Category Archives: Advice

What is a High Integrity Consumer Unit and When Should It Be Used?

Often hidden away from view, the consumer unit is the central hub of the home’s electrical network from where all circuits are connected to the main supply and isolated when required.

Protecting circuits, appliances and crucially the occupants, it is in many ways, the single most important electrical device in the home.

Yet it’s only on those rare occasions when rewiring our homes that we give any thought to this box of wires and devices that allows us to live our comfortable modern lives.

Every home, just like the people living within, is different. There are consequently vast differences in the way that electricity is consumed and thus distributed throughout the dwelling.

However, since the rules that govern how circuits are protected in the UK are quite precise there are surprisingly few types of consumer unit. In fact, (ignoring size, enclosure type and manufacturer) there are only four:

1. ‘Main Switch’
2. ‘Dual RCD’ (also known as ‘Split Load’)
3. ‘High Integrity’
4. ‘RCD Incomer’

These four types – in combination with the circuit protection devices they house – MCBs, RCBOs and RCDs – allow for infinite configurations and circuit design.

For much of the last decade, the Main Switch and Dual RCD boards have reigned but the relative newcomer – the High Integrity consumer unit is beginning to take over. Before we look at it in detail, let’s first remind ourselves of the context in which it was born.


In seeking to improve safety, the 17th Edition Wiring Regulations, released in January 2008, introduced one of the most significant pieces of legislation determining how circuits are protected. In essence it stipulates that all circuits must be protected against earth leakage.

Earth Leakage describes the fault situation in which electricity leaks or is lost from a circuit. Electricity, like water, seeks the path of least resistance and if that pathway happens to be a human then they will receive an electric shock – which of course can be fatal.

It is also useful to remember what the protection devices are and what they do:

  1. MCB – Mini Circuit Breaker. Costing between £2 and £3. Protects cables from overload, thus preventing fire and protecting appliances. All circuits must be protected from overload…even prior to the 17th Edition.
  2. RCD – Residual Current Device – Costing between £20 and £40. Protects a group of circuits and bank of MCBs against earth leakage. When earth leakage is detected on one circuit, the RCD will cut power to all the circuits it is protecting… which may be very undesirable if afault with the garden lighting cuts power to your freezer or fire alarm.
  3. RCBO – Residual Current Breaker with Overload. Costing between £15 and £25. As the name suggests, a combination of both MCB and RCD, an RCBO protects against both overload and earth leakage.

A popular solution which answered the demands of the new 17the Edition Regulations was – and indeed still is – the ‘Dual RCD’ consumer unit. Housing two banks of MCBs protected by two RCDs, the dual RCD board is both inexpensive – so liked by the home owner – and easy to configure, so often chosen by the electrician.

The problem with dual RCD boards is that they offer virtually no circuit separation and to reiterate that which is stated above – When earth leakage is detected on one circuit, the RCD will cut power to all the circuits it is protecting, which could cause serious problems for the homeowner, depending on what circuits are under that RCD.

Dual RCD Board                                                       Main Switch Board

On the other hand one could employ a ‘Main Switch Board’, in which all circuits are protected against earth leakage independently by RCBOs. This offers total circuit separation, but since RCBOs are considerably more expensive than MCBs, this solution comes at a price.

The High Integrity Consumer Unit

A compromise was needed – a consumer unit which offered the best of both solutions at an affordable price and recognising this need the well-known British manufacturer, Wylex introduced the High Integrity Consumer Unit.

With three neutral bars the HI unit allows for two banks of RCD/MCB protected circuits and a further bank of individually protected RCBO circuits. Indeed, it may be thought of as a combination of a Dual RCD and Main Switch board.

The MCBs and RCDs are used for whatever the homeowner considers ‘standard’ circuits, for example lighting, sockets, oven and electric shower. If any of these circuits suffer earth leakage it doesn’t really matter that the RCD cuts power to all the circuits on that bank. This is a cost effective way of protecting multiple circuits from earth leakage simultaneously.

Meanwhile the RCBOs are used on circuits that are considered ‘mission critical’ and should be separated from all other circuits and potential nuisance tripping. It is important to note that what one person considers ‘standard’ and ‘mission critical’ can be very different from someone else.

The image shows an example lay out of a 10 way HI unit. (The colours are merely for illustrative purposes).

Here we can see two RCBO circuits protecting the smoke alarm and stairwell lighting circuits, and 8 MCB circuits, in two separate banks under each of the RCDs.

The more popular High Integrity consumer units tend to be larger, offering 20 to 34 ways. This is because larger properties have many more circuits and usually more varied uses of electricity.

These larger units are supplied in ‘Duplex Enclosures’ with two rows of circuits, such as the model pictured – the 26 way VML71214CU from Hager.

  1. Bottom Row
    1. 1.1.  Main Switch (red toggle)
    2. 1.2.  Next to this, 6 RCBOs, (with yellowlabels and blue fly leads)
    3. 1.3.  RCD 1
    4. 1.4.  6 x MCBs
  2. Top Row2.1. RCD 2
    2.2. 10 x MCBs
    2.3. 6 x Blanks for future circuits

Modern electricity requirements in the UK are becoming ever more demanding and varied, such as Jacuzzi baths, garden offices, home entertainment systems, tropical fish tanks, intelligent lighting systems, security and fire alarms, door entry systems etc etc.

For this reason HI units have grown rapidly in popularity, offering much greater flexibility over circuit design with the dual benefit of circuit separation and inexpensive earth leakage protection.

Information supplied by Consumer Unit World

What Does Health and Safety in Construction Look Like in 2018?

The construction sector represents 7% of the UK workforce, which equates to around 2.2 million people. As a result, the health and safety of those who work in the industry is paramount to ensuring construction sites – in terms of both large, commercial projects and smaller, residential briefs – operate in a time-efficient and secure way in order to benefit both clients and construction staff.

In today’s post, we’re delving deep into the history of health and safety within the construction industry, exploring the origins of hard hats and risk assessments and their importance in 2018.

Image source: Unsplash


The Industrial Revolution of the 19th century led to a high demand for construction workers to help create roads and railways across the UK. The extreme quantity of available work that was created because of this resulted in poor living conditions for those employed in long-term, large-scale projects – which often left workers weak, ill, and therefore more susceptible to serious harm and injury. This movement lasted well into the 20th century, when cranes, power tools and heavy equipment created hazardous working conditions for site workers.

In fact, it wasn’t until the 1970s that the government finally recognised the significance of implementing solid safety regulations for those working in the sector, at which point they issued the Health and Safety at Work Act in 1974. The implementation of this act encouraged others to ask questions about the safety of themselves and others in the workplace, and would ultimately lead to other mandatory regulations, such as the 2005 Work at Height Regulations.


Beginning in the latter half of the 20th century, poster advertisement campaigns began the process of raising awareness of the dangers behind work in the building and construction industry with the British public. The posters created by the British Safety Council (BSC) in the 1980s targeted the use of hard hats in the workplace as a new and essential practice on construction sites, alongside warning workers against using old, broken and unsafe tools. Finally, at the end of the decade, earmuffs and hard hats became frequently used pieces of protective equipment recognised by all site managers and operational personnel.

Protective workwear

It wasn’t until the 1990s that protective workwear became a solidified, mandatory requirement for workers in the building and construction industry. In 1993, the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations, otherwise known as PPE, came into effect, and made wearing protective clothing in and around the site a necessary health and safety provision in the industry.

Today, protective gear goes far beyond the obvious hats and reflective jackets. Offsite, outdoor construction can be tough in harsh weather conditions throughout the winter period. As a result, workers need to make sure they’re dressed appropriately – ready for a variety of weather dependent circumstances.

Long, protective sleeves are often worn to shield the skin from exposure to unpleasant, irritable materials – while durable, denim men’s jeansare worn as a safeguarding measure due to their thickness and resilience – making it harder for workers to sustain cuts and small injuries from work equipment.

 Image source: Unsplash

In 2018, before a potential construction project can begin, a full health and safety risk assessment is completed in order to evaluate all potential risks to those working on the site. Risk assessments have become a normalised, common practice since the 1990s, and are so well-integrated into today’s contemporary construction culture that, without the completion of thorough site evaluations, a site cannot be worked on.

We’ve come a long way since the dangerous working conditions of the 1800s and the high fatality rate of the early 20th century to ensure construction sites are a safe and productive environment for all workers – and in the years to come, we can’t wait to see what other health and safety innovations make their way into the sector’s standard practices.

Author bio: Luke Conod is Managing Director of Buy Jeans and its parent company Denim Nation, providing competitively priced men’s jeans and other high-quality clothing from leading international labels.

Why professional carpet cleaning?

Anyone that has attempted diy carpet cleaning in their home will know what a chore it can be and what disastrous problems can result! Even with the best intentions and enthusiastic Googling of the subject, carpets can easily be damaged and look worse than when you started, and you have probably spent money to achieve that! Carpet cleaning is a task that is best left to the professionals. Here are a few reasons why you should choose a professional local carpet cleaning service and avoid headaches and expense!

Professional equipment

Even if you decided to “do a proper job” and hired a machine from your local supermarket, you will have to part with money to cover the hire, deposit and cleaning fluid for the machine. The cleaning fluid is bought by the bottle and typical usage is a bottle per room, the price you pay soon adds up and you may not be saving as much money as you thought. These diy machines and products are bulky and typically well used and not regularly serviced. They are capable of reasonable results, but they are designed as a one size fits all approach to cleaning your carpets and do not adapt to suit the age, style, material and level of cleaning the carpet requires. These machines are underpowered when it comes to vacuum pressure, this means that your carpets will be over wet which can result in a variety of problems (more on this later).

Professional equipment cleans deep into the pile of the carpet, but the powerful vacuum removes the majority of the water immediately leaving the carpets dry in a fraction of the time and avoiding any damage from over wetting of the carpet. Most professionals will utilise a variety of machines, products and techniques to tailor make their service to the customers requirements and type of carpets.

Carpet material & construction

Carpets are constructed from a variety of different natural (eg. wool, cotton, sisal) and synthetic materials (eg. nylon & polypropylene) using different techniques (eg. tufted, woven, looped). Each carpet can react in a variety of ways to the cleaning process sometimes causing irreparable damage. Professionals are trained to identify different materials and methods used to produce carpets and how to clean correctly in order to get the best results without any risk of damage.

Stain removal

When accidents happen in the home, most householders will reach to whatever cleaning product they have in the cupboard without much thought and scrub the carpet to an inch of its life. Carpets generally should never be scrubbed in this fashion as it damages the pile noticeably and can not be repaired. Whatever product you use is then left in the carpet indefinately until it is extracted using a carpet cleaning machine. Professional carpet cleaners will use a product suitable for the type of carpet and the source of the stain before thoroughly rinsing the carpet. Using a professional to remove stains avoids the stress and will keep your carpets looking better for longer, saving you money in the long run.

Over wetting the carpet

Using too much water on a carpet can cause expansion and then shrinking as the carpet dries. This can leave the carpet sagging in places and out of shape which cannot be repaired. Older carpet and rugs from certain part of the world have a natural plant based backing, this backing when wet can cause the whole carpet go brown from a process called “cellulosic browning” where the colour of the plant material wicks onto the rest of carpet fibres making them go brown! Wet carpets take longer to dry leaving the room unusable and smelling bad.

Professional equipment and techniques minimise the moisture in the carpet, removing the water with powerful vacuums before it has a chance to do any expensive damage to your carpets.

Premier Carpet Cleaning is a professional carpet cleaning company based in the Stevenage area of Hertfordshire. They provide carpet & upholstery cleaning to both domestic and commercial customers. Please visit them on Checkatrade for free quotations & advice on the cleaning of your carpets & upholstery.

6 Reasons to Get Your Boiler Serviced Annually

Boilers are an essential part of every household. Providing hot water and heating, whenever you need it. There are many reasons as to why you should get your boiler serviced regularly. The energy that you use from your boiler represents over half of your energy bills and so it is essential for you to make sure that your boiler is maintained and that it is working as efficiently as possible. There are 6 main reasons why you should get your boiler serviced, these include:

  • Preventing Potential Problems
  • Ensure Efficiency
  • Cheaper Than Replacement Boiler
  • Save on Energy Bills
  • Guarantee Safety
  • Law for Landlords

Preventing Problems

When your boiler gets serviced, the engineers will make sure that all the required measures and regulations are up to standard to ensure that your boiler is running as safely and efficiently as possible. There are many problems that can occur within a boiler and so it is vital that you tend to any problems as soon as possible to prevent your boiler getting damaged to the point of no repair. The most common problems that are found within boilers, include:

  • Broken thermostats
  • Pressure problems
  • Valve issues
  • Problems with ignition
  • Motor failure
  • Leaking pipes

Servicing your boiler will help to source these potential problems before the state of these problems get worse. Getting your boiler serviced will save you money from the costly repairs or spending more money on a replacement boiler.

Ensure Efficiency

When a boiler isn’t working to its full capacity, it can have a huge impact on your energy bills. Regular boiler servicing can check to see if your boiler is working as efficiently as possible. An engineer will inspect all the different components within your boiler and advise on any of any ways to increase efficiency and consequently cut down your energy bills.

Being energy efficient is important for both the environment and economy. The more efficient you are, the less it costs to operate. It also reduces carbon footprint, meaning that fewer greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere.

Many old boilers aren’t very efficient and you may want to look into getting a new boiler, to save energy and money.

Guarantee Safety

Without realising you may be releasing carbon monoxide into your home, due to incorrectly installed or badly maintained boilers. To prevent any ill-health or even fatalities, it is crucial that you get your boiler serviced regularly, so that fully qualified engineers can assess the situation and find any mishaps within the assembly of your boiler.

If you do not have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted in your home, then you may be unaware of the risks that you are applying to your health. The usual symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are; headaches, nausea, breathlessness, collapsing and losing consciousness. As these symptoms are similar to common illnesses, many people overlook them and don’t understand the real harm that is being caused within their body.

Replacement Boilers

Regular boiler servicing can make sure that your boiler is working as it should be. Without these checks ups, it means that there could be problems are that progressively getting worse. Sometimes, these problems may get past the point where they can be repaired and so you will have to look into getting your boiler replaced.

The approximate cost for a new boiler and the installation can cost from £1-2k. Having regular servicing can save you a lot of money as it can find possible problems before they occur.

Save on Energy Bills

If your boiler isn’t running as efficiently as possible then you could be wasted a lot of money. When your boiler isn’t working to its full capability then it could use more energy for it to function, as it is it working harder than it needs to. The more efficient your boiler is, the more money you save.

Getting your boiler serviced by professionals can ensure that your boiler is working to the best of its competence. Inspecting the boiler, checking against the necessary measures and regulations, makes sure that the boiler has no problems and that it is working as safely and efficiently problems. When there are any problems then engineers will advise on what needs to be done to make the boiler work better.

Law for Landlords

Legally, it is required for landlords to get their boilers serviced at their properties, as part of the Gas Safety Checks. Landlords are responsible for the safety of their tenants and making sure that their properties are as safe as possible.

Overall, there are many benefits as to why you should get your boiler serviced; whether it be to save money, prevent any health problems or create less problems for the environment. Make sure you get your boiler serviced as soon as possible, if you haven’t already done so.

Content provided by Heat-Tec 2000 Ltd.

Why Underfloor Heating is Better Than Radiators

When it comes to heating systems, many people stick to the conventional radiators over other forms of heating, for their homes. This could be due to lack of knowledge on other heating systems, or not wanting to spend money and keeping to what they already have.

Since the 1980s, the radiator has been the standard method of heating within homes all around the UK.  Aside from this, there have been more efficient ways of warming up the rooms in your home. The most efficient and most comfortable method of radiating heat is underfloor heating.

Underfloor Heating Vs. Radiators

There are many benefits to choosing underfloor heating, over a radiator system. These reasons include:

  • Heat Distribution
  • Comfort and Energy Efficiency
  • Cost Efficiency
  • Aesthetics

Heat Distribution

Underfloor heating emits heat to a room through the process of radiant heating. Radiant heating is the effect of which you can feel warmth from a particular component which is emitting infrared radiation. A big example of radiant heating is the warmth that you feel from the sun.

Radiators, on the other hand, heat air through convection. Convection is the process of heating the air and then transferring the heat throughout a space to warm up the environment. The heat from radiators rise, and then drop back down as they cool, to then be heated again.

With radiators being located on one wall, it generally takes longer for a whole room to heat up.  Because of this factor, it means that there will be cold spots and hot spots in a room and so the heat is never distributed evenly. Whereas with underfloor heating the warmth is distributed evenly under the room.

Comfort and Energy Efficiency

Underfloor heating can emit heat directly in your home and maintains the state of relative humidity that is naturally occurring in its environment. Alternatively, radiators reduce the humidity of the room which can make the room feel stuffy.

Many homes in the UK suffer with low humidity, especially during the winter-time. The problem with low humidity is that it can cause ‘dry air’, which results in a slightly suffocating atmosphere. It also can cause cracked, taught or itchy skin, as well as irritated eyes and nasal passages. It can also cause nosebleeds and increase static electricity. Low humidity can also make it easier for bacteria and viruses to be spread.

Underfloor heating distributes the heat in a room and so the temperature is generally the same throughout the room. As well as this, the heat doesn’t differ much depending on how high or low you are in a room. Radiators take a while to heat up and convection usually requires circulation of air, which means that some form of ventilation will occur. Opening windows usually allows this ventilation, although it means that a lot of energy is lost out in the environment.

Cost Efficiency

Radiators are susceptible to overheating and so to cool them down you will need to open windows and doors which will mean that you will waste all the energy that you have used to generate the warmth in your house. Radiators also cause cold and hot spots because of their poor heat distribution. Because of this, people tend to turn up their heating so that the heat can reach to the other side of the room. This consequently makes one side too hot in the process and used more energy than needed.

Increasing your heating by just 1% can actually increase your monthly energy bills by 8%. Without realising, your bills will increase everyday and you will be wasting your money and energy.


Aesthetically, there are many benefits to having underfloor heating. As the heating system is under the floor, it means that it doesn’t take up any floor or wall space. Radiators are very bulky and take up a lot of wall space. They can get rather annoying when needing to decorate your home, as they get in the way of your skirting board and when painting behind the radiator. They are also very plain and not a very aesthetically pleasing. When furnishing your house, radiators can also take up space where you could potentially put furniture. This causes restrictions and your furniture could also act as a barrier, preventing the heat from being transferred into other areas of your rooms.

There are many benefits with underfloor heating and so it should be a top thought for consideration when it comes to deciding on what heating methods you should go for in your property. There are more benefits than losses and can be installed easily within any property. Why not delve deeper into the world of central heating and look at different forms of heat emitters, other than radiators.

Content provided by SPM Plumbing and Heating.

5 Reasons to Consider a New Bathroom Installation

Home renovations in general, take a lot of time, money and patience – even more so when its an important room in the house such as the bathroom. Your bathroom should be a place of serenity and relaxation, it should be a place where you want to go after all its more than likely the first room you visit on a morning and the last place you visit on a night.

If your bathroom fills you with dread and makes you want to be in and out as quickly as possible then it could be time for a remodel.

We’ve gathered our top five signs in which you should be on the lookout for, suggesting you should think about getting a new bathroom installed.

Worn Out?

Along with the kitchen the bathroom is one of the most used rooms in the house, it goes without saying your bathroom will be in need of some TLC. There does come a point where something has to be done, for example if your tile grout is flaking or mould and moisture damage is occurring it may be time to give your bathroom a refresh, along with these not making your bathroom look appealing there could be potential health hazards, making it important to get it sorted.

Fancy a Change?

One of the most popular reasons people visit Solutions plumbing and heating for remodelling a bathroom is due to a change in circumstances within the family. Young families with children tend to rework their bathrooms to accommodate the newer additions to their family, adding more storage space and usually a larger bath if they don’t already have one. Along with new families, a new bathroom maybe beneficial to an elderly homeowner with reduced mobility who may find it difficult to get in and out of the bath, they might benefit more from a walk-in bath or shower.

Is It Functional?

Although the aesthetics of your bathroom are important, functionality must always come first. These sorts of issues usually arise from the decisions of the previous owner, however your thoughts and circumstances maybe completely different to the previous owners. Instead of putting up with them why not do something about them? You would be surprised at some of the dysfunctional bathrooms that are out there, especially in smaller homes.

In Style?

If your bathroom hasn’t been touched for a few years, it may just need a bit of a facelift. Styles and tastes can change at a rapid rate, sometimes a room can benefit from a little revamp. You don’t have to stand for that bright flowery wallpaper the previous owners left you with, its time to make your own mark on the room. Small changes such as little fixtures, the wallpaper or even the shower curtain can make a huge difference to your bathroom.

Is the Lighting Right?

When getting ready in the morning the last thing you want is poor lighting to make things even more difficult. The lighting in a bathroom is crucial, it can be as simple as adding a couple of new fixtures or as extravagant as installing a sky light. Your bathroom should always be a bright and well-lit space, but should be dimmable allowing you to create different moods depending on the time of day and who is using the bathroom, after all your bathroom should be a relaxing place where you can unwind after a long stressful day.

I Need a New Bathroom, What Next?

If you’ve read through our top 5 considerations on a new bathroom installation, and agreed to one or more of our reasons why, it could be time to reconsider your bathroom layout. At Solutions Plumbing and Heating we give you the freedom you are looking for. We will work closely with you to ensure the finished product is everything you expected and more.

Will a New Bathroom Installation Be Expensive?

At Solutions Plumbing and Heating, we price every project based on the amount of work involved. By visiting your property and seeing first hand what you need doing, we will be able to provide you with a more accurate quote. We always recommend one of our team members to come and visit your home to assess the amount of work needing to be done, however quotes can be given through email or over the phone if we receive the layout and measurements it also helps if we have photos and if possible images of the facilities you’d like us to install.

How Long Do Bathroom Installations Take

Each bathroom installation varies on the amount of work involved, an installation can take anywhere between a couple of weeks or a few days depending on what needs to be done to complete the project. You might then be asking yourself if a new bathroom installation will cause disruptions in your home? Here at Solutions Plumbing and Heating we will try and disrupt as little as possible when installing your new bathroom, our service includes fitting dust sheets to protect your home, we are professional technicians who offer a top-quality service, we will respect your property and remove any old bathroom equipment to leave your new bathroom looking clean and brand new.

Why Choose Solutions Heating and Plumbing?

Our friendly and professional team offer a caring service that stands out, we believe that the entire project is focused on your vision of a bathroom that you will cherish. Solutions Heating and Plumbing have over 20 years’ experience, we understand what it takes to provide a bathroom installation service in which you are completely happy with.

We believe we should be your first choice when considering a new bathroom installation, here’s a few reasons why;

  • Care and attention with each installation
  • Excellent customer service
  • Reliable installations, repairs and maintenance
  • Comprehensive plumbing services
  • Experience from installing a range of bathrooms and bathroom furnishings

If you believe that your bathroom is in need of a bit of a makeover, please feel free to get in touch with us here at Solutions Plumbing and Heating let us help you turn your bathroom into a special sanctuary which you actually look forward to winding down in. Give one of our friendly team members a call today on 07825 268097.

How do you know when the right time is to get a new boiler?

Did you know, your boiler is one of the most intensively used household appliances? But unless your heating suddenly stops working or your water doesn’t warm up, faults can go unnoticed.

We have become so accustomed to being warm that when our boilers breakdown it feels like a complete disaster, its known fact that boilers don’t last forever, so if you are finding that your boilers becoming slightly unpredictable it could be time to ask yourself; ‘Do I need a new boiler?’

The more reliable you new boiler, the less money you will need to spend on expensive repairs, we’ve gathered together some signs that are telling you your boiler is on its way out!

Signs Your Boiler Needs Replacing

Strange Noises – Just like anything with time, parts can wear away, although these can be replaced it can be more cost effective to buy a brand-new boiler. If your boiler is making any popping or hissing sounds when its on you need to get it investigated by an engineer Alistair Thorpe Plumbing offer a fast, efficient and reliable boiler servicing in Cupar.

Regular Repairs – You should annually service your boiler by an approved plumber, servicing your boiler is essential to ensure the smooth running and prevention of breakdowns and issues. Alistair Thorpe plumbing and heating services will send out a qualified Gas Safety Engineer who are more than qualified and experienced enough to provide you with the highest standard of boiler servicing. However if your boiler is in a constant state of repair, it may be time to think about replacing it.

It’s Old – If your boiler is over 10 years old it might be worth replacing it. Even if it functions fine, the older it gets the more likely it is to breakdown, it is more than likely less efficient than a new boiler. So although getting a new one might seem like an expensive option it can save you money in the long run.

It leaks – It goes without saying any leak should be investigated immediately, not only because of water damage, but also because it can develop into a carbon monoxide leak, which can be highly dangerous.

The Water Temperature Fluctuates – If your hot water takes a while to heat up or runs hot and cold when running, then you probably need to replace your boiler if repairs don’t improve the situation.

Your Boiler is Giving Off a Bad Smell – A healthy boiler will never emit any odour, if it does it needs to be investigated by a professional right away. Any faint smell could indicate a carbon monoxide leak, Although carbon monoxide itself is odourless, a smell could be created because the leak is causing the boiler to not burn properly.

Your Energy Bills are Increasing – If your energy bills are increasing faster than normal, it could be down to an insufficient boiler. The older a heating system gets the more it can cost to run.

What Types of Boilers are There?

There are many makes and models of boilers, however there are three main types of gas condensing boilers to choose from:


A combination boiler, commonly known as a combi boiler, heats water as and when you need it which in turn eliminates the need for a storage tank. This is more suited to a smaller home, with only one bathroom.

A heat only boiler, this can also be known as a conventional boiler, meaning you will have a hot water tank or cylinder where hot water can be stored for later use. This type of boiler is well suited to a larger home where more than two people are living there.

A system boiler, just like a heat only boiler, but more components are built in. This then makes system boilers easier to install then conventional ones, and as an added bonus they take up less space.

Our Gas Safety registered engineers at Alistair Thorpe Heating and Plumbing services will be happy to advise you on which boiler is suited for you and your home.

Do I Need a Specific Size Boiler?

  • When choosing the best size boiler for your home you should take into consideration:
  • The heating and hot water capabilities of the boiler
  • The physical size of your boiler and whether it will fit in the space you have it destined for

The correct heating size of the boiler will be something completely unique to you and your home, for example how many bathrooms does your home have? How many people live in your home? This is something one of our qualified engineers will be able to discuss and recommend the correct size boiler for your home.

Boiler Installation

Before boiler installations happens you need to find a Gas Safe registered installer. Alistair Thorpe Heating & Plumbing have a talented team of experienced and qualified Gas Safe registered engineers that can help with your plumbing and heating needs.

One of our dedicated team members will come and survey your home, whilst advising you on the costs and other factors surrounding the installation. Your engineer will check your entire heating system and asses what factors need repairing or replacing.

If the boiler installation is straightforward, and you’re having a combination boiler fitted, then the fitting should take a day, the engineer will then remove your existing boiler and fit the new one, as well as replace any other components of the heating system as outlined in the quote for the job.

Why Choose Alistair Thorpe Heating and Plumbing?

At Alistair Thorpe Heating and Plumbing, out experienced plumbers and heating engineers are fully qualified and provide a professional and efficient service for domestic jobs or individuals, landlords and property agents in the Cupar and North East Fife Area. Our Gas Safe registered team of plumbers and heating engineers are dedicated to providing the highest quality of workmanship. Contact one of our friendly team members today to find out how Alistair Thorpe Heating and Plumbing can help you today.

7 Top Reasons to Change your Locks at Home

Getting the locks of your house changed might seem like a chore (or even something you “can’t afford right now”), but there are some scenarios where changing the locks of your home should be a no brainer.

Less urgent scenarios (like when your locks become old or worn out) usually make good sense. However more serious situations (such as losing a set of keys) can cause a clouded mind; especially in the midst of the understandable frustration often caused by the loss of any personal belongings. When this happens, it might not occur to you that the best thing you can do is change your locks.

Why should you change your locks at home?

There are many reasons why you should change your locks at home and we have provided you with 7 of the main reasons why we think you should have your locks changed, below.

  1. If you’ve lost your keys

Whether you’re running late for work or simply heading out to do your weekly shop, there is never a good time to lose your keys. A huge inconvenience in itself, the losing or misplacement of your keys can cause extreme frustration, not to mention the fact you can’t set about doing whatever it is you had planned to do.

If you have lost your keys, then it’s a wise idea to call a local locksmith to change your locks for you. On the off chance that someone finds them and knows where you lives, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that someone stole them and fully intends to enter your home whilst you aren’t there and rob you of all your valuable possessions. Playing it safe and having your locks changed might set you back a few quid, but losing a set of keys and taking the risk to not have them changed could end up being extremely costly indeed.

  1. If you’re moving into a new home

It’s an intelligent move to have the locks changed when you move into any new property. If you fail to do this, you run the risk of potential burglaries by anyone that may have had a set of keys before you, such as the previous residents of your house.

It might also be possible that there are more sets of keys to your property out there than you don’t know about. Chances are that the locks weren’t changed the last time someone moved in, meaning there may have been several residents in the property before you with multiple sets of keys still out there. This might mean that a previous resident still has a set of keys and is waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike.

Changing the locks when you move into any new property will keep you in full control of who has keys and who can get in and out of your home.

  1. If you’ve recently experienced an burglary or attempted break-in

This may seem fairly obvious, but you’d be surprised of the amount of people that don’t think to change their locks after experiencing a burglary or even an attempted burglary. Changing your locks after a burglary is fairly obvious, but don’t neglect to change them when someone has attempted to get into your property for whatever reason.

With an attempted break-in, it’s pretty clear that somebody wants to be in your house. If you neglect to change your locks, it might be that they can simply walk right in with a key that they acquired during their last attempt.

Don’t take any risks. Get your locks changed if you think that someone might want to, has tried to, or has even succeeded in breaking into your home.

  1. If you’re having trouble with an EX partner or EX housemate

It might not spring to might at first, but disputes with someone you used to be close with can spiral out of control. Ex partners are notorious for letting themselves into their previous address and wrecking the home of the person they used to be with.

Chances are, someone you have lived with will still have a set of keys (even if you got the key back off them before they left). Their mum (or other close relative) will likely have a spare key for “just in case”, providing your ex-partner or housemate with the perfect opportunity to break-in to wreck the place or even take what they believe to be rightfully theirs.

  1. If you’ve ever lent someone your key

If you’ve ever let the plumber, electrician or handyman use the key to your home while you nip out or go to work, you don’t always know whether they made a spare set for themselves or not. It’s extremely rare, considering most people will use a trusted source for this type of labour (and especially when giving them free reign of the house while you leave and come back), but is it worth taking the risk?

The key you lent out might even have “gone missing” or “got lost”. When this happens, alarm bells should ring LOUDLY in your head. That key may never have gone missing at all and may have been kept for the perfect opportunity to break into your home and cause mischief.

  1. If your locks have become old or worn out

It’s not all doom and gloom. It’s quite alright for your locks to just get old. When this happens, when your locks start to stick or become faulty, it’s time to get them changed. A lot of locks can be repaired; however, most repairs are just temporary solutions for a worn lock that will eventually need changing further down the line.

  1. If you haven’t changed them in years

Your locks might not have been changed in a very long time, even before you moved into your home, so how old they are might be a mystery. It’s a wise idea to change your locks if they are old or worn out, and replace them with new, more robust locks with tighter security. This will provide you with peace of mind that your locks will continue working for many more years to come and that your house will remain secure during this time.

To Conclude

Depending on the situation, you should consider calling an emergency or local locksmith to change your locks for you.

Lock Solutions is one of the leading choices for locksmiths in Reading, covering Berkshire and the Thames Valley area. When your locks need changing, you can count on them to provide you with new locks that will help you sleep safe in your bed at night.

Blog created and prepared by member

How to tell if your gas engineer is working legally

Did you know that gas engineers are the only tradespeople where it is compulsory for them to be part of a registration body in order to carry out work legally? If not, you’re not alone…

Research carried out by Gas Safe Register found that more than half (52%) of those surveyed admit that they have let a tradesperson into their home without checking if they are qualified.

The research also identified the factors that make people trust a tradesperson, which are:

  • Personal presentation (44%)
  • How official they look (43%)
  • Body language (25%)
  • Personality (22%)
  • A friendly face (18%)

Trusting gas engineers without checking they are on the Gas Safe Register could leave you and your family at risk from illegal gas work and dangerous appliances. Unsafe gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Don’t cut corners with gas.

How to ensure you are using a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer

  1. Only employ a suitably qualified Gas Safe registered engineer when having gas work carried out in your home. Gas Safe Register is the official register for legally qualified engineers. You can find a registered engineer in your area by visiting the Gas Safe Register website at by calling on0800 408 5500.
  2. Always ask to see your engineer’s Gas Safe ID card. Make sure you check the back of the card, which will state which gas appliances they are qualified to work on.
  1. If you suspect that someone is an illegal fitter or are worried about gas work carried out in your home, please contact Gas Safe Register.


Follow Gas Safe Register’s top tips to keep you and your family gas safe: 

  • Know the symptoms of CO poisoning; headaches, nausea, breathlessness, collapse, dizziness and loss of consciousness.
  • If you smell gas or think there might be a gas leak, call the free 24-hour national gas emergency number immediately on 0800 111 999.
  • Never attempt to work on a gas appliance yourself, always seek the help of a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer who can work on your gas cooker, boiler or fire in a safe way.
  • Be aware of the signs of unsafe gas appliances; if the flames on the gas hob are yellow or orange and lazy, rather than being a crisp blue flame; dark staining on/around appliances; pilot lights that frequently blow out; increased condensation inside windows.