Help & Advice
Take a look at AOS Homeowner plumbing and heating advice, we hope you'll find useful.
If you have any other questions regarding Plumbing or Central Heating controls our electricians or plumbers will be happy to discuss any problems with Thermostats, Valves, Pumps, Programmers etc with you, just give us a call on 0800 028 28 23
If your boiler has stopped working in freezing temperatures, then there is a good chance that your condensate pipe has frozen. Luckily, this isn't a big problem, and it can be easily resolved yourself without the need for an engineer. This email will provide you with all the information needed to help you defrost your condensate pipe.
If part of your condensate pipework is outside and does freeze during a prolonged period of very cold weather, you might hear a gurgling noise coming from the boiler and if your boiler has a digital display, you may see an error code too. There's no need to worry if your condensate pipe freezes. You can usually thaw it safely without the need for a call from an engineer.
Look for an outdoor pipe connected to your boiler
* it's usually white plastic connecting to an external drain.
If safe to do so, pour WARM water along the pipe
*Not boiling water.
Reset your boiler. All should be working normally*
*If the pipe is defrosted
Is your room thermostat turned up? It is common for this to be forgotten about, or to not realise that the room has reached the programmed temperature. For dial thermostats, these can be reset but turning the dial all the way up, then all the way down, then slowly turn it back up until you hear/feel a click, this should be the current temperature.
Is your heating or hot water set on a timer?
You may have a timer on your boiler or water tank, either set this to constant if this is what you need, or reset the times to suit your seasonal requirements.
Do you have a pre-pay meter?
Is there credit on the meter? it may need resetting if the credit amount falls below zero? You supplier should be able to assist you with this if this is the case.
The manual should have a list of these, the resolve is often very simple.
You can also often find very helpful information to fix basic faults online, most of your home appliances or working parts will have a Make, Model or reference number of some kind (if you don't already have the manual). Type this and the problem you are having into your search engine and you should find a whole array of tips and tricks.
Please note that we ONLY recommend that you follow instructions provided by the manufacturer of the item in question.
If you can smell gas you need to phone the National Gas Emergencies number immediately on 0800 111 999.
if your leak is uncontrollable, for example water pouring through your ceiling, then you need to turn off your water immediately to prevent damage to the property.
You can do this by turning the stopcock which is often under the kitchen sink, but yours might be elsewhere in your home. It's a good idea to find out where it is before you have an emergency.
this mostly likely means that your mains water supply has been stitched off.
you need to check with the supplier, this will usually be Thames Water or Affinity Water, both have pages on their websites to check for local issues:
Check if there are lights on in neighbouring properties, if their properties are also without electricity you know there is a power cut.
You can check the UK Power Networks website for local electrical issues here:https://www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/power-cut
If neighbours do have electricity then check your consumer unit, also known as the fuse box or the trip switches - has one of the switches tripped into the off position? if yes then clip switch back to the on position.
If one of the switches refuses to stay in the upright position and continues to trip, this usually means there is a problem somewhere in your home. Check if any light bulbs have blown and unplug appliances, (one could be faulty).
If you have a pre-payment meter, you may need to add credit.
first things first you need to prepare to release the air, you will need a radiator key. It's a small box spanner that fits in to the tiny release valve in your radiator. To locate the radiator release valve, check the top edge of the radiator. You'll normally find a small square pin. That is the release valve. Universal radiators or two connection radiators can also have a back vent on the rear of the panel, and not all vents are in line. Note: each panel of a double radiator has a back vent and both panels need to be vented.
As air is released, it can get a little messy as water can spray out of the radiator. Here some advice: Protect your paintwork and carpet by draping a cloth between the radiator and the wall, and on the carpet / floor beneath the radiator. Place a small bowl underneath the radiator to catch any water that might leak out, Hold a cloth in your hand below the valve to catch any water. Now that the preparations are done, here are the step by step instructions...
1 Place the radiator key into the release valve and carefully twist it anti- clockwise.
Note: Be careful not to unscrew the vent plug when bleeding; this can happen if the bleed screw is tight. Hold the vent plug back with an adjustable spanner if required.
2 Don't fully remove the bleed screw just un-tighten it - one or two turns in an anti-clockwise direction should suffice.
Note: If directional vent plugs are fitted, direct the bleed hole position to the floor for easy catchment of the water
3 The radiator will hiss as the air is slowly released.
4 Once all the air is released, after a few seconds, the hissing will be replaced by a gurgle and water will start to ooze or spray out.
5 Twist the key clockwise and close the valve.
6 When closing the vent in a clockwise direction, do not overtighten the bleed screw.
7 Repeat on all radiators in your household.
Aside from ensuring an on-demand supply of heat and hot water, keeping on top of boiler maintenance is important for a number of reasons:
1. Gas safety - Carbon Monoxide can kill
2. Recommended by Gas Safe Authority
3. Helps to reduce gas bills and maintain the efficiency of the boiler
4. Helps to prevent boiler breakdowns and nasty repair bills
5. Prolongs the life of the boiler
6. It is compulsory for most manufacture warranties
7. It is the law for landlords that gas appliances are checked
Check your warranty as most boiler manufactures will require you to have an annual boiler service to validate the warranty.
By power flushing a system that has residue build up, you will increase radiator and general hot water performance, which results in lower utility bills and increased peace of mind. Also by 'power flushing' your heating system, the sludge and built up residue will be removed via inline magnetic filtration, it will make your system work more efficiently.
1. If your radiators are cold at the bottom, they have have sludge build up, stopping hot water from accessing this area.
2. If your radiators are cold at the top, they may have a gas build up, which again stops hot water from accessing the area.
3. If your radiators care cold all over, sludge in the pipes may be restricting hot water access.
4. If your hot water has stopped flowing well, there may be sludge build up in the pipes.
5. If your boiler is cutting out, the pump may be blocked by sludge.
6. If strange noises are coming from your boiler, it may be an indicator of sludge related problems.
1. Try turning down your central heating thermostat by one degree. It could cut your heating bill by £55 per year.
2. If you have a programmer, set it so that the heating only comes on when needed. Switching off your boiler when no one's home is a great way of saving energy and money.
3. You can reduce the energy your boiler consumes by up to 40 per cent with an efficient room thermostat and thermostatic radiator valves. For more information on upgrading to an intelligent room thermostat contact us on 0800 028 28 23. Research from the Energy Saving Trust suggests that you could save as much as £350 per year by making the move from an old G-rated boiler to a new efficient A-rated boiler model.
4. Want to reduce your energy consumption by a third? If every household in the country installed a high-efficiency boiler, the energy saved would be enough to provide heating and power for almost two million homes! Click here to get an online estimate.
5. Use an appropriate draught excluder around doors, windows, letterboxes and keyholes. However, do not block or seal any air vents which ensure that the central heating boiler operates safely.
6. Lower the hot water temperature. Your thermostat needn't be higher than 60 degrees centigrade (140 degrees Fahrenheit). Any higher and you will only be mixing it with cold water to cool it back down for use.
7. Buy a new insulation jacket for your hot water tank - around £12. It should be 75mm or three inches thick and it can save you around £35 per year.
8. If you improve the energy efficiency of your home, perhaps by installing loft or cavity wall insulation, your house will heat up and cool down at a different rate. Insulation can help reduce up to 30% of heat loss through the roof of your property. To maximise savings try reducing the time your heating system is switched on.
9. Service your boiler regularly. Breakdowns are much less likely and you can ensure it's safer and more efficient, thus reducing your energy bills. Click here to view our boiler service plans
10. Take a shower! A daily bath can use about 13,000 litres more water per year than a five-minute shower. The average Brit could more than halve the climate impact of their ablutions simply by cutting out baths and making their showers shorter and cooler.
Here is a brief overview of laws with a view to rental. These are statutory legal requirements of which you should be aware. As a basic, these laws protect you and your tenant. It is imperative you adhere to these, as they are not too onerous, and will allow you to rent out with confidence.
1 Gas Safety
It is imperative that you have an annual inspection of gas supply and gas appliances. This must be carried out by a Registered Gas Engineer and failure to comply with these regulations may lead to prosecution and/or imprisonment with fines up to £25,000.
This is compulsory under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994 and it is the responsibility of you as Landlord to arrange for these checks to be carried out. Both the Landlord and the tenant should each have a written report on the condition of each appliance. You must as Landlord, keep records of the safety checks and issue a copy of them to new and existing tenants.
2 Electrical Safety
An electrical safety check must be commissioned prior to the commencement of a tenancy, and must be carried out by a competent person (a Part P qualified electrician in kitchens and bathrooms) to ensure that the electricity supply, and all appliances, are legal. This includes supplying instruction books where needed for safe use. Failure to comply with the Electrical Regulations may constitute a criminal offence under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 that carries a maximum penalty on summary conviction of a £5000 fine and/or six months imprisonment. This Legislation means that Landlords have a legal obligation and a duty of care to tenants to ensure that the electrical installation and the electrical equipment supplied is safe.
3. What should I as a landlord do?
As a minimum, have an annual electrical safety inspection (i.e. the Enhanced Electrical inspection or"E2"), which includes the electrical equipment.
4. Energy Performance Certificates
It is a legal requirement that any property marketed either for sale or to rent has an up-to-date Energy Performance Certificate and that this is made available to any prospective tenant. Energy Efficiency takes into account factors such as insulation, heating and hot water systems, ventilation and fuels used. When this comes to EPC's, the average Energy Efficiency Rating for a dwelling in England and Wales is band E (rating 46). With the green agenda now being high on any Governments requirements, the energy efficiency of a building will be paramount in future proofing the building. By fitting items such as high efficiency boilers or air source heat pumps (to passively heat the dwelling), you could make significant savings.
5. It is essential for energy efficiency that you:
• Insulate your loft, but allow ventilation to circulate around it.
• Insulate your hot water cylinder and all pipes.
• If renewing, fit a new, highly efficient boiler.
• Install cavity wall insulation.
• Install high quality double glazing.
• Consider fitting a water metre (if not built with one in place). There have been moves by successive Governments to help fund this in the form of grants, to homeowners.
All AOS Heating engineers are Gas Safe registered and are therefore authorised to carry out any gas-related repairs, servicing and new installations in rental properties.