030 HPM 0415

HPM April 2015

WWW.HPMMAG.COM Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com SPECIALREPORT An efficient service for customers More consumers are becoming aware that by improving energy efficiency it can help to reduce their fuel bills. As such, plumbers should be regularly talking to customers about their options. Ian Kenny, marketing director at Graham, looks at a variety of cost effective solutions that can reap long-term rewards... With government legislation and schemes geared toward improving energy efficiency - customers are becoming increasingly open to new product options. For professional plumbers looking to offer customers advice, the good news is that there are a multitude of ways to improve the overall efficiency of a home through the choice of plumbing and heating systems. PROTECTING HOT WATER PIPES When it comes to the installation of a central heating system, lagging bare pipes is a practical way to improve efficiency by ensuring a system does not work harder than it needs to, especially during the winter months when pipes can be particularly susceptible to the effects of cold weather. According to the Energy Saving Trust, primary pipe insulation can help to save around £15 per year and from an efficiency perspective, lagging can save around 60kg of carbon dioxide a year. Pipe lagging is not mandatory under any building regulations, but if you visit a customer’s property and notice that there is none in-situ, then it’s worthwhile highlighting that, in terms of best practice when it comes to efficiency, this should be completed as a matter of course to avoid efficiency problems further down the line. PROMOTE THE BENEFITS OF CHEMICAL WATER TREATMENT As professional plumbers will be well aware, it is also important to ensure that when the central heating system is installed it is pre-commissioned correctly and in accordance with Part L of the Building Regulations. This is because central heating systems consist of metal pipes and radiators and when water comes into contact with metal corrosion occurs. This will result in the formation of sludge, which can clog up the system. It won’t matter that you are installing a modern system and a new boiler, it is still vulnerable if not correctly pre-commissioned. Without chemical water treatment, the boiler may have to work twice as hard to circulate the water and heat the home to the desired temperature, increasing fuel bills unnecessarily. In the longer term, it also increases the chances that the boiler will break down, as contaminants get caught in the heat exchanger. Chemical water treatment is mandatory. Plumbers should always ensure that high quality chemical water treatments are added to the system at the point of installation and talk to customers about the benefits of scheduling an annual service to check whether the system requires additional dosing. IMPROVING THE USE OF HEATING CONTROLS Even if you follow best practice installation procedures for central heating systems, remind customers that if they do not use the system effectively then they can actually undo all that good work. Although they are still widely taken for granted, thermostatic controls can go a long way toward improving the efficiency of a home. Controls allow the temperature to be set accurately, according to the needs of the household, the time of year and the requirements from room to room. Controls do not need to be complicated or even expensive to offer this level of usability and can still greatly reduce the levels of energy used while the system is in operation. SAVINGS UNDERFOOT If you are talking to a customer about a new bathroom installation then it is an ideal time to highlight the energy efficiency benefits of underfloor heating (UFH). High comfort levels, together with low running cost and environmental benefits, have resulted in its growing popularity. An UFH system uses water at a much lower temperature than required by radiators. Depending on the conductivity of the floor, the water needs to be between 40 and 60°C to reach the design floor temperature in comparison to traditional radiators, which require the water to be approximately 70 to 80°C. CONSERVING WATER SUPPLIES For customers looking to make their home more efficient, then plumbers should talk through the issue of water conservation for which rainwater harvesting is an ideal solution. This is the collection, filtering and storing of rainwater from the roofs of buildings. Different types of systems are available, those that collect water for use in gardens or for washing cars, as well as systems that feed water back into the household for flushing toilets. Today, there are a variety of methods to keep a home as efficient as possible and many of them are cost effective to do. A professional plumber should take pride in offering guidance on the variety of ways to make plumbing and heating systems efficient - and crucially - now find customers are far more receptive to them. Without water treatment, the boiler may have to work twice as hard to circulate the water and heat the home increasing fuel bills unnecessarily 30 APRIL 2015 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY enquiry number 124


HPM April 2015
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