Why do I need Central Heating Services?
No home today is complete without the modern conveniences that we have all become accustomed to. A shower with hot water and central heating in all rooms no longer appears to be a luxury, but rather has become the norm. So who exactly are the people that supply and maintain these necessities of our homes? Central heating services are the people who supply, fit and maintain all our warming needs. Yet they come in so many different disguises it can often be difficult to identify who you need.
What do Central Heating Services do?
Central heating services are needed throughout your central heating use. From installation to maintenance, help from professions is a necessary requirement. Legally no work on a system using gas or oil can be carried out yourself. Most service providers will specialize in a wide range of areas, and will be able to answer all your requirements. Small companies, however, may specialize in areas such as fitting, services or repairs. If you are not sure what your system needs, it may be advisable to approach a larger company who may have a wider area of expertise.
Which type of service do I need?
Central heating systems are usually supplied by gas but if you live in an area that has poor gas supplies then an alternative, for example oil, can be used. Which one your house uses is the first thing that needs to be established before you approach any Central Heating Services. It is very important that you use a service provider who specializes in the system that you are using.
What must I look out for/how can I find a supplier?
If you are using gas then the key word you need to look out for is CORGI. This is the Council for Registered Gas Installers, and no installer is legally allowed to work unless they are registered with this company. All of CORGIs members adhere to the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations, and thus are able to provide advice about your duties as a gas user. They have to undergo the minimum training required and have regular competence tests to check that they are up to standard. These installers will make sure that you adhere to the correct gas safety and building regulations outlined when they fit or repair your system. They will also provide you with the appropriate documents that you might need to supply if you decide to sell your house. A recently added regulation means that you will be given a CORGI safety certificate once your system has been fitted. These CORGI installers will also provide any maintenance or servicing that needs to be done to your system. All CORGI members have a registration number and identification card which you should check. To find a registered CORGI installer go to www.corgi-gas-safety.com.
Other specialist services are rare but are still available. If using oil then you must ensure that they company that you use are recognized by OFTEC (Oil Firing Technical Association). Technicians who are registered by OFTEC recognize and adhere to government standards and have the necessary insurance. This is vital to provide you with a safety net should anything go wrong. To find a registered technician in your area go to www.OFTEC.co.uk.
Another form of energy supply to your system is solar energy. Although this is more expensive to install, this starts at around 1,200, once it is set up it is free and has no environmental impact. It can be installed independently, although this obviously offers safety risks. Advice and instructions for installing your own solar power system are easy to find on the Internet. There are not that many solar installers around at the moment but a good place to look for a supplier in your area is through the Energy Savings Trust (EST) website.
What do I do?
Firstly you need to get the numbers of service providers in your region. Sometimes the best way to do this is to ask friends if they use a provider they would recommend. Otherwise the CORGI, OFTEC and EST websites above are a good place to start. When you are in contact with a service provider, ask them for previous references so that you can ensure that other customers have been satisfied with their work. When you call be sure to know the type of work that you need to be carried out to ensure that the provider will be able to perform it for you.
How much should I pay?
Make sure that you phone several companies to get quotes off each as you may find that the price of the work may vary greatly between each company. The amount that you pay will depend on the size of the job, what energy your system is being provided with and the type of system that you have. When you initially speak to companies make sure they are CORGI or OFTEC registered. Invite a few contractors to come to your house to provide a quote that includes all aspects of the job, for example labour, parts etc. Make sure that you keep all this documented to avoid any dispute as to what was initially agreed at a later date. When installers come to give you your quote, check their CORGI or OFTEC registration number and identification card.
After works have been completed do not pay the contractors upfront but rather issue them with an invoice, again making sure that everything is documented.
What should I ask a service provider?
- Are you registered with CORGI/OFTEC?
- What is your registration number?
- Are you able to work on (your type of system)?
- How long will the works take?
- Will you come to my house and provide me with a written quote?