Boiler room with a heating system.

10 Signs Your Boiler Needs Servicing

By | Boiler and Central Heating

10 Signs Your Boiler Needs Servicing

From domestic properties to commercial buildings, it’s essential to have a professional service carried out on your boiler by an accredited Gas Safe engineer to ensure that it is running efficiently and safely, whilst extending the longevity of your central heating system. Whilst it’s advised to have your boiler serviced once a year, there are a number of warning signs to watch out for that alert homeowners when a service needs carrying out. From visible damage to poor water pressure, warning lights and increased energy bills, these problems need to be seen to as soon as possible. At SR Coates our efficient and effective service helps to eliminate potential boiler issues in the future.

Signs Your Boiler Needs Servicing

Older boilers in particular require regular servicing so that they can heat your home properly and provide hot water on demand. It’s time to call SR Coates when you notice the following ten signs your boiler needs a service.

Unusual Noises: Knocking, hissing, clunking or whistling sounds are a clear way to spot the need for boiler maintenance. Hearing these sounds means there could be a build-up of limescale, trapped air in the system or a faulty pump.

Water Leaks: Corroded pipes, damaged seals or a faulty pressure valve can lead to water leaks which will fall around your boiler. If your boiler is leaking there are a number of areas an engineer can get to the route of the problem.

Inconsistent Heating or Hot Water: Have you recently experienced that some rooms are colder than others? This lack of home heating efficiency can be caused by water circulation, failing heating equipment or issues with the thermostat.

Increased Energy Bills: If there is no particular reason why you’ve seen a sudden increase in your energy bills then this could be a sign of an inefficient boiler. A service will not only help to maintain energy efficiency and reduce consumption, but it will also keep your bills at a consistent level.

Boiler Keeps Shutting Off: One of the biggest signs that you need a boiler repair or servicing is that it keeps shutting off. This could be down to multiple factors as to why it’s doing this such as blockages.

Warning Lights or Error Codes: Error codes or the pilot light frequently going out is usually caused by a faulty thermocouple or problems with the gas supply. Keep an eye on this if common occurrences happen as it’s an easy indicator that something is wrong.

Poor Water Pressure: When hot water takes a while to come out of your taps or shower, this poor water pressure can become rather frustrating. A fully maintained boiler shouldn’t experience this, therefore calling out an expert plumber can fix the issue.

Visible Damage: If something on your boiler doesn’t look quite right or you spot signs that your boiler appears different to usual, it could mean that it is damaged and can lead to wider issues with how well it performs.

Age and Lack of Maintenance: If your service history isn’t great perhaps it’s time that your boiler needs servicing. Even if you haven’t spotted any obvious signs of wear and tear having a professional check your boiler will be able to give you advice on any areas that need improving.

Carbon Monoxide Alarm Activation: This is a vital one as carbon monoxide leaks are a serious matter. If the alarm sounds then it’s important to get professional assistance as soon as possible.

The Importance of Professional Boiler Servicing

With so many areas that can lead to issues with a boiler, it’s essential to have regular boiler servicing carried out by a professional engineer and a reliable plumbing company that you can trust. Safety is the number one reason as a poorly maintained boiler can pose a variety of risks to your home or property such as carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks and even boiler explosions. Our team are highly trained to spot and address these hazards to give you complete peace of mind.

Not only that, professional servicing ensures that your boiler is operating efficiently and is consuming less energy which is better for the environment as it reduces carbon emissions as well as lowers your utility bills. As many manufacturers have warranties on their boilers, it’s important that the servicing is carried out by a qualified professional, as the warranty could be void if not completed by a qualified plumber. Finally, regular servicing ensures that your boiler is reliable and won’t experience any unexpected breakdown as checks will be made to rectify any small issues before they become big ones which can result in costly fixtures. It also helps to prolong the lifespan of your boiler.

At SR Coates we provide comprehensive boiler services that go above and beyond basic safety checks. We take a look at boiler flue output, inspect pipework, carry out thorough component testing, disassemble and clean key components and replace components if needed when faults occur or as time goes by with an ageing boiler. As Gas Safe engineers we are qualified to service a wide variety of makes and models for boilers and pride ourselves on our expertise and reputation for delivering high levels of customer satisfaction by providing a full spectrum of gas, heating and plumbing services from installation to maintenance. Speak to our team to find out more about how we can assist you.

Gas, Heating & Plumbing Engineers in Oxford

Important Bathroom Design Mistakes to Avoid

By | Bathroom Design and Installation

Important Bathroom Design Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to giving our home interior an overhaul, we like to complement our own personal style as well as the overall design of the rest of the home. Whether that’s colour pallet, flooring, accessories, bathroom storage or lighting, we want a house to feel homely for family members but also impressive when guests come to visit. There are a number of interior design mistakes to avoid though, especially when it comes to refurbishing your bathroom. 

Everyone has a dream design in mind when remodelling a bathroom, and in the long run you want to ensure that it stands the test of time and doesn’t have any flaws which can be costly in years to come when you’ll be forced to re-do the upgrade again. Here’s our top list of areas to consider when taking on a bathroom renovation and the common mistakes to avoid. 

Do your research

This is a particularly important one to start with. Whether you’re working with a plumber to help with the installation or buying from the high street or online, make sure to shop around for the best deals and see what the wait time is for having items delivered. This could save you time and money in the long run. Also if there are certain materials that would match the rest of your home, shop around online to see which stores match your style. 

Wrong measurements

Size over style is definitely the case for bathrooms as it needs to function well at the end of the day, especially if you’ve got little space to work with. When designing a new bathroom make sure there’s enough space to move around the toilet easily (we recommend at least a 60cm circumference), and that nothing is obstructing shower doors or cupboards as this will become an annoying factor in a short space of time. 

Buying the wrong size shower screen

Speaking of measurements, we don’t just mean for the overall layout but for the bathroom items too. You want to make sure that the shower screen provides complete coverage otherwise you’ll end up with a soggy bathroom floor which can be dangerous. Also bear in mind measurements if installing a bath so that it fits neatly into your desired space. 

Placing the bath taps in the wrong place

It may seem like a small matter but you’ll soon find it a bother when you’re longing for a relaxing bath but can’t get comfortable because the taps are in the way. Are they best placed at the very end of the tub or in the middle for a contemporary finish? 

Not treating wooden floors or surfaces

Before turning on any taps in your new and improved bathroom it’s important that wooden areas have been treated correctly to protect it from water and humidity which could damage the wood finish or even lead to rotting. If you’re concerned about the aftercare of having wood flooring then perhaps consider floor tiles instead. 

Check your pipework

What looks nice on the surface might not be the case underneath the floorboards. Before planning where an item is going to be placed, think about where the pipes need to be. Your toilet for example needs to be no further than 6m from the soil pipe to allow it to drain properly, while showers, baths and basins need to be a maximum of 4m away. 

Think about privacy

The bathroom is certainly the one place you don’t want to be caught out in embarrassment. What does your bathroom look like and how can you protect yourself from prying eyes? Could you have frosted glass installed or potentially blinds, and don’t forget that all important lock on the door. 

Bath over shower

There’s always a debate in a home whether a bath or shower is more favourable. Whether you’re aiming for a traditional look with a roll top bath or something more modern with a shower, take a look at the measurements to see what kind of area you’re working with. If you have a small space then a wet room could be an option. Alternatively if you can’t decide then have the best of both with a shower over the bath. 

Consider lighting options

Lighting is something that certainly creates a mood and an ambiance, especially in a common bathroom. Do you have natural light coming in through windows or would you rather have task lighting that puts a spotlight on certain areas of the room to create a relaxing atmosphere. 

Don’t disregard storage space

Whether you have a small bathroom or large, thinking about storage space is key. When designing what bathroom fixtures will go where, consider what storage options you have for items such as towels and toiletries. 

Forgetting about finishing touches

When thinking about bathroom design mistakes to avoid whilst looking at the bigger picture, think about what accessories will boost your bathroom and exemplify your style. This could be plants, mirrors or bath mats. 

Poor ventilation

As the most humid room in the house thanks to all that hot air, you’re going to need to invest in a decent extractor fan that can keep mould at bay. This is particularly vital if you have a bathroom with no windows as that reduces the chance for humidity to escape even more. 

Think about the future

When upgrading your bathroom it’s good to think about its long-term usage and what features to have in place. For example, if you have children in the home or need extra reassurance for when you get older. This can include installing non-slip surfaces, flat walk-in showers and grab handles which you’ll thank yourself for later. 

Disregarding the experts

As full bathroom suites are easy to come by online or in store these days, you may think you don’t need the assistance of a professional. However, bringing on board an expert who can spot any flaws in your design and help with the detailed aspects of a bathroom renovation. This includes the potential to knock down walls, add in new windows, or work on pipes and cables to make sure your water system and electricity is easily available. 

These are just a number of mistakes to avoid when redesigning your bathroom that we recommend. At SR Coates, we’ve been proud to be part of bathroom refurbishments which have truly transformed a home using our expert skills, eye for detail and experience built up after years in the industry. Speak to our team to see how we can help you move one step forward to investing in your dream bathroom and leaving the handy work to the professionals. We’re fully insured and our reputation for delivering stylish, contemporary bathrooms stand the test of time thanks to our care and attention from the pipework to presentation. 

How long does it take to install a new boiler? 

By | Boiler and Central Heating

How long does it take to install a new boiler?

When your boiler is beyond repair and can no longer be saved with a service or general maintenance, it’s time to get the professionals to install a new boiler. They’re essential to providing a central heating system in your home, hot water, and there is a wide variety when it comes to the type of boiler you order and have installed. Whether you want to do a combi swap with old gas boilers and have a new smart thermostat installed or are looking to relocate the boiler altogether, it’s a variable process when fitted by a professional depending on your circumstances.

The installation time will differ due to a number of factors such as what kind of boiler you’re installing and its location in the house. It’s also important to get assistance from a gas safe registered engineer who will complete the task to a high standard and will meet gas safe regulations too. The variety of installation processes include:

Straight boiler swap – 4-6 hours

The simplest and quickest installation is when an engineer is swapping an old boiler in your home for a new one of the same type. Say for example the boiler replacement will be installed in the same location and all the pipes are already in place for gas, central heating and water. The process is pretty straightforward, as the system will be drained and isolated by disconnecting the thermostat and electricity which can be achieved in less than a day. 

Changing the position of your boiler – 1-2 days

If you’re doing refurbishments to your house or need to relocate the boiler, this will take a little more time than a straightforward swap as new pipework for water and gas will need to be installed along with new cables connected for electric power and thermostats. It’s important to keep this in mind when looking at where it is best to fit a new boiler. 

Installing a new combi boiler – 1-2 days 

This is comparable to if you’re putting in a new boiler into a building that doesn’t already have one in place. All the same processes will need to be actioned when putting in new pipes and cables, but bear in mind that if no central heating system is in place at all then this will increase the length of time for instalment. This can elongate to 3-4 days as it’s one of the larger boiler installation jobs for an engineer as you’re changing the type and the position. You may also need to have new brackets, re-route the water and gas supplies and even knock holes through to make room. 

Changing the type of boiler – 2-3 days 

Whether you’re investing in a new combi, heat only or system boiler, due to the fact you’re changing the type altogether will need a new set of plumbing and electrics. System boilers require a cylinder to hold water for the central heating, whilst heat only boilers need an expansion and cold water tank. When changing boilers the installation time will be spent taking away any unnecessary tanks, cylinders and pipework. 

Changing fuel type – 2-3 days 

If you’re looking for an alternative to the current boiler you have and upgrading from oil or gas to a new electric model, there will be extra plumbing and electrical work to consider even if you’re keeping the boiler in the same location. 

At SR Coates our experienced and knowledgeable gas engineers are on hand to supply and fit a new boiler to your specification and schedule. We understand that the process can be disruptive to your home life so we’ll be honest about the time it will take and what work will be carried out. We’re pleased to offer leading names in the industry such as Worcester Boilers, Vaillant, Viesmann, Baxi and Ideal and will advise on which boiler is best for you. We’ll also ensure that you’re happy operating the new boiler and can use it correctly and safely once installation is complete. 

Gas, Heating & Plumbing Engineers in Oxford

Are you prepared for the colder months?

By | Boiler and Central Heating

Are you prepared for the colder months?

As winter is fast approaching and the days are getting colder, it might be a good idea to start preparing your home for the colder months.

One thing to consider is learning how to prevent your pipes freezing over once the temperature starts to drop below 0. Here are a few tips from the SR Coates plumbing and heating team to prevent frozen pipes and keeping your home ticking over.

Use sleeving

A great way to take care of your pipes is to apply some insulation, this can be done by adding some foams leaving to areas where pipes tend to get cold, such as attics or basements. A great tip to use is; the thinner the pipe, the thicker your sleeve needs to be.

Don’t avoid fixing dripping taps

Dripping taps can be a nuisance most people tend to ignore, however, if a drip freezes a block can occur. Consider replacing the washer on your dripping taps at your soonest connivance.

Consider leaving your heating on

Although keeping your heating off when you’re out and about can save you money, leaving your heating on can help prevent costly disasters such as burst pipes. Another option could be to drain your pipes to ensure there is no water left if you’re going to be away from home for a lovely winter holiday.

If you do end up with frozen pipes, don’t panic, you can thaw them at home. Try turning off your water supply at the stopcock and turning off your heating system, then start to thaw your pipes using hot water bottles or wrap the pipes with towels soaked in hot water, or even a hairdresser.

SR Coates Plumbing and Heating have a number of experienced and friendly plumbers in Oxford who would be happy to help restore your home back to good health.
Contact our plumbers in Oxford today on 07850 399148 or 01865 862323 for helpful advice or to book your callout.

hands on radiator

Why do I have cold spots in my radiator?

By | Boiler and Central Heating

Are you experiencing cold spots in your radiators?

Cold spots can be caused by sludge buildup and dirty water passing through your heating system. This build-up can cause poor performance and even result in a boiler breakdown.

To diagnose what’s wrong with your radiator, we take a look at where the cold spot resides.

I have cold spots at the top and bottom of my radiator

If the cold spot is at both the bottom and the top of the radiator, this is likely to be trapped air. Luckily, this issue can be fixed at home and doesn’t require a plumber to come out. To release the trapped air from your radiator you will need to bleed it.

How to bleed your radiator:

  1. Turn your central heating off and wait for them to cool
  2. Use a screwdriver or a radiator key (depending on the type of radiator you have). If you require a radiator key and don’t have one, they are available to purchase in most local DIY stores.
  3. Cover the floor below with a towel or some cloth, some people like to place a bowl below to catch any water.
  4. Use the key and slowly turn the radiator valve anti-clockwise, you should hear a quiet hissing sound as the air escapes.
  5. Wait until the sound stops and the water starts to leak out before turning the key back and closing the valve
  6. Well done, you have successfully bled your radiator! Switch the heating back on and re-check the radiator for cold spots.

I have a cold patch in the middle or bottom of my radiator

Sludge build up, rust and dirty water passing through your heating system is likely the cause of this issue.

In this case, the radiator will need to be removed from the wall and flushed out to get rid of the sludge trapped inside. To fix this at home yourself, you will need to purchase a sludge remover available from most DIY stores and flush the system yourself.

If you have a pressurised system or if you’re not confident in attempting this yourself, it’s important to hire a gas safe engineer (view our gas safe profile here).

The cold spots in my radiator keep coming back

If the cold spots in your radiator are persistent, its time to call in the professionals to avoid a possible clog that could lead to a costly boiler breakdown.

SR Coates Plumbing and Heating have a number of experienced and friendly plumbers in Oxford who would be happy to help restore your system back to good health.
Contact our plumbers in Oxford today on 07850 399148 or 01865 862323 for helpful advice or to book your callout.