Telltale Signs Of A Leaky Pipe

Whilst most issues serious enough to require the assistance of a plumber are often quite easy to detect, some that are not can cause a lot of long-term damage.

A clogged drain or overflowing toilet is easy to spot and the next step is to get in touch with a professional, but a leaky pipe might not become noticeable for a while, by which point it has caused some significant damage to your property.

The earlier a leak is spotted the better, and with that in mind, watch for some of these telltale signs of a leak in your property.

Damp, Mildew Or Mould 

Whilst not entirely an uncommon sight during particularly rainy months, damp, mildew or mould can sometimes be caused by a leaky pipe.

Check for the distinct unpleasant smell and discoloured stains on the walls and ceilings of your home, particularly if they seem to be developing quickly.

Brown Stains

Whilst we associate leaks with flowing water, often a small leak will dribble and accumulate over a long time, absorbed by the walls or the ceilings, so if you notice distinct brown stains or other noticeable discolouration, it could be a sign of a leak upstairs or in the wall.

Huge Water Bills

A lot of the time, water leaks are harmless in the sense that the wasted water is spilling nowhere near the property. However, where it can hurt and hurt badly is in your water bills.

If you notice a massive spike in your expenses, take a careful look at your water usage. Whilst it could be an administrative error, it is also just as likely to be a leak that you have not noticed yet.

Reduced Water Pressure

If you turn on the taps or the shower and notice that the water is not flowing as fast or as powerfully as you expect, that is typically a sign of a leak, unless there has been a reported issue with your water supply.

Top Advice On What To Do If Your Radiator Starts Leaking

There’s nothing worse than coming home on a cold day to find the central heating hasn’t kicked into gear and the house is as chilly as it is outside. There are many reasons why your heating might not be working, including leaking radiators.

It is quite common for radiators to leak, but it is important to take steps to stop the leak as quickly as you can, not only to keep yourself and your home warm but to prevent further damage being caused to your radiator.

The best thing to do is to find out where it is leaking from. The leak will typically originate at the valve or at the pipe connections, so check these areas carefully.

To ascertain where the leak has started, use a kitchen roll to wipe over the different areas and see when it comes out dry or wet.

Another sign there is a leak is if there is a gurgling noise coming from the radiator or a hissing sound from the pipes or valves.

The next step is to turn the radiator off and wait around 30 minutes so it can fully cool down.

When it feels cold, you can try to drain the radiator yourself or you could call out an emergency plumber to look at the problem for you.

If you choose to do it yourself, close the thermostatic and lockshield valves and place a bucket underneath the system.

Take the thermostatic radiator valve nut off and the water should start bleeding out of the radiator.

The next step is fixing the leak, which can be done with plumber’s tape over the hole, replacing the radiator valve, or pouring a solution in the central heating system.

If these don’t work, it could be a more serious problem, such as your pipes or the radiator itself having started to corrode. In this case, you need expert assistance or may have to replace the radiator.

Will The Clean Heat Market Mechanism Affect Boiler Prices?

The types of heating systems that people will install into new and existing homes may start to change beginning with this year.

In April 2024, the first step of the government’s Clean Heat Market Mechanism (CHMM) scheme is set to launch, which is a complex policy of interlocking clean heat and clean energy targets that heating manufacturers need to follow to avoid potential fines.

The specific details are somewhat complex, but the primary aim of the scheme is to encourage the installation of heat pumps alongside green energy grants to help reduce the prices of installation and implementation of a heating system that is still relatively new in the UK.

How the system is set to work is that each manufacturer will earn credits for the number of heat pumps that are installed, and need to reach a target tailored to the size of their company or face fines for doing so.

There are some caveats, like how any company with a surplus of credits can sell them to other manufacturers to make sure they meet their targets, but several of them have responded to the scheme by raising the prices of their boilers, in some cases by as much as ten per cent.

This has a consequential effect on the price of boiler quotes and the stated reason, as well as the reason why CHMM is characterised as a levy or a tax is because the claimed demand for heat pumps in the UK is too low to meet the proposed targets.

It is deeply unfortunate that the clean heat scheme’s costs are potentially going to be passed directly onto consumers, and could lead to some people deciding to wait and see with their boiler or opt for a less efficient boiler with higher long-term costs, particularly with regard to maintenance and further replacement.

Exactly how the scheme will work in the long term remains to be seen, but this is an unfortunate short-term consequence.

What Factors Go Into The Price Of A New Boiler’s Quote?

During a bitter winter cold snap is often the time when people use their boilers the most, and often when they start contemplating starting the new year with a new unit.

The first step they will take is to contact local suppliers and get a quote on what price they would be expected to pay to replace their older unit with something new and more efficient. 

Getting a boiler quote can be interesting and the results can vary because whilst the largest part of the quoted price will be the boiler unit itself, there are a lot of other factors that can affect the price, and it is worth investigating why certain quotes you receive are more expensive than others.

One of these is the fuel type itself, although this often affects the price because it affects the types of boiler that can be installed, as well as the complexity of installation.

For example, biomass boilers will tend to be more expensive than gas, combi or electric boilers, which are far more common and have more engineers experienced in the process of removing, swapping and installing a brand new boiler.

Another aspect of this expense can come from the difficulty of installing the boiler itself. Most boilers tend to be placed in areas that are relatively easy to access and thus all of the components can be swapped out, but if the installation is non-standard, it may require additional planning and work, which will add to the cost.

As well as this, if you want to move the boiler, that will lead to additional costs, as will any work to upgrade the overall system such as from a back boiler to a combi boiler system.

Finally, there are some fluctuations in the cost of labour time in different parts of the UK, so that can sometimes affect the quote.

Does It Save Money To Leave A Boiler On A Low Temperature?

With people mindful of their energy bills and wanting to save money as the mercury drops, a lot of tips, conventional wisdom and myths tend to be spread alongside vital advice. 

The best way to save money on your bills is by consulting a professional to see if they can install a more efficient boiler or whether your insulation and heating system could help keep more heat in your home.

However, one particular piece of advice that is often stated as fact is that it is better to leave the boiler on all day at a low temperature and let it steadily warm the house rather than turn it on whenever it is needed.

There is a logic to this; much like a car engine, a boiler uses the most energy when it is turned on and heats up the central heating system quickly. However, in practice and in all but the most thermally efficient homes in the country, it will quickly do more harm than good.

The reason for this is that so much heat is lost through poor insulation, so your boiler would be burning far more gas or using more electricity than you may think to try and keep it at this low temperature, making many people’s heating bills considerably worse.

Generally, if you are using a smart thermometer or turning the heating off when the house is warmed up, you will be using far less energy overall, which in combination with efficient sources of heat and improved draught-proofing can save you far more money in the long run.

As well as this, heating the person rather than the home can also work a lot of the time, such as wearing additional layers and wrapping up warm whenever you can.

Why Does Your Natural Gas Boiler Need Annual Maintenance?

It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a property owner needs to organise an annual service for all of the boilers in a building. 

The biggest and most obvious reason for this is obligation; landlords must ensure that gas appliances have checks every year, many business insurance policies require an annual service to ensure it remains valid and annual services keep a boiler’s warranty period valid as well.

However, for some people who have had a boiler installed by an expert in the last year and had absolutely no issues, it can seem like a service is unnecessary, however, it is important for many reasons beyond being a requirement.

The first, and by far the most important is that it helps keep everyone in the building safe. Boilers are complex, and a fault can have the potential to be very dangerous if left unchecked.

It will ensure that every component is properly installed, is working effectively and can potentially signpost where issues could come from in the future, tweaking and fixing parts.

This saves money in the long run, as an annual service is far cheaper than an emergency callout, particularly if expensive parts are required.

Beyond this, it can also help to reduce energy bills. Gas engineers are highly knowledgeable about the inner workings of a boiler, and they can see if a boiler is not only working well but is as efficient as possible, which costs you less money.

This can become more critical as a boiler gets older and its performance starts to degrade. An engineer will often be the first to point out when a boiler has reached the tipping point where replacement is more cost-effective than maintenance.

An engineer can also provide advice on which settings would provide the most value and reduce bills the most, as well as show you how to manage automatic switch-on and shut-off times for central heating systems.

Why Combi Boilers Are Always A Top Choice For Homeowners

Homeowners who are looking for a new boiler will have to decide which type to go for. 

If you are considering a combi boiler, here are some reasons why it is a popular choice these days. 


Perhaps the main reason why more and more people are opting for combi boilers is because they warm water on demand whenever the tap or heating is turned on. Therefore, there is no need to heat up an entire tank of water and then having to store it. 

The reason this is cost effective is because you do not need to preheat the water, thereby only heating what you use. 


New combi boiler installations need to have an energy efficiency rating of at least 92 per cent, which means homeowners can benefit from wasting as little power as possible to heat up their water and home. 

This will reduce energy bills, which have shot up in the last year, as well as be better for the environment. 


As combi boilers mean hot water is available whenever you need it, it is the more convenient option. You don’t have to plan when you’ll want a shower or bath, or wait a long time if you want to do the washing up. 

At the same time, it is easy and quick to install, as it does not require a hot water cylinder or tank. 

Space saving

Those who live in small houses or flats will surely be keen on getting a combi boiler, as they take up much less space than a system boiler, which also needs a hot storage tank. 

Good water pressure

As the water comes from the mains, it will have a strong flow. Therefore, homeowners can enjoy powerful showers with a combi boiler!

Why Heat Pumps Are Not Yet Ready To Replace Gas Boilers

If you are planning to fit a new boiler in your London home because the old one needs replacing, you may have been tempted to consider a different option for warming your home and water supply, such as an air source heat pump.

However, there may be very good reasons not to do this – and they come from someone who owns his own heat pump company.

Business tycoon Lord Willie Haughey has attacked the Scottish government’s plans to try to force homes to switch to heat pumps by penalising those with boilers. Under the proposals, from 2025 any home with a gas boiler won’t be able to achieve an energy performance rating of C and will be legally barred from being sold.

Lord Haughey said that while he should be “jumping for joy” because he owns a heat pump company, he warned that the devices “don’t work as efficiently in Scotland as they do in other countries”. A key problem is that they stop working properly if the temperature drops below -5C, which is common in many parts of Scotland in winter.

That issue may be less of a concern in London, where it is rarely so cold, but another issue the peer pointed out is that the pumps can only heat water to 54 degrees C, less than the 60 degrees needed to kill off legionella bacteria.

Another problem, identified by the Scottish government’s own research, is that heat pumps are not suited to tenement blocks, which make up 40 per cent of Scottish housing stock. Such buildings of large-scale multiple occupancy are similar to the kind of properties a large proportion of Londoners live in, so the same would be likely to apply here.

The Scottish proposals will be subject to public consultation. But if that exercise highlights major weaknesses in the use of heat pumps, the consequences for government policy could not only be to delay their wider deployment in Scotland, but slow down their introduction – and therefore maintain the reliance on gas or electric boilers – down here in England too.

Common Boiler Problems And How You Can Identify Them

Boilers are the heart of the home and help to keep our rooms and water warm and comfortable for us. However, much like any other appliance, there are several issues your boiler may encounter and luckily many of them can be easily identified.

Having any issues with your boiler fixed as soon as possible is essential for the safety of yourself and your family as boiler issues can potentially be extremely dangerous if left unnoticed or unfixed for long periods of time.

One of the easiest ways to notice that your boiler is malfunctioning or has issues is by a lack of heat or hot water. This can be due to a variety of issues and some can be fixed quite simply.

One of these is a faulty thermostat, which may cause a lack of heat as it is not registering the temperature of the home. Replacing or simply resetting this may solve the issue at hand. Other issues which result in no heat or hot water may need to be diagnosed by a plumber.

These issues may also result in your boiler switching itself off periodically. If your boiler is switching off for seemingly no reason, seek the advice of your local plumber for help and assistance.

If resetting your boiler doesn’t work, seeking the advice of a plumber is recommended as there may be further underlying issues with your boiler which are preventing it from heating your home effectively.

This is more common in older boilers which may not have been serviced in a while.

Leaks can be easily identified by wet patches forming under or around the boiler and should be addressed as soon as possible. They can be caused by various issues such as corrosion on the pipes, faulty valves or damaged seals.

If you find a leak, turn the boiler off as soon as possible and seek the help of an emergency plumber.


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When Is The Best Time Of Year To Have Your Boiler Serviced?

Your boiler helps to heat your home year-round and therefore maintaining it and ensuring it stays in great working condition is essential. Working out when the right time to have your boiler annually serviced can be tricky though.

Your boiler is used more during certain periods of the year than others, therefore you may find that you notice more issues arising during the winter than in the summer.

This might not be due to the fact your boiler is on though, it can actually be because it hasn’t been used for a while. Leaving your boiler over the summer without much use can allow issues to arise unnoticed, leaving you stuck in the mud when winter rolls around.

Therefore, having your boiler serviced and checked during the summertime may be a better idea than waiting until you are using it more frequently in the winter.

This is because your boiler will have been used constantly throughout the late autumn, winter and early spring.

You may then have chosen to turn it off or significantly reduce its use as summer rolled around, meaning any issues which occurred during the winter may not have been noticed.

This can lead to them being left unfixed until you start using your boiler more frequently again, as you may not notice them during the summer months when your heating is turned off more than it is turned on.

Having your boiler serviced during the summer allows you to find and address any issues without having to worry about the boiler being out of action, leaving you cold during the winter chill.

By having your boiler serviced during the summer, you can also be assured that come wintertime you can heat your home with no issues and know your boiler is in great health.


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