The Plumbers Mate random chatter from the plumbers wife


ErP event last night – Law by september 2015

The ErP rules are coming in. They mean that heating appliances must be rated and calculated in order that the national measurement office can calculate just how efficient the nations heating/hot water is becoming (probably to offset the fact that we will have to build nuclear power stations as we haven't invested in alternative power forms in the time we had) in order to calculate national efficiency/ carbon savings.

ErP labels state the efficiency of the appliance such as a-rated,b,c,d...etc just like on a TV or a Fridge. Heating engineers will have to add appliance calculations together in order to create a 'Fische' which will reside with the home-owner presumably until the sale of the home (if ever).

The big trade suppliers such as Wolseley  (plumbcenter) are telling installers that this is an opportunity to increase savings for customers and make money at the same time. Unfortunately Wolseley don't live in the real world. In my fantasy plumbing world, I can make everyone have a A-rated boiler, efficient controls, new radiators, home insulation and other energy saving devices. Sadly most customers don't actually take that much notice of their boiler (a shock to wolseley!) and 50% of (new) customers request a service when the boiler has gone into a fault state! A fault state is a time for a 'Repair' not a 'Service'. A service is a 'maintenance schedule' delivered to a working appliance. More importantly though, this call is possibly the first time that, the customer has noticed that appliance in a long time.

A large proportion of People generally just want a cheap, reliable and efficient boiler that gets fitted and forgotten. The ErP seminar would suggest that most customers are actively seeking to make efficiency savings. They are not. If they were, then 8 million UK homes that don't have room thermostats would change that over night (saving themselves £120pa) and would be actively saving for an A-rated boiler.

Unfortunately, boilers are not TV sets and are not a priority for many people, it is something in a white box that hangs in the corner of a room or lives in a cupboard in the kitchen. Only boiler engineers ogle boilers and ooh at the bits and bobs, for a lot of customers it could be magic that the radiators heat up or the taps get hot, and only when the magic fails do they find the boiler!

'It wasn't magic! We didn't pay attention to it, We didn't look after it! let's get it serviced!!!'

ErP is good but it isn't the opportunity that the sellers of products would have us believe.


Atag point proved today – Whitstable

Atag are aiming to make installers lives better by supplying boilers direct to engineers and cutting out the middle man and the internet.
For small family businesses to survive we all have to make a profit. This profit comes from a margin/percentage of price being added to a sale. This offsets to some degree but not always the costs of advertising, insurance, training, membership of federations (legally required), fuel, tools and many more factors. Without this margin, small companies would go under. Profit is a necessity and not a dirty word as some would believe. Yes some co's put a margin of 40-50% on sales yet others put a lower rate of say 15%. The smaller the company the less pressure should be put on their margin, they have lower overheads but on the flip side they also have fewer people & jobs and therefore are more vulnerable to the internet and margin erosion.
Atag want to protect that margin for Gas installers and at the same time deliver the best boilers in Europe with the highest efficiencies.
Only today was that point proven when a quoted job has decided to buy a boiler themselves thus taking away our margin (which equated to £120.00). In so doing, they are hurting the local community & us because for every £ they spent with us we spend 75% back in our community whereas bought on the internet, that money is no longer in our community or county, or even country in some cases, resulting in a near 0% recycling of that finance locally.
The next boilers specified will be #Atag if only to start protecting our business. Maybe one day my daughters will take it over and have a decent life out of it, or maybe they'll just work for Tescos stacking shelves and buying things from the internet. I've told them to become hairdressers, you can't buy a decent haircut on the internet.


Our boiler line up confirmed – Swann Plumbing.

We have sought to differentiate the best boiler brands and offers for a while now and have finally and correctly arrived at a budget and premium list of the brands that we supply.
Our premium range consists of 3 Brands, Viessmann, Atag & Intergas.
These brands are widely known for their excellent quality and attention to detail. They represent the best products available from Germany and Holland.
Our budget range consists of 3 Brands, Vaillant, Ideal & Worcester. These brands are good but not excellent and due to cheaper components and higher failure rates are deemed as 'Budget'.


ATAG boilers in new move that supports Gas engineers.

Atag boilers are best known in the UK for their specialist boiler applications and very clever technology. The Dutch brand have had a small but faithful installer base. Their latest boilers are less cumbersome and more suited to UK homes. They have been specifically designed for the UK market and the idea of a cupboard fit. With this they intend to increase their installer network and interest in the product. The product is good, very good and the boilers are some of the most efficient on the market.
The energy saving trust say 'ATAG compact boilers are the most energy efficient in Europe and can significantly reduce your energy bills by up to £570 a year'. Atag are also offering a 'lifetime replacement guarantee on the iCon heat exchanger. With all parts made from A-grade materials there are no cheap, poor quality parts on the product.
With the arrival of new products came a change in policy aswell. Atag previously supplied installers as well as trade suppliers. The major change is that Atag now only supply their boilers to Gas Safe Registered installers. That's correct, not the public, not plumbers & not builders. Whilst i'm not entirely sure how clever a move it is to cut the trade suppliers out of the equation, it is a brilliant move to insist that only Gas Safe registered engineers may purchase their boilers.
Gas engineers in the UK have always moaned about the amount of training and insurance they have to undertake and yet are undercut by illegal installers and the internet. Now we have a brand that won't sell to people who undercut us. In a strange way this move actually gives some kudos and teeth to being a GSR engineer. If all boiler manufacturers did this then we'd have a sustainable industry which would have the potential to employ many more apprentices than it already does.
Gas engineers have always wanted this level of protection. The Govt and Gas Safe register have done nothing to stop the rot in the industry. It is not illegal to sell a gas boiler to the non-qualified but it is illegal for the non-qualified to work on a gas appliance. Atag are doing their bit to cut the nonsense out of the equation.
Well Done Atag.


Intergas Boilers warranty up to 7yr & 10yr.

Fantastic news for the future owners of the 'bulletproof' Intergas boiler. The HRE combi now comes with a 7yr guarantee and the new 'Eco' Model comes with a 10yr warranty.
Both boilers still only have 4 moving parts, (taking their reliability into a league of its own) meaning that existing owners shouldn't worry. You still have one of, if not the, most reliable boiler on the market.
It may not have a well known name such as Worcester or Vaillant but for what intergas lack in brand exposure, they certainly make up for in Quality. They never 'Thought outside the box' (I detest that phrase), they totally rethought everything inside the box!