electrical fittings or where water pipes enter and exit the external walls of the house.

 

Drop your Thermostat to 18

Most of us feel comfortable with our thermostat at 20, but by simply dropping it another couple of degrees, you could save up to 20% on your heating bill.

You may feel the need to wear a jumper indoors at this temperature, and if you’re an older person, this setting may not be right for you, but for every degree you reduce the temperature on your thermostat, you could save 10% on your heating bill – and who doesn’t want that?

 

Don’t Block Off Your Radiators

Why turn on your radiators and then position something in front of them? Culprits include sofas and chairs in the living room, beds in the bedrooms, towels in the bathroom, and full-length curtains.

It may be that your room doesn’t leave you much option when it comes to positioning your furniture, but at least try to pull the furniture as far away as possible from the radiator to allow the heat to flow freely around the room.

 

Leave Your Doors Open

Not your front door of course, but if you leave doors to hot kitchens and hot ovens open, the warm air will circulate around the house, as will steam from a bathroom. Just be extra careful with the oven door if you have small children about.

 

Get Out of The House More

Go for walks when the weather’s nice rather than staying cooped up indoors. Take the opportunity to visit friends and family. Go and volunteer at a local charity. If you’re out of the house doing something that doesn’t cost much money, you can leave your heating turned down!

While all the suggestions above will help you to reduce your heating bills without sacrificing too much warmth, don’t forget to have your heating system checked over before the winter kicks in to ensure that it’s running at its optimum level. You know it makes sense.

 

10 Unusual Items Plumbers Find in Blocked Toilets

When it comes to strange and unlikely items that have been unearthed by plumbers, a few of these may well surprise you!

 

Teddies and Stuffed Animals

 It seems kids have a reputation for shoving things down the u-bend with good reason. Plumbers recover thousands of fluffy friends and other toys from toilets all over the country each year so the next time you see your little one heading to the loo with their favourite teddy, make them leave it at the door!

 

Nappies and other Baby Products

Despite the warnings we see all the time in public toilets, it seems that we just can’t resist attempting to flush nappies away, which is something that results in serious headaches for plumbers. The same applies to baby wipes that should be binned and not flushed as, unlike toilet paper, they are not biodegradable.

 

Mobile Phones

If you’re guilty of surfing the web whilst sitting on the loo or keeping your phone in your back pocket, you’ll understand how easy it can be to drop a mobile phone into the toilet.

 

Wallets & Purse

For predictably similar reasons wallets and purses also feature heavily on the list of unusual items retrieved by plumbers from blocked u-bends. There is surely no greater pain than being forced to pay a professional to fish out your soggy wallet complete with destroyed cash.

 

Cigarette Butts

So many people think that the toilet is an easy way to dispose of cigarette butts but what’s they don’t think of is the damage that it’s causing to their plumbing system. Having a filter on your septic tank won’t save you from line plugs and all other kinds of costly damage.

 

Underwear

Underwear is another repeat offender when it comes to blocking drains with multiple pairs found annually in u-bends across the country.  It is thought that the culprits here are usually small children in schools who panic, stuff and flush when they have an accident. Don’t do it kids!

 

False Teeth

Plumbers retrieve their fair share of false teeth from loos every year. And whilst we’re not too sure how someone would manage to drop their teeth into a toilet, we’re pretty sure they didn’t want them returned afterwards!

 

Fish

Fish both alive and dead are regularly flushed down toilets with larger ones known to have caused serious blockages. Once again it seems the movies may be to blame for this trend.

 

And all of the above pales in comparison to the time that one little boy accidentally flushed his puppy down the faucet when giving him a bath. Thankfully he was retrieved unharmed but no doubt was in need of a proper bath following his ordeal!

 6 Useful Tools for Plumbing

A little plumbing knowledge can go a long way in keeping the plumbing systems in your home in tiptop shape. Minor plumbing tasks pop up all the time and those who consider themselves handy at DIY will be more than equipped to deal with them.

 

Tasks like bleeding radiators, turning off the water supply, unclogging drains, fixing leaky taps, changing shower heads, replacing a kitchen sink sprayer, caulking a bath tub or shower, and cleaning a sink trap are more than manageable by a DIY enthusiast.

 

There are thousands of written and video tutorials online that are filled with great how-to videos for these simple plumbing tasks – all you need to ensure is that you have the right tools to hand.

 

Be prepared for any minor plumbing problems by keeping the following six essential tools in your toolkit:

 

Pipe Wrench

Many plumbing tasks will rely on the use of a pipe wrench so it’s an absolute necessity for your tool kit. The bolts on a water heater, pressure regulators and any iron piping will all need to be tackled with a pipe wrench. Ideally, you should keep a couple of pipe wrenches in different sizes so you are equipped to manage various sized nuts and bolts.

 

Pliers

You won’t get too far completing any plumbing jobs without the use of a channel lock pliers. A channel lock pliers can quickly and easily take apart any plumbing appliance, although having a spare pliers in your kit is always a wise idea. A time will often arise where you will need to use one set of pliers to hold a pipe or bolt in place and the other for unscrewing.

 

Sink Wrench

When trying to tend to leaks, repairs or new installs relating to a kitchen, bathroom or ensuite sink, you will find yourself having to try to navigate tools at awkward angles to loosen or tighten many of the fittings. That’s where a sink wrench becomes incredibly convenient. These self-tightening wrenches can reach even the most difficult of angles, especially those that can log into 90-degree positions by themselves.

 

Allen Keys

An Allen key isn’t just useful for opening an electrics box as it is your key to opening many modern showers and sink faucet handles too. Keep a set of loose Allen keys in your tool kit so you can easily pick an Allen key to fit the fixture and open it within seconds.

 

Sealant

Once you have repaired or installed a faucet or drain, the only way you can ensure an airtight, watertight seal is to surround the joint with sealant.  Adding some “plumber’s putty” (a soft substance that will harden and effectively seal valves, pipes and sinks) to your toolkit will prevent any leaks of water or pressure.

 

Hacksaw

Sometimes you will find yourself with no choice but to cut through pipes, screws and nuts. To do this, you’ll need a tool with a tense enough blade to master tough cuts – a hacksaw is simply the only tool for the job.

Stock up your tool kit with these six essentials and you’ll be ready for whatever your plumbing system has to throw at you.

 

 

Types of Heating Systems

Heating your home should be one of your top priorities, especially at this time of year when temperatures are at their lowest.

There are many different ways to heat your home and as each has its own advantages and disadvantages, it can be very difficult to know if you are making the right choice when it comes to investing in a heating system.

In this article, we will talk you through three of the most popular options for home heating systems in the hope of assisting you in making that difficult decision a little bit easier!

 

 

This is, by far, one of the most popular ways to heat your home. In Irish households, boilers are either oil-fired or gas-fired and, to put it simply, they work by heating water in a water tank that, in turn, heats the radiators.

The temperature of your radiators is controlled by means of a thermostat, which can allow you to control the internal temperature of your home at a level that suits you. Boilers can also control underground heating.

When water in the tank is heated to an appropriate level, it sends heated water and steam through underground heating pipes which heats your interior from the floor up.

 

 

For those of you who are interested in sustainable ways to heat your home, an option that is worth exploring is that of wood pellet and biomass fuelled heating systems. These systems offer all the warmth and comfort that oil and gas fired heating would afford you but they burn cleanly and are a lot friendlier to the environment.

While wood pellet boilers are a more common sight in many homes, biomass boilers can also be installed which burn fuels such as wood chip or grain and their popularity is on the rise.

These types of boilers can significantly reduce your overall heating bill as the fuel used is much cheaper than gas or oil as well as being a more sustainable source of heating energy.

 

 

Solar central heating is a type of renewable heating that uses solar panels on the roof of your home to capture the sun’s rays and convert this energy into heating.

A popular misconception is that Ireland doesn’t experience enough sun to run solar central heating but that is just not true. Even on dull, cold and cloudy days, enough sunlight can be captured to heat your home and your water supply to a sufficiently hot temperature.

This type of heating is clearly an option for you if you are concerned with your carbon footprint as it’s environmentally friendly. And, even though it will require an investment up front, you will reap the benefits of solar power for years and years after installation.  

Your choice of heating will have an impact on the comfort of your home as well as your overall heating bill so it is important that you select an option that ticks all your boxes. Determine what’s most important to you and you’ll soon realise which option out of the three is best.

 

Tips for Good Insulation this Winter

We have learned from recent research and documentaries that a home can never have too much insulation.  

In a normal household, it is estimated that about half of the heating or cooling will escape through its windows, walls, roof and floor. You don’t need us to tell you how much energy waste that equates to.

Firstly, it’s energy that needs to be paid for and, secondly, letting that energy freely escape from your home is doing no good for the environment in which you’re living.

That said; there are many ways of saving that vital energy during the cool of autumn and the cold of the winter months ahead. We’re about to share some of them right here…

Properly insulate your home

By taking the necessary steps to adequately insulate your home, drafts will be reduced or eliminated completely, your heating costs will lessen and excessive sound that might have annoyed you before will be reduced and, in some cases, muted.

Insulation should be installed in the areas of your home where the most energy escapes. This is the attic for the majority of homeowners in Ireland. Getting a professional plumbing and heating company to insulate your attic and all piping in your home before winter arrives is also a great idea.

Pinpoint the areas of your home where heat is escaping

Whether you live in a newly constructed town house or an old cottage, it is vital that you pinpoint the problem areas of your home that’s letting heat escape. Generally speaking, those who live in older homes that haven’t been insulated will have a lot more areas to worry about than homeowners that live in newer structures.

In older homes about 50% of heating is lost through the roof, 35% through the walls and 25% through the windows. The following are some effective steps to take if you want to see a dramatic decrease in these percentages…

Keeping your home well insulated this winter doesn’t have to break the bank. There are some actionable steps that you can take today to reduce your heating bill and keep your living area warm and cosy as the nights get cooler and cooler.

That said; taking greater steps such as insulating your attic and getting your heating system serviced will have a bigger impact in the long-term.