45 HPM 0413

HPM April 2013

SPECIALREPORT The Heating and Hotwater Industry Council has launched the Hole in the Roof campaign, designed to encourage people to make changes in their home to make it more energy efficient. Are you aware of it? PC, AH, SL, SJ, MA, AH: No. JW: No. It sounds like a good thing but I think most people in the industry know or can already advise customers on energy efficiency anyway. So maybe if people are new to the industry then great, but apart from that it’s already part of the service and ingrained in what we do. With manufacturers now offering a variety of different warranties and deals on new boilers, it is important for installers to know exactly what is included. Do you know how to spot a genuine warranty? DW: You’ve got to use a reputable manufacturer for the guarantee to be meaningful. JW: If there’s a tick list of what needs to be done to make the warranty applicable then it’s plain sailing. If manufacturers try and mask it or it’s not clear, then as an installer you don’t know what to do to validate the warranty and it’s a bit of a gimmick. With some manufacturers you have to assume the requirements, but you don’t know for sure. PC: The customer needs to know the detail as well. The fact that they don’t is a big downfall especially when people are buying and selling houses. Servicing is also vital. People need to have their boiler serviced every 12 months, but they aren’t doing that either. DW: Servicing is important but people are skint so they don’t want to pay for it. They don’t understand the importance of it either. It’s not a legal requirement to have it done so maybe if the government changed that then there’d be no misunderstanding. A survey has shown that two years after the introduction of the Part G Building Regulations, many engineers and installers have admitted they are still confused by what they are actually required to do by law. Are you one of them? All: I have no idea about Part G. MA: Gas Safe or the government should tell us about this. JW, PC: I guess as installers it’s up to us to find out too. DW: There’s so much to remember though, that’s the problem. JW: No one checks that you know it and there’s no backlash or accountability if you don’t really. So why would you to a certain extent. I think most know what’s safe and what you have to do in general. For example, what temperature to keep hot water at to avoid injuries, but Part G – most people couldn’t recite it off the top of their head because they don’t know it. PC: You’ve got to be able to reference it fully or not at all. If you can’t remember all the detail it gets difficult. AH: Ultimately I think Gas Safe should know and inform us. Do you agree that the proposed smart meter roll-out will give UK consumers all the information they need to control their energy use? Or do you think they will make little difference to the way consumer’s heat their homes? All: It won’t make a difference. JW: I don’t think people as a whole care. For consumers their gas meter will get changed and that’ll be it. AH: I think there’s also the fear that smart meters might increase their costs even more so there’s a reluctance to get anything changed. JW: Plus there’s the concern about cost. When gas bills are going up, the last thing you want is a new meter in your house which is being funded by the price increases. So many people see it as an unnecessary installation. MA: Many customers fear that they’ll be secretly monitored. PC: People are protective of their data and there’s a fear it will get used. Energy companies and the like are not going to pass up the opportunity to monitor people. It’s unlikely that smart meters will change people’s lifestyles or energy habits – if they need hot water they’ll use hot water, it’s as simple as that. JW: People use what they need when they need it. When they’re cold they put the heating on or go down to Asda and buy a jumper for £2. Or they might have a shower with cooler water in the summer. With smart meters you might save a fiver a year but that’s it. If people are struggling financially they’ll cut down on something else and save money their own way. In reality a smart meter isn’t going to help. DW: Many people think this is just another cost, a way for the government to justify putting their prices up. MA: My customers have asked how they can avoid (smart meters). They’re concerned about and annoyed that they might be pushed into having them regardless. AH: Smart meters are a gimmick. A few of my customers have received a letter about changing to a smart meter and they’ve asked me whether they can change suppliers to avoid it. I think there are two issues here: firstly fear that the government will somehow use the meters to charge people more and secondly, that the meters will be used to keep an eye on them. PC: There’s no getting away from the fact that many customers believe that information about them will be used by others without their consent. Confident and hopeful for 2013 44 APRIL 2013 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY Worcester, Bosch Group’s Training and Assessment Academy was the venue as seven plumbers and heating engineers were quizzed on Part G, smart meters, the Green Deal, the boiler market and 2013. HPM reports... Ready to be grilled: (L-R) Abdul, Munir and Dylan THE SEVEN WHO GAVE FEEDBACK ARE AS FOLLOWS: Phil Cooper (PC), Phil Cooper Heating and Plumbing Jamie Watts (JW), DC Heating Spencer James (SJ), High Efficiency Heating Stephen Lewis (SL), High Efficiency Heating Dylan Williams (DW), DRW Plumbing and Heating Munir Afzal (MA), Saferesponse Gas & Plumbing Abdul Haq (AH), Saferesponse Gas & Plumbing


HPM April 2013
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