What You Should Be Getting For Your Money

This is a cautionary tale about a certain Mr Smith. I recently visited Mr Smith, a retired, elderly gent, to do a couple of small jobs – change a radiator valve and a tap washer – but also to check over his newly installed boiler. He wasn’t happy with the manner in which the work was done and needed some reassurance.

The installer had fitted the new version of the Ideal Logic+ system boiler to complement the existing instantaneous water heater. So far so good. My minor quibble with the work was that a magnetic filter had not been fitted, although to be fair this would have been slightly tricky to achieve in what was not the easiest location.

What became clear though, was that the commissioning checklist had been only scantly completed, and the readings I got from my Flue Gas Analysis were significantly different from the ones listed in the Commissioning document at the back of the installation manual. This suggested to me that he either hadn’t done it at all, or incorrectly.

The biggest problem, however, was that while the existing time clock had been re-used to control the heating, what was missing was a room thermostat. Quizzing Mr Smith revealed no conversation had taken place to offer why one wasn’t going to be fitted.

Here’s the thing: Unless a customer specifically objects to any type of heating control (very much preferably in writing, and documented on the Commissioning Document) every boiler fitted should have, AS A MINIMUM,  a time clock and a room thermostat. If you have a hot water cylinder, you should have a time clock that allows you to program the heating and hot water independently from each other, as well as a thermostat fitted onto the cylinder.

There are a large number of products out there that allow you to control your heating in a number of simple and sophisticated ways, so it is potentially confusing. But I repeat: As a minimum you should have a time clock and a room thermostat fitted.

Good practice means that Thermostatic Radiator Valves should be fitted to allow individual room control, but this does not constitute a room thermostat.

Fortunately for Mr Smith, the installer had not yet sent their bill. I advised him not to pay until they had fitted the missing item. It should have been automatically included in the job. As far as I am concerned, he shouldn’t be paying extra for the work since the installer hasn’t met their obligations as far as the current standards require.

I get very cross when I see this sort of sloppiness. It gives the trade a bad name when it is difficult enough to establish a good reputation. It’s a joke down the pub, “You plumbers are all the same ripping us off and heading for the golf course”, but it’s not when you are trying to do the right thing by people and then come across situations such as Mr Smith.

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