Following a year of disruption for the plumbing and heating sector, it is now more important than ever that industry professionals are doing their bit to ensure gas safety is still considered first and foremost in UK homes.
Marking Gas Safety Week 2021, Chris Riley, National Operations Manager at Baxi, comments: “With many people making changes to their homes and servicing schedules being disrupted, it is vital that installers explain the reasoning behind regular performance checks and maintenance.
“When highlighting the benefits of annual servicing to homeowners, comparing boiler maintenance to a car MOT and service can be helpful. Most people understand the importance of keeping their vehicle in good working order, so it makes perfect sense to apply this thinking to the boiler too. After all, this is a home appliance that can be in constant use, providing heating and hot water for the entire home. It’s only when a breakdown happens that the consequences of neglect become clear, by which time it is usually too late. While the MOT analogy is a good one to use, there are of course other ways to advise and educate customers about safety at home.
“Installers will always remember the fundamental role of W.A.G.E.S in their job – checking the water, air, gas, electrical and sample points, so it is always worth talking this through when attending a call. In addition, for each day of Gas Safety Week, we have chosen seven top tips for heating engineers to best promote gas safety with their customers.”
1 – Ask Questions: Asking plenty of questions will give you a better idea of the current status of appliances in the home and also show the homeowner what they may need to flag for future visits. You could ask how the system has been performing, whether they have noticed any changes, or whether there has been work done on the house since the last visit.
2 – Have a look around: Visual clues can be one of the most crucial ways of identifying a gas safety related problem, like staining on walls or perished seals. This is not just around the boiler that’s being serviced, but also other appliances like cookers and gas fires, that could pose a risk through leakage or defect.
3 – Check the Gas Safe alerts: Make sure you check – and also encourage your customers to be aware of – the Safety Alerts on the Gas Safe website. Remember, as the Gas Safe professional on site, you will need to report on other gas appliances you have encountered that may be unsafe.
4 – Recommend setting up a service reminder: For safety, as well as warranty requirements, an annual service must be carried out, so ensure that customers set a reminder to book in. Alternatively, as part of Baxi Works, installers can set automatic and personalised service reminders for homeowners following an installation, so it is worth ensuring homeowners are aware of this option to promote future safety.
5 – Ensure there are CO monitors: In any room with a gas or solid fuel appliance, ensure homeowners have a carbon monoxide (CO) monitor in place to alert a possible leak, before it is too late.
6 – Check previous work: With new kitchens, bathrooms, and extensions, it is important to check that existing systems are still in correct working order. For example, check the flue outlet hasn’t been blocked and still complies with spacing regulations, and that the boiler can still cope if new radiators have been fitted. You should also explain that renovations and refurbishments of the home can change the load on the heating system, so it is always wise to get this checked if changes are made.
7 – Remind them to keep an eye on pressure: If the gauge on the boiler keeps showing a drop in pressure, it could be a sign of a leak somewhere in the system, so ask customers to give you a call if this happens so you can fix it.
Overall, regular communication is most important. Remind customers to get in contact with a professional Gas Safe registered plumbing and heating engineer if they are concerned about any of their gas appliances. It may be nothing to worry about, but it is always better to be gas safe than sorry.