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Topical issues af fecting the industry today in association with

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Summer 2011 Volume 5 No 2

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New chairman seeks ‘decent incentive’ for oil

4-8/Industry News 8-9/Irish News 10-11/Making our energy more efficient 14-17/Boiler News


s many of you will know I have been involved and supported OFTEC for a very long time. So I am pleased to take up the role as OFTEC’s chairman for the next two years.

The oil heating and cooking industry – at a crossroads This is a very important time for the oil heating and cooking industry. We find ourselves at a crossroads with challenging times ahead. The government’s Renewable Heat Incentive could provide great opportunities for bio-liquids, providing that they are included when the detail of household incentives is announced. One of OFTEC’s roles is to co-ordinate industry’s response from boiler and tank manufacturers, training centres and of course you – the OFTEC registered technicians.

Competing on a level playing field We already have a specification for bio-liquids as a result of successful trials held in Norfolk last year. Now our challenge is to get a decent incentive for consumers to use this fuel as part of the Renewable Heat Incentive so that we can compete on a level playing field with other renewable technologies.

18-19/Hot Technical Topics 20-21/Summertime upgrades and servicing 22-24/Anti-theft devices 25-27/Tank News 28-32/Training 33-35/Products & Services 36-38/Renewables 40-41/Legal News 42/Gallery

Best wishes,

Barry Gregory Riello

Credits Ashley & Dumville Publishing Ltd Caledonian House, Tatton Street, Knutsford, Cheshire WA16 9AB 6AG Tel: +44 (0)1565 653283; Fax: +44 (0)1565 755607 The publishers gratefully acknowledge the support of those firms whose advertisements appear throughout this publication. As a reciprocal gesture we have pleasure in drawing the attention of our readers to their announcements. It is necessary however for it to be made clear that, whilst every care has been taken in compiling this publication and the statements it contains, the publishers cannot accept responsibility for any inaccuracies, or the products or services advertised. Printed by Pelican Press, Manchester Tel: 0161 273 3434

Advertising Publishing manager: Jonathan Hibbert Media pack on request

News Desk Editor: Jane Hughes

Summer 2011 Volume 5 No 2 ISSN 1755-3490 Summer 2011 Oil Installer | 03

Industry News - ‘disappointed’, ‘confused’ but a ‘good start’?

Response to RHI’s launch The announcement that the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) could be available to the 800,000 homes heated by oil in Great Britain from 2012, was welcomed by OFTEC In March, the world’s first financial incentive of its kind to reduce emissions and to revolutionise the way heat is generated and used in buildings, was launched by energy secretary Chris Huhne. The £860m government scheme is expected to increase green capital investment by £4.5 billion up to 2020, stimulating a new market in renewable heat. The RHI will provide funding for 20 years for homes and other buildings that install renewable heat technologies.

A date for bio-heating oil’s inclusion? OFTEC and others have developed a bio-heating oil blend that could replace kerosene or gas oil and reduce CO2 outputs from homes by over one million tonnes p.a. Commenting on the RHI scheme, Jeremy Hawksley (above left), OFTEC director general, said: “Whilst disappointed that our bio-liquid fuels are not included in the first phase of RHI, we are pleased that bio-liquids remain an option and could be included from October 2012. “We will be working closely with government to ensure that the incentive is introduced then, and that their concerns regarding the sustainability of the bio-fuels used are dealt with. We are also pleased that there 04 | Oil Installer Summer 2011

We will be working closely with government to ensure that the incentive is introduced will be no fossil fuel levy to fund the scheme, as had originally been suggested. “It is clear that government initially wishes to target the RHI on larger commercial and public buildings rather than on domestic properties. We anticipate that after 2012 our option for a bio-fuel blended with gas-oil to heat these buildings could play a significant part in reducing CO2 emissions from the many larger properties that currently use gas-oil.”

“A good start” but with more questions than answers AGA Rangemaster, agrees that the RHI is a “good start” towards the wider take up of renewable energy by homeowners. William McGrath, chief executive, is sure that the scheme will be a success. He says: “The volatility of oil prices has led many people to look for ways of gaining some independence in their fuel

supply. The RHI, when it is fully up and running, will make choosing renewables like our solar or Eco Connect systems, an even more logical and sound investment for our customers.” Plumb Center has also welcomed the RHI launch, but has expressed disappointment at the delay in the domestic support which could further restrict uptake of microgeneration and renewable technologies. “We are pleased that the government gave the go ahead

for this major incentive for the generation of renewable heat’ said Simon Allan (centre), the company’s director of renewables. “However, the picture is not entirely clear as to what this means for the domestic sector as yet.” Neil Schofield (right), head of government and external affairs at Worcester, Bosch Group, commented: “We welcome any initiative that attempts to bring the benefits of renewable heat generation to greater numbers of people, but the announcement focuses very firmly on the industrial, commercial and public sectors. There are a number of questions yet to be answered for the domestic sector which leaves the picture confused.” “The RHI, as it stands, appears to be focussed on nondomestic heating, early adopters and those off the mains gas network, which leaves questions about how we will encourage mass uptake.”

OFTEC Live in Peterborough A new event, called “OFTEC Live”, recently took place at the East of England Showground in Peterborough. Visitors, including technicians, specifiers and architects, had the opportunity to see the latest in oil firing technology, on show from major manufacturers including ABGO, Anglo Nordic, Anton Industrial, Clarehill, Danfoss, Firebird, Grant UK, Kingspan, Riello, Testo, Trade Direct, Worcester Bosch and OFTEC Direct. A series of seminars covered new regulations, hints on servicing, and the future for bio-liquid heating oil. Look out for news of further events in the near future.


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Industry News - theft,taxes and targets

Victim tells of oil theft shock A typical victim of the current spate of domestic heating oil theft is Carla Armstrong and her family who live in rural, off-grid Cheshire. Recently, the Armstrongs lost around 700 litres of fuel from their 2000 litre plastic tank – a theft, say police, which probably took less than ten minutes to perpetrate. “Our last refuelling was at the end of January when we had 500 litres delivered. There was already around 300 litres in the tank,” Mrs Armstrong told Oil Installer. “Several days later, we noticed that the heating had not come on one morning, and, after checking the timer and the boiler, we used our highly technical fuel measure – a garden cane! We were shocked to find that the oil had gone, leaving just sludge at the bottom of the tank. So we estimate that around 700 litres had been taken.” Mrs Armstrong immediately reported the theft to the police who sent an officer to investigate. However, because there were no witnesses and no evidence of tampering or damage, the police closed the case, although they promised to keep the crime on file as intelligence for any future thefts. The tank – located close to a rustic wooden fence, separating the garden from a country lane – was also inspected by an insurance company specialist, looking for evidence of leakage. However, it was agreed that the fuel must have been siphoned out – with the thieves having taken off the unprotected filler cap, and probably using a hose draped over the fence, leading to the back of a vehicle. The Armstrongs’ insurance claim is currently being processed. “We rent the property and will soon be moving out, so we have not replaced the stolen fuel,” continued Mrs Armstrong. “The tank is the property of the landlord and has no security.” Mrs Armstrong has since moved to a house with an underground LPG tank – not good news for oil but as she adds, “Hopefully, safe from thieves!”

Coming clean to the taxman Heating engineers, plumbers and gas fitters are being targeted by the tax authorities in a clampdown on tradespeople failing to declare their earnings and pay tax. Under the tax plan, heating engineers, plumbers and members of associated trades, who have tax to pay, which they have not yet told HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) about, can come forward by 31st May to tell the department of their intention to disclose what they owe. If they make a full disclosure, most face a low penalty rate of 10 per cent, with a maximum of 20 per cent. They then have until the end of August to make their disclosure and arrange for payment to be made. After that date, using information gathered from various sources, HMRC will carry out targeted investigations aimed at those who have failed to come forward and make a full declaration. Substantial penalties, or even criminal prosecution, could follow. The plumbers’ tax safe plan (PTSP) is the first initiative in a campaign focused on tradespeople. It is designed to make it easy for those in the plumbing industry to put their tax affairs right and keep them that way. Mike Wells, HMRC’s director of risk and intelligence, said: “Our aim is to make it as easy as possible for plumbers to come forward, make a full disclosure and benefit from a reduced penalty. “This is the first step in enabling those with undisclosed income or gains to avoid a full tax investigation with much higher penalties. The message is clear: contact us before we contact you.” Further information about the PTSP is available from or by telephone on 0845 600 4507.

Further Legal News appears on pages 40 and 41 of this issue.

Carla Armstrong, with her tank – from which around 700 litres of fuel was stolen

Anti-fuel theft devices Tank manufacturers and security equipment specialists have responded quickly and are now offering bespoke solutions for home-owners. Check out some of the latest anti-fuel theft devices on pages 24 – 27.

06 | Oil Installer Summer 2011

Do you play music at work? Update yourself on the legal position on page 41.

Positive news for oil boiler sales Despite the current economic pressures and competition from other fuels, OFTEC estimates that the number of oil boilers sold in 2010 was almost 6% more than in 2009. Figures show that there were almost 63,000 oil boilers sold in the UK last year, with most of them likely to be high efficiency condensing models. Commenting on the figures, OFTEC director general Jeremy Hawksley said “The replacement market is still very strong, and many people have benefited from lower fuel bills by replacing what can be quite old boilers with newer more efficient ones. For customers in off gas main areas oil is still very competitively priced when compared to other fuels like LPG.” Replacing a conventional oil boiler with a condensing one can save around 19% in fuel bills – possibly more if the original boiler is very old. Independent figures show the cost of heating/hot water for an average three bedroom house in 2010 was calculated at £1011 per annum compared to £1645 using an LPG condensing boiler. Catch up with the latest boiler news on pages 12 – 16.

New inspectors join OFTEC’s team Tim Lock, from North east Lincolnshire, is a former heating engineer and has specialised in oil systems for 18 years. After working for a family business, he moved to a national installation company, taking him to all parts of the UK. Tim is now covering the North of England territory for OFTEC. Ray Tait has been part of the heating industry since leaving school, and in 2001 he started his own heating company. Tim lives in Suffolk and will be operating in the East Anglia region on behalf of OFTEC. Ray’s claim-to-fame is that he has appeared on the BBC’s Robot Wars television programme, as one of his hobbies is electronics and robot construction. Both new recruits are keen to start meeting OFTEC registrants on routine visits, and assisting new businesses when one-to-one meetings and audits are arranged within the first three months of joining. Neale Waters, OFTEC inspections services co-ordinator (centre), welcomes Ray Tait (l) and Tim Lock to the team

Summer 2011 Oil Installer | 07

Industry News

Signing off… Registered technicians are being reminded by OFTEC that they must not sign off installations or commissioning which have been undertaken by somebody else. The completion of an installation or commissioning report is a declaration of what work has been carried out and by whom. Therefore, warns OFTEC, in the event of an incident or insurance claim, the reporting technician could be held responsible. Where a technician is requested to commission an installation, but there is no CD/10 installation completion report available on site, OFTEC recommends that the installation is still commissioned to confirm safety. However, all noncompliances - including the lack of a CD/10 - should then be recorded on the CD/11 commissioning report.

More bioliquid trials – Northern Ireland Following the success of the bioliquid heating oil trials in Norfolk last year, OFTEC has joined forces with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) to trial a bio-liquid mix in public sector housing. The first two homes have now been converted from solid fuel to run on the new bio-liquid, and are part of the NIHE heating upgrade programme. Manager for OFTEC Ireland David Blevings said: “The installations were straightforward and completed by HEAT (Heat, Energy and Associated Technology) on behalf of the NIHE. The new condensing boilers have been fitted with a bio friendly burner

At the fist bio-liquid trial site in Moneyrea - Jason Cassels of Warmflow, David Blevings, Paul McGuickan - an OFTEC registered technician, and Mickey Tolan of HEAT

and oil line which was commissioned to run on the bio mix. We are using FAME at a 30% mix which will be monitored for a year.” In addition to the bio-liquid conversion, both homes benefitted from insulation upgrades, separate hot water, two heating zones, TRVs and

cylinder thermostats. Several OFTEC manufacturing members are involved with the trials, including Harlequin, Riello, Titan, Warmflow and EMO Oil. Follow the trial’s progress at http://oftecbiofuel.blogspot. com.

New edition of the OFTEC Direct Catalogue available soon


3 SIMPLE WAYS TO ORDER YOUR COPY NOW: T: 0845 65 85 080 | E: | 08 | Oil Installer Summer 2011

coming soon!

Irish News - safety, regulations and trials Condensing regulations

Investigation into boiler deaths

Following changes to Northern Ireland building regulations in January, OFTEC has been working with boiler manufacturers, building control, merchants and installers to ensure that the industry is aware of the amendments and is complying with the new rules. Posters are being displayed in builders merchants promoting the move to condensing boilers which is now a legal requirement in Northern Ireland. Any new or replacement domestic central heating boilers - oil, gas or lpg must have a seasonal efficiency (SEDBUK) value of not less than 86%, and be of the condensing type which can save up to 20% on annual fuel bills compared to standard boilers.

Following the death of two people from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning in a house in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, OFTEC is currently assisting the Northern Ireland Health & Safety Executive to help determine the exact cause of the tragedy. It is believed to be the first known case in the UK of a fatality resulting from the combustion of an oil-fired heating system. OFTEC Inspector Norman Armstrong was recently called to inspect the house. Since the news of the deaths, OFTEC has urged all technicians to check flues and to carry out a full combustion analysis when servicing appliances. Householders are also encouraged to fit carbon monoxide alarms, available from merchants, DIY stores and OFTEC Direct.

Summer 2011 Oil Installer | 09

Making our energy more efficient In a typical British home, around one-third of the heat produced by a central heating system is rapidly lost through the roof, ceiling and walls. As the cost of living rises, both household expenditure and energy efficiency are coming under increasing scrutiny.

This colour thermogram image shows heat loss taken from a 2010 50cm aerial thermal survey of Leicester. Copyright: Bluesky International Limited

Boiler manufacturers help promote energy efficiency in the home “Turning down the heating, wearing an extra layer of clothing or going to bed earlier are all potential fuel savers, but the main heating economy is to upgrade to a modern, high efficiency boiler, which can deliver substantial savings, especially for those who haven’t yet made the transition to a condensing boiler,” says Firebird’s national sales manager, Barry Brynildsen. In addition to the company’s Enviromax range of high efficiency boilers, Firebird also offers solar heating systems which integrate with the company’s oil boilers to reduce fuel bills. However as Barry states: “In these difficult times, the householders’ appetite for upgrading to a new boiler when the existing one is still working - however inefficiently - is limited.” Worcester, Bosch Group is using a number of different ways to encourage consumers to be more energy efficient. Worcester’s website - - has a dedicated homeowner area. And, having identified the benefits of being able to show customers, first-hand, how its products can make a 10 | Oil Installer Summer 2011

positive difference to energy usage in the home, at a number of energy houses are showcased online. These real-life installations allow installers and consumers to look at the lifestyles of people living in them to see how Worcester’s products are making a real difference to peoples’ lives, fuel bills and the environment. Martyn Bridges, director of marketing and technical support, said: “It’s all very well telling people about the benefits of energy efficient appliances and renewable heating solutions, but to see the benefits in front of

It’s all very well telling people about the benefits of energy efficient appliances and renewable heating solutions, but to see the benefits in front of your eyes, in an easily accessible format is a real step forward

your eyes, in an easily accessible format is a real step forward.” Worcester’s range of award winning Greenstar condensing boilers run at a minimum of 90% efficiency and aim to reduce customers’ energy costs and carbon footprint. The company also offers a number of renewable products, including Greenskies solar thermal panels, Greenstore ground source heat pumps and Greensource air to water and air to air heat pumps, which can be used in conjunction with its boilers. TR Engineering recently launched a super quiet range of high efficiency boilers, utilising specially matched Riello burners. Offering efficiencies in excess of 90% and rated to SEDBUK A, the new EuroStar range has been specifically designed to achieve optimum high efficiency and superb performance, whilst withstanding the coldest of temperatures. Director, Peter Beighton, explains: “High efficiency boilers can save customers up to 20% annually on their heating and hot water bills as against standard-efficiency alternatives, and up to 30% against boilers installed over ten years ago. Put another way, the payback time on the moderate extra cost of the new condensing models, which are competitively priced, can be under two years.”

Keeping installers fully trained and better informed online and on the road Grant UK believes that householders value the advice of its installers and concentrates on their education to get its message through to end users. Marketing manager, Anna Wakefield told Oil Installer: “Through installer training, we’ve highlighted the benefits of combining renewables with fossil fueled appliances, to help reduce running costs in the home. We also provide a number of Q&A pre-sales guides in hard copy and online, for some of our more popular renewable technologies. These are designed to create awareness and improve knowledge.” Alongside its day to day promotional activities, the company has a new, informative website – with product information, industry legislation, case studies, system sizing tools and online training. In addition, Grant has commissioned three new renewable elearning training modules for merchants and *Bluesky International has a wealth of experience in the acquisition, processing and application of a range of geographic data, in particular aerial photography, LiDAR and thermal imagery.

installers, to improve knowledge on renewable technologies and has launched social networking feeds – Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, which are constantly updated with product news. Several renewable courses have been introduced at the Grant Training Academy and the company has also launched the new ‘G-One’ installer accreditation scheme for renewable technologies – see page 37. Worcester prides itself on its installer training facilities. In addition to a number of regional centres, the company has five mobile training vehicles, online and remote resources, and its very own Energy Centre to help demonstrate how its energy efficient technologies work in-situ. Investment in the training facilities at Worcester’s head office in Warndon has grown significantly over the years. Its well known training village has been upgraded to a ‘training academy’, as new courses for ground source and air source heat pumps were added in line with new product introductions. TR Engineering holds training courses on site for engineers and makes frequent special offers via its website The company

also produces regular e-shots to engineers and merchants, promoting the efficiency levels of its products. Firebird actively promotes energy efficiency to the trade through its website, literature, merchant and installer training programmes. The company is currently taking a training and demonstration vehicle around the country to familiarise installers with its latest energy efficiency technology. Barry Brynildsen says: “We rely on the installer to relay information on SEDBUK ratings to the end consumer and, our installers are certainly encouraging customers to install our energy efficient boilers. But, whilst the theory is good, it’s all down to money and consumers are not generally keen to spend money unless it’s a distress situation. Buying an energy efficient boiler is not like buying an energy efficient light bulb in the supermarket!”

Smart meters At the end of March, the government published its plans for the national rollout of smart meters. It is proposed that 53 million smart meters will be installed in 30 million businesses and homes across Great Britain by 2019, netting the nation £7.3 million over the next 20 years. Secretary of state for energy and climate change, Chris Huhne said: “Smart meters are a key part of giving us all more control over how we use energy at home and at work, helping us to cut out waste and save money. In combination with our plans to reform the electricity market and introduce the Green Deal for home and businesses, the rollout of smart meters will help us keep the lights on while reducing emissions and getting the best possible deal for the consumer.”

OFTEC checklist And finally, remember that OFTEC provides a checklist (CD/40), which helps installers assess a customer’s heating system and make recommendations for improving energy efficiency. For a copy go to

See page 33 for a smart metering solution for oil

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Boiler News Slimline boilers for external siting

Taking the HRM name forward…

Telford-based Mistral Boilers has added a collection of slimline models measuring H895mm x W570mm x D680mm - to its range of outdoor domestic oil boilers. The new models, with outputs from 15 to 41 KW, free up space within a property, and, says Mistral, the new slimline casing gives extra flexibility for external siting. The new slim-line outdoor boiler from Mistral

Simon Eastwell launches an installer loyalty scheme

One-stop packs from Plumbfix

Norfolk-based HRM Boilers - manufacturers of the Wallstar range of oil fired boilers - has launched an installer loyalty scheme.

Plumbfix has introduced a range of central heating and boiler packs which offer quality products in a time-saving kit. Central heating pack - a leading brand boiler, horizontal flue, time clock, filling loop, plastic or copper tube and up to seven radiators, each supplied with valves with high BTU ratings. Pack prices start from £850 (ex VAT), including delivery. The boiler pack - a leading brand boiler, horizontal flue, time clock, combi straight filling loop, scale inhibitor, seven thermostatic radiator values and a Horstmann wireless room thermostat – costs from £470. Both packs can be purchased at any of Plumbfix’s

The new scheme is part of managing director, Simon Eastwell’s plans to make HRM Boilers the supplier of choice for both installers and home owners and, the company is currently contacting installers to offer them the opportunity to join the scheme. Incentives include the possibility to win holiday vouchers, together with the chance to earn free gifts such as games consoles, laptops, televisions and shopping vouchers. When Hedley Mickleburgh, who co-founded the original HRM Boiler Company in 1990, retired earlier this year at the age of 70, all company shares were sold to Simon - formerly the company’s chief sales executive – and his wife Jane. Simon commented: “I am very keen to position HRM Boilers in a place that installers and homeowners will appreciate. We are differentiating ourselves from our larger competitors by demonstrating greater customer care to both installers and homeowners alike.” Speaking on his retirement, Mr Mickleburgh said he was delighted that Simon was taking the company forward, particularly as they both ‘shared the same views regarding maintaining the quality of product and service that has been the keystone of the company’s success’.

This new catalogue can be found at 100 Plumbfix trade only counters throughout the UK or call 0808 101 0000 to request a copy

trade only counters and are also available for next day delivery. Plumbfix products are only available to qualified plumbers and heating engineers, and contractors need to demonstrate their trade credentials to use the trade only counters.

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Firebird presents a case for leaving it out… It is generally assumed that the vast majority of domestic boilers are sited in the kitchen within a row of kitchen units. However, this is not actually the case, and Barry Brynildsen, of Firebird explains the benefits of external boiler siting… It is perhaps something of a surprise that around 20% of oil boilers are externally sited. With the high cost of building land, house builders are constantly seeking ways to reduce the footprint of their homes, so siting a boiler externally is a practical way of freeing up some space in the kitchen or utility room. Providing the boiler is suitably housed and protected, there are no problems with external siting - in fact there are more benefits than disadvantages. Once installed, easy access for servicing is a key benefit, as the householder does not have to stay in to wait for the installer or to feel a need to be in attendance - or even get a keyholder involved during periods away from home.

Barry Brynildsen presents a case for external boiler siting

Of course, this ready access is also a benefit during the initial installation of a new boiler, minimising the need to disrupt the household other than to confirm the heat and hot water provision is as expected after installation.

around 20% of oil boilers are externally sited

As the boiler is at ground level, it requires only limited fluing. And condensate disposal is also simple because it can be taken directly to the drains or immediately adjacent soakaway. Building regulations impose strict regulations on flue outlet positioning to avoid windows and doors and exhausting on to adjacent properties or access ways. However, when the boiler is sited outside the house, this becomes virtually irrelevant as the flue gases can be dispersed into the atmosphere without any affect on the installation property or the homes of neighbours Firebird pays particular attention to sturdy casing and high quality insulation in

Firebird’s Heat Pac external boiler

recognition of the environment to which their external boilers will be subjected. They are finished in either a weather resistant dark green pvc casing to blend with their surroundings or have a heavy duty galvanised casing on the larger models. Flue terminals are fitted directly onto the boilers, providing greater siting flexibility and being ideally suited to external situations. So Firebird advice is to leave it out - it will come to no harm from the weather and will free up much needed space in the home!

Summer 2011 Oil Installer | 15

Boiler News

Enhancing oil heating Recently launched into the UK central heating market is the Oxyvent patented energy saving system. Designed by plumber, Tim Cremin, Oxyvent’s launch is ideally timed as it coincides with the need to drive down energy bills and with government legislation to improve the green credentials of existing and future UK housing stock. The Oxyvent system works by increasing the flow rate of water through a radiator, from an average one litre per minute, to four litres per minute. Tested in the fluids and heat transfer laboratory at Trinity College’s department of mechanical and manufacturing engineering in Dublin, the system is fully compatible with both existing and newly installed oil-fired boilers. “As a plumber, I was tired of fixing heating systems with recurring and unavoidable issues such as poor flow rate; so out of frustration I designed the Oxyvent tank,” says Tim. By pushing more water through much faster, the system improves radiator performance, reducing the standard 11°C difference between radiator inlet and outlet to just 2°C. This enables all radiators not just those closest to the boiler - to operate at the same temperature. With faster flow rate and better radiator performance radiators create more radiant heat rather than standard convection and, a boiler can be set at a lower 60°C or, 65°C with a separate hot water cylinder.

Simple and quick to install says John Markham who undertook a recent installation in the Cambridge area

The customer will have a 30% fuel saving “There’s no need to balance radiator valves as all valves are left fully open. The same size radiators will give off more powerful heat, heating all rooms evenly, dispensing the need for extra electric heaters. There are no more air locks or venting of radiators and, if installed, there’s no need to flush out underfloor heating systems every few years, as the system prevents air from entering,” explains Tim. “The customer will have a 30% fuel saving and all rooms will heat up properly, creating a much more comfortable home. Customers will be able to have their oil boilers in constant condensing mode, saving them even more fuel.”

The Oxyvent experience – installer and homeowner According to Tim, the system is easily installed, taking between a few hours and a Oxyvent – a unique system

16 | Oil Installer Summer 2011

day depending on the type of installation. John Markham, director of Cambridge Discount Installations, who undertook a recent installation in the Cambridge area agrees: “The installation took three hours from draining to re-filling and testing the Oxyvent. There was minimum fuss, so it was quick to install and wasn’t intrusive for the homeowner. In terms of what the Oxyvent tank does, there’s nothing comparable on the market. From what we’ve seen, it’s a unique product.” To date, approximately 2000 tanks have been installed and the customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Homeowner, Lucy Surbey had the Oxyvent system installed in February and is delighted with the results: “We’re currently renovating an Edwardian property which has large rooms. Before the system was installed, it took a long time for the radiators to heat up; in fact they never seemed to work properly, projecting heat upwards rather than outwards. Within two hours of the Oxyvent tank being installed, all radiators were projecting heat out equally, and we could feel the warmth. It’s made a massive difference to our home and we’ve even been turning the thermostat down. “

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Hot Technical Topics

Preventing frozen pipes Over the last two winters, the UK has seen temperatures plummet as low as minus 20ºC in some areas. As a result, boiler manufacturers and installers have experienced an increasing number of calls from householders whose condensing boilers had temporarily shut down, due to frozen condensate pipes. In the Spring issue of Oil Installer we asked readers to share their tops tips with us Installer recommendations Mike Hampton of Tharby and Hampton emailed with the following suggestion: “If running externally fit the 22mm plastic condensate inside a 50mm plastic waste pipe, then insulate as you fit together with 22mm by 13mm wall foam insulation, which is an exact fit. It’s a bit tricky to do, but you can feed the 50mm elbows or 45 degree bends over the corresponding 22mm bends. The insulation becomes totally waterproof inside the 50mm waste pipe. On the drain end, I fit a 50mm blank end over the pipe and then drill a 22mm hole to allow the actual condensate to protrude slightly. I haven’t had a single problem over the last two bad winters. The small extra cost is well worth it as it, saves call-backs and inconvenience to the customer.” This year’s OFTEC oil boiler installer of

Can you stop this happening again next winter?

the year, Paul Scott Maindonal advises insulating pipes with a good armaflex lagging and terminating into a proper condensate trap with limescale chippings. Service and commissioning technician of the year, Alan Carpenter recommends keeping the pipe runs as short as possible but does not believe lagging to be very successful. Instead, he suggests trace heating, as does double award winner, Richard Thwaites.

What’s on the market? There are a number of trace heating products on the market at the moment, including the Condensate Antifreeze Trace Heater Kit, which is available from and the Frost Sentry from Teddington Appliance Controls. The Frost Sentry consists of a small control module, a trace-heating cable, temperature probe and 13 amp power lead for connection to a suitable mains socket. The device is low voltage and has minimal running costs. Once fitted, the trace-heater sits inside the condensate pipe and protrudes slightly beyond the end of the pipe, which is where ice is most likely start forming. The Frost Sentry starts to provide gentle heat as soon as the probe detects an outside temperature of 2.5 ºC or less, and will maintain frost protection until the external temperature rises above 2.5ºC. The device, which works down to temperatures of -20 ºC, is easily fitted by a suitably-qualified technician.

HHIC guidelines On guard with the Frost Sentry

18 | Oil Installer Summer 2011

In response to the problem, the Heating and Hot Water Industry Council (HHIC) has issued

two sets of guidelines, offering practical advice to both householders and boiler manufacturers. In the event of frozen pipes the HHIC advises householders to locate the blockage, thaw the frozen pipe and re-start the boiler. It also recommends lagging the pipe and running the heating system with the boiler thermostat set to maximum during cold spells. For installers the advice is more detailed and covers the routing and termination of condensate pipes. Oil Installer welcomes your suggestions, please email

Using plastic oil pipe Plastic pipe is increasingly being used in oil installations. However, it should only be used below ground, as set out in BS 5410. This means that technicians, wishing to install plastic pipe below ground, will need to convert to a suitable above ground pipe material, such as steel or plastic-coated copper, before exiting finish ground surface. Installations of this type require a minimum of two joints - one at the tank end, and one just external to the building. Both must be provided with a permanent means of access for inspection on future service visits. When technicians come across existing installations where plastic pipe is exposed above ground, OFTEC advises that this is brought to the homeowner’s attention in writing on the CD/11 report form.

Avoiding plume nuisance During the cold weather at the start of the year, a common issue raised with the OFTEC technical department was pluming from condensing boiler flues. When selecting a location for a condensing flue terminal, care needs to be taken to ensure that the area around the terminal will allow flue gases to disperse efficiently, so that they will not stagnate or be carried across windows or neighbouring properties. With the increasing use of combination boilers, plume and combustion smells are issues no longer restricted to the traditional heating season, as the boiler will fire every time hot water is required. With warmer weather on its way, the visual impact of plume should lessen. However, low flue gas temperatures, associated with condensing boilers, make the flue gases less buoyant and slower to disperse. Therefore, terminating near patio areas should be avoided. Some boiler manufacturers offer plume management kits, which allow more versatile siting of terminals and helps reduce visual impact. Further reading on the recommended clearances for condensing flue terminals can be found in OFTEC technical book 4.

Plume, pipes or other problems... ...whatever the issue - if you would like to offer a solution to a technical query or raise a query of your own, then please email Have you attended boilers with ignition problems recently? Reduced luminosity of kerosene has been sited as a possible reason, Oil Installer would be interested to hear if your customers have had ignition issues and how these have been resolved. Looking for bespoke technical consultancy services? See page 24.

Summer 2011 Oil Installer | 19

Summertime - upgrades and servicing

Extra opportunities for installers to earn and help…

the double skin of the tank, in order to extract the oil, very difficult. In addition, there are tanks available, such as the Titan Ecosafe, which come with an ultrasonic oil level monitor and alarm as standard. “For a tank already in situ, it is simple to fit an inexpensive alarm to give homeowners peace of mind,” he explains. “Plus, there are other simple measures installers can suggest including camouflaging the tank, if it is located somewhere visible, by using trellis and shrubs; installing basic security lighting and/or CCTV, and laying shingle around the tank.”

“Installers should grab the opportunity to offer upgrades and servicing over the summer months, traditionally a period when there is less demand on the heating system,” says Alan Stevenson, Plumb Center’s trading director. Here, Alan explores some of the options and outlines the benefits.

Oil installers, registered with the A1 Low Carbon Solutions fuel switching scheme, can receive £100 cash-back every time they replace coal or electric heating with an oil boiler

As summer approaches, and homeowners are able to ease off on their heating demands, it provides the ideal opportunity for oil installers to offer a number of upgrade and servicing options, he explains. It could simply be the installation of an alarm on a tank to prevent oil theft; the replacement of a single skinned tank for a more secure bunded version; or a full overhaul of a heating system which, if it involves switching from electric or coal-fired heating, could net the installer an additional £100, as well as giving the customer access to grant funding of up to £520.

Make it secure With oil prices soaring, there has been a sharp rise in the number of thefts of heating oil, prompting a security warning to home and business owners across the UK. Police have said that many thousands pounds worth of fuel has been stolen over the past few months, and that heating oil users should make sure their tanks are locked and protected… which is where installers can help. For maximum security, installers should recommend that customers consider replacing their old tank with a lockable bunded tank, made of heavy duty polyethylene, stresses Alan. This will make it much more difficult for thieves to access the oil via the tank’s outlets and make piercing 20 | Oil Installer Summer 2011

With the number of heating oil thefts at an all time high, a Titan Ecosafe tank with an ultrasonic alarm, available from Plumb Center, can give homeowners peace of mind

Grants up for grabs For homeowners with an electric or coal-fired heating system, grant funding is available to help them switch to a new, less carbon intensive gas, oil or LPG A-rated boiler, under the A1 Low Carbon Solutions fuel switching scheme, continues Alan.

The initiative, which is run in partnership with Plumb Center, pays those installers registered with the scheme, £100 cash-back for every qualifying fuel switch they complete. “This installer incentive comes in addition to the grant funding of up to £520 which installers are able to access for their customers through the scheme,” says Alan. “Being able to access this funding gives installers a distinct business advantage over their competitors, allowing them to offer more competitive quotes and, in turn, pick up more business.” The A1 LCS scheme has been around for a number of years, adds Alan, and although specific details may have changed, its purpose has remained constant – to encourage the installation of low-carbon, high-efficiency heating systems in the privately-owned residential housing sector. Homes where an electric or coal-fired heating system is replaced with a new, less carbon intensive gas, oil or LPG A-rated boiler purchased from Plumb Center - are all eligible to apply for the grant. Registering with the A1 LCS fuel switching scheme is fast, easy and, importantly, free of charge, stresses Alan Stevenson. “Installers can simply call 0845 600033 or go online at and complete the new installer registration form,” he says. To locate Plumb Center or Parts Center branches, visit or ,or telephone 0870 1622557. Downloadable Plumb and Parts Center iPhone apps are also available.


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Anti-theft devices As criminals target home owners and industry, manufacturers turn their attentions to…

Anti-theft devices to protect our ‘liquid gold’ Massive global price hikes in crude oil over recent months have turned all types of fuel into liquid gold – a fact quickly recognised and acted upon by the criminal fraternity. More than one and a half million homeowners, mostly in rural areas, are being urged to be extra vigilant as police report a surge in heating oil thefts across the country. And the fuel oil distribution industry has seen a dramatic increase in the number of depots and forecourts being targeted by organised gangs, determined to steal valuable fuel

The Anglo Nordic anti-theft kit


ut help is at hand. Tank manufacturers and security equipment specialists have responded quickly to the relatively new and high-profile phenomena, and are now offering bespoke solutions across the board – for home-owners using oil for heating, and for industry which uses and stores many thousands of pounds worth of fuel at any one time. The typical modern domestic tank is constructed in plastic, usually with a screw capped filler pipe protruding at the top and a plastic capped breather/vent pipe - making the tank an easy target for the siphoning off of fuel. A spate of such siphoning thefts prompted one insurance company to say: “It’s like having a Tupperware box sitting in the back garden containing £1,000 of cash.” Deterrents recommended for a small investment During the first three months of this year, many heating oil thefts were also reported from schools, nursing homes and churches across the UK, and police forces have united to recommend that deterrents should be fitted to protect all oil supplies. One such deterrent is the Oil Anti-Theft Alarm, available from Surrey-based Anglo Nordic. The alarm activates if somebody tries to access the fill cap or vent, and gives off both audible and visual alarms. The device comes with a remote controller to arm/disarm the alarm, and an emergency button if noises are heard and the owner The Surelock oil tank lock

Anglo Nordic’s antitheft alarm

wishes to activate the siren. Models are available for both bunded and steel tanks. The company also offers tank locks. Surelock Security has designed and launched the Oil Tank Lock which, claims the company, is already proving to be a successful deterrent to thieves. “Our oil tank lock is designed to fit the vast majority of the old metal and modern plastic oil tanks,” says Iris Tuttle, the company’s commercial administrator. The lock is made of 3mm steel and designed to clamp over the filler pipe and/or vent pipe. It retails at a little under £90. Similarly, the easy-to-install Locking Fill Point from Atkinson Equipment, has been selling exceptionally well recently. “Any deterrent is well worth the relatively small investment,” says Peter Carter, the company’s sales and marketing manager.

It’s like having a Tupperware box sitting in the back garden containing £1,000 of cash 22 | Oil Installer Summer 2011

The Atkinson locking fill point

Centre Tank Services has also designed a unique and particularly innovative locking device to fit a standard two-inch fill point inlet on a fuel or storage tank. The Tanklock design utilises the company’s “Spinsecure” technology - when the cap is locked, it spins freely and is almost impossible to remove. “Most existing locking caps are supplied in two pieces and are often secured in place using low quality padlocks which can be easily removed or broken,” explains Dawn Taylor, sales and marketing coordinator at Centre Tank Services. “Tanklock, however, eliminates this problem due to its one piece, padlock-free design and, as a result, there are no torque points for forced entry using crow bars. This ensures your tank contents are as safe and secure as possible. Nowadays, you have to do all you can to deter thieves - and many people have already started by fitting the Spinsecure Tanklock from Centre Tank Services Tanklock from Centre Tank Services,” she says. Dunraven Systems has recently announced new additions to its Apollo range of oil gauge and monitoring products. However, with oil theft on the increase, the company’s tried and tested Apollo Tank Alarm is proving particularly popular. The low-cost security device – developed especially for domestic, commercial and educational premises - detects sudden changes in oil levels and activates the property’s alarm system via a wireless connection. See also page 33 for news of Apollo Smart.


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Atlas – The Installer’s Choice The range of Atlas tanks as the Installer’s choice is well established. The reputation of Atlas as ‘Tanks you can Trust’ has been proven time and again with Installers who know a superior tank when they see one. From bunded, single skinned, waste oil tanks to fuel depots Atlas is a company dedicated to putting quality products into the hands of professional installers – that’s the reason why Atlas Tanks are the Installer’s choice. Call Tony Strutton now on: 07796 277 633

Tank initiatives Tank manufacturer Koronka believes its range of steel tanks offers far superior protection to valuable fuel stocks than plastic alternatives. The Koronka Environmental tank comes with a heavy steel door, featuring a double throw mortise lock, making it almost impossible for thieves to gain entry, says Trevor Koronka. “All sockets and fittings on the roof are protected under a steel security hatch, secured by a padlock. And the vent is a solid one-piece pipe, welded from the tank to the bund.” He adds: “Installation is very simple on a good hard-standing area or concrete pad. But, unlike plastic tanks, it will not crack or split after 2 or 3 years if there is the slightest of distortion on the base. Steel tanks have a life expectancy of 15/20 years; other types struggle to give even 10.” Wendi Whittle, sales manager for J.Seed & Company, is also concerned about the increasing number of fuel thefts. She told Oil Installer: “We are getting a lot of phone calls about tank security. People are asking us how they can make their tanks more secure - but this greatly differs for each installation. Recently we were asked to









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Anti-theft devices supply a tank for a high risk area, and we supplied a steel tank with the contents gauge and fittings under a small lockable steel housing so the gauge was visible, but couldn’t be tampered with.” The Preston-based company provides an extensive range of sheet metal and steel fabrication services, whilst specialising in the manufacture and supply of storage tanks.

Customers include airports, oil and construction companies, heating engineers, builders and plumbing merchants. Another security device to fit to existing tanks is the WatchmanAlarm from Kingspan Environmental, which can alert owners that someone is stealing their oil as it happens. The WatchmanAlarm uses a transmitter on top of the tank, and ultrasonic measuring to continually monitor the level of oil in a tank. Information can be accessed via a receiver plugged into an electric wall socket within the home. In the event of the oil level dropping at a faster rate than usual, the receiver emits a siren-type sound that indicates either a leak or theft is occurring.


Kingspan’s Titan Ecosafe tank which comes complete with WatchmanAlarm for added security

J Seed’s tamper-proof gauge housing


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Tank News Firecheck tank

Biofuel compatibility Biotank

Envirostore’s NEW Firecheck Tank combines the strength and security of steel with the practicality of a plastic inner tank and the protection of a 30 minute fire-rated material. The tank is both weatherproof and secure. With an 805mm diameter, the 1000 litre tank has been designed with the domestic market in mind and comes fully fitted with a lockable lid. A fittings kit is included as standard, as is an Apollo visual contents gauge and an overfill prevention valve.

At OFTEC’s plastic tank manufacturers’ meeting, earlier this year, biofuel compatibility was high on the agenda. Following discussion, members concluded that existing poylmers would be adequate to cope with the current requirement of 10% biofuel content. Beyond that, more research would be needed and will certainly depend on whether 30% biofuel content is approved through the Renewable Heat Incentive in October 2011. Watch this space for further developments…

New website to help installers

L-R UK sales director, Richard Marsh and managing director, Gerry Edwards launched the Firecheck Tank at FPS EXPO in April

Oil Tank Supplies’ (OTS) BioTank uses innovative technology to de-water and cleanse fuel, while also preventing the build up of microbial contamination. The design incorporates pipework and an integral pump, which re-circulates the wetstock periodically through a series of filters and a UV treatment process, which kills off bacteria. Although a first in the fuel oil supply sector, this is mature technology, already being used successfully in the food and drink related industries. For existing installations, the tank pack is also available as a retrofit solution and can be fitted as part of OTS’ TankCare services.

Now under new ownership, 3C Trading offers a full range of bunded oil storage tanks and fuel dispensing systems. “Our new website keeps installers right up-to-date with the latest news and developments. When looking to select the most suitable tank to store a customer’s valuable supply of oil, such information is vital,” said project manager, John Spencer. Preventing contamination with the Biotank from OTS


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Summer 2011 Oil Installer | 25

Tank News

Winter breakdowns “could have been avoided by regular maintenance” More than 30% of boiler breakdowns which took place over the winter could have been avoided through regular maintenance work, according to a Somerset-based fuel company. Tincknell Fuels is an independent family-run business which services more than 10,000 boilers each year, and, in the cold weather last December, received more than 1000 calls in two hours from people who had broken boilers or needed fuel. The main problems were caused by frozen fuel lines, sludge in the systems and lack of servicing, says the company. Robert Tincknell, managing director of Tincknell Fuels - with depots in Avonmouth, Gillingham, Wells, Exeter, Plymouth, Newquay, Southampton and Bridgwater - said: “Now we have had time to analyse the activity from November 2010 to January 2011, where some days saw 30cms of snow falling overnight. Importantly, one of the issues our reports have shown is that at least 30% of the breakdowns we were called to could have been avoided if people had kept on top of servicing and boiler maintenance throughout the year. Winter preparedness “A high proportion of the boilers that broke down had not been serviced for some years and, in these cases, the weather was the final straw.” He added: “We will always do whatever it takes to get to those people who need help. However, we do strongly advise home owners with oil heating systems to take every possible action ahead of the winter this year, and ensure they are not put in potentially dangerous positions again.”

Summer maintenance Paul Rose, OFTEC’s technical manager, agrees that, whilst a heating system is perhaps the last thing on most customers’ minds, the summer months can provide a good opportunity to arrange maintenance work with minimal inconvenience to the equipment owner. “Furthermore,” he says, “Customers can enter into the heating season with the reassurance that their heating system has been recently serviced and should not let them down when it’s needed most. “The extreme temperatures we experienced last winter highlighted the need to service oil tanks and extract any condensation present, either by extraction pump or by using absorbent socks. If left unchecked, beads of water can enter the oil supply pipe and in minus temperatures can freeze and restrict supply.” Paul recommends sending out a postcard reminder to customers with the benefits of getting their system serviced in the summer. “This approach is also beneficial to the technician in being able plan work rather than react to it!” he adds.

Testing, testing – win! A reliable oil pressure gauge is an essential piece of kit for any commissioning or service technician. OFTEC Direct is giving away a free oil pressure gauge kit from Testo – to one lucky competition winner. The kit is worth £69+VAT and comes in a handy carry case containing a 0 to -1 bar vacuum gauge, 0 to 25 bar pressure gauge, adapters and manifold. To enter the competition, simply log onto the OFTEC Direct website at and select the correct answer to the following question. The oil pressure gauge kit from OFTEC Direct is supplied in what? a. A handy carry case b. A large holdall c. A plastic box All the correct answers will go into a draw for the winning prize. The closing date for entries is June 30th 2011. 26 | Oil Installer Summer 2011

Win this Testo oil pressure gauge kit – just log onto and answer the question before the closing date - Thursday 30th June.

Online tank supplier joins OFTEC Based in Newcastle upon Tyne, is a nationwide supplier of above ground fuel, water, waste oil, and rainwater storage tanks, biodiesel and AdBlue tanks, bunker storage, and accessories. The company was established in 2010 by Chris Gregg, who developed a keen interest in ecommerce whilst undertaking an MBA at Newcastle University. “Having acquired an existing ecommerce business that had been successfully trading for a number of years, I soon set about expanding into a number of ebrands to bring seasonal trading consistency, one of which was,” explains Chris. “I would like to thank Michael Barkham of Harlequin Oil Tanks for his help and support throughout the development of the business.” Interested in joining Tankstore’s installation network? Currently, Tankstore is looking to establish a network of regional tank installation companies that meet the criteria of the Environment Agency’s Pollution Prevention Guideline for Above Ground Oil Storage Tanks: PPG2 and, that could send a team to site to install and commission tanks. Interested tank installers can register their interest by emailing a brief introduction to joined OFTEC earlier this year to gain and share news and knowledge and to participate in discussion to promote good practice within the industry. The company, which offers easy and friendly advice on the complex and often confusing regulations relating to fuel and other storage tanks, hopes to move into Europe within the next three years.

Harlequin launches slimline diesel range Following the success of the company’s Slimline oil tank range, Harlequin Plastics has identified similar demand within the diesel fuel market. Harlequin has now designed and launched a range of Slimline Fuel Stations, available in 1300 litre and 2500 litre capacities. In addition to the advantages of incorporating slimmer frame designs, the new tanks also The recently launched Harlequin 2500 litre Slimline Fuel Station benefit from the latest fuel management technology and security features. At just 1385mm wide, the new 1300 litre model can be accommodated at almost any commercial premises. However, despite the reduction in tank dimensions, the tank still incorporates 730mm wide door access. Harelquin’s managing director, Brian McCann, says “The introduction of slimline models within our fuel station range will broaden the appeal of on-site refuelling to customers who are currently restricted by space. Harlequin Slimline Fuel Stations will not only offer the customer convenience, but will also provide secure fuel storage facilities as each tank will be supplied with a range of enhanced security features as standard.”

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New training facility will help bridge the knowledge gap… Mitsubishi Electric has opened a new state-of-the-art renewable training centre at its headquarters in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, enabling the company to double the availability of training courses

Mitsubishi Electric’s Hatfield headquarters - the location of the company’s new training centre

oinciding with the opening, the company is also forging links with schools and colleges to help fill the knowledge gap surrounding renewable technologies, and to assist the next generation of plumbing, heating, air conditioning and photovoltaic (PV) installers. “We intend to increase awareness and understanding of renewable technologies from classroom to career,” explained Donald Daw, commercial director for the company’s living environmental systems division, during the official opening of the training centre. “In doing so, we not only plan to help raise standards within the industry, but also increase the level of understanding amongst the public.” The new facility more than doubles the amount of floor space available for training and will increase the number of training places to 4,000 per year. The centre allows the company to provide 12 different courses, covering air conditioning, domestic heating, commercial heating and control systems. It also provides display areas for all these technologies, together with heat recovery,


28 | Oil Installer Summer 2011

ventilation for both commercial and residential buildings, and the company’s range of PV systems. These showrooms contain a full range of live operational products so that course attendees can go beyond the text book to undertake working diagnostics. The company believes that this is vital if engineers are to gain a complete picture of the issues surrounding the installation and use of renewable technologies.

Lanarkshire College in East Kilbride, both of which will provide training for the Ecodan range of air source heat pumps. Mitsubishi is also in discussion with several other heating and plumbing colleges, with a view to establishing nationally recognised training courses. A pilot programme, designed to increase awareness of the renewable industry amongst school children, is also being developed with local schools in the Hatfield area, to help widen understanding of how the technology works. Once established, the programme will be extended to other schools around the country, near to the company’s network of offices. For Donald Daw, this is a key part of the company’s long-term strategy: “We sit at the crossroads between carbon-based heating for our built environment, and the renewable technology that will help lower monthly bills and cut carbon emissions,” he explained. “However, the renewable industry will fail to realise the full potential of low carbon technologies unless it looks beyond its traditional boundaries and helps to fill the knowledge gap that exists.”

New technologies “crucial” Around 44% of total UK emissions come from buildings, of which, around 83% are generated during the operational life of these buildings. Donald Daw therefore sees the specification, commissioning, installation and maintenance of the technologies used to heat, cool and power buildings, as crucial in helping the country reach tough emissions targets in the coming years. During the past 10 years, Mitsubishi has trained more than 22,000 people across its four dedicated training centres – at Hatfield, Birmingham, Manchester and Livingston. The company has already established close links with Cornwall College and South

Mitsubishi’s commercial director, Donald Daw – keen to raise standards and increase understanding of renewable technologies


Reduced cost training until end August METAC special offer

Trianco extends reduction

METAC Training is offering its 4 in 1 oil training course at a reduced rate of €1499 per person. Fully certified by Blueflame Certification to ISO7024, the course is run over 5 weeks, two days per week. The course includes OFT 50, 101, 105E and 600A. The offer is available until August 31st 2011.

Trianco Training Services has extended the price reduction on its OFTEC combined course, until the end of August. Candidates renewing OFT 101/105E/600A qualifications will pay £400 plus VAT whilst engineers new to the oil industry will pay £490 plus VAT for four days training and assessment, including one day burner training. Training manager, Graham Ward says: “In these recession hit times our customers are increasingly aware of overheads. So with the reduced course fees, becoming trained and qualified to work with oil has never been so affordable. Trianco can now also offer candidates low cost comfortable accommodation close to the training centre.”

Smart metering qualifications In conjunction with EU Skills, BPEC has developed a number of new QCF Smart Metering qualifications for power, gas and dual fuel, designed to provide new entrants with the necessary skills to install and exchange Smart Meters. Email Dunraven launches Apollo Smart – the world’s first oil heating energy monitor – see page 33 Oil practicals at METAC’s Mountrath based training centre in Co. Laois


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Training is not a pre-requisite for assessment

30 | Oil Installer Summer 2011

Up-skilling or changing career? Whether up-skilling or changing career, oil training offers good opportunities. Logic4training has recently launched an OFT50 course aimed at new entrants to the oil-fired heating industry. The course is accepted as an entry level qualification for candidates who wish to move onto the three main OFTEC assessments and join the OFTEC registration scheme. The course also satisfies OFTEC’s category two and three entry requirements.

Lecturer Bob Double in West Suffolk College’s Gas & Oil Training Centre

The Energy Centre at Pembrokeshire College is helping individuals to up-skill and change careers. Nicky Watts from Haverfordwest is a new

entrant who has taken an OFTEC training course: “I’ve been driving petrol tankers for most of my career, but having faced three redundancies I wanted a change in direction.” Email OFTEC approved West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds offers comprehensive training and assessment packages for engineers requiring initial or refresher qualifications. To discuss individual training requirements visit New entrants to the oil-fired heating industry train at Pembrokeshire College - Chris Robinson, Mike Hoyes, Brian Shorricks and former tanker driver, Nicky Watts

Summer 2011 Oil Installer | 31

Training Renewable energy awareness The Professional Training Centre’s two-day Renewable Energy Awareness course is designed to inform and educate on various renewable technologies. The BPEC accredited course aims to provide background and to cover issues such as payback periods, grants and costs. The course consists of seven two-hour modules: energy efficiency; solar thermal hot water; biomass; heat pumps; solar PV; wind power and micro-hydro.

Safer wood burning Specflue is urging homeowners to ensure that wood burning stoves are installed by a qualified HETAS engineer, following the death of a teenager. Earlier this year, Specflue opened Britain’s biggest, dedicated HETAS training facility at its head office in Sudbury, Suffolk. National sales manager, Richard Hiblen, commented: “Many customers who purchase a wood burning stove from the internet don’t realise that it must be fitted with the correct chimney/flue system in order to work correctly and not pose a health or fire threat.” The training centre features a new class room and an example hall fitted with fully working stoves and various flue possibilities.

Read more renewables news on pages 36 – 40.

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The mayor of Sudbury and members of Suffolk Fire Brigade joined Richard Hiblen at the centre’s official opening

Products & Services Smart metering for oil Dunraven Systems has launched Apollo Smart - the world’s first energy monitor for oil heating systems. The monitor incorporates new technology to analyse fuel costs, energy consumption and carbon emissions, on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis. It displays real time temperature information, whilst a unique ‘days to empty’ function reduces the likelihood of consumers running out of heating oil. Dunraven Systems expects to deliver the first Apollo Smart systems to trade and retail partners during the summer.

New Hytek catalogue Featuring more than 125 new and thousands of established products, Hytek has just launched its new 240-page catalogue. There are two print versions of the catalogue - one with prices and one without plus an electronic version. Among the range of new products on offer is a fuel storage tank re-circulation, kit detailed on page 34.

The new, easy to navigate catalogue – an essential resource for specifiers and installers


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Products & Services Oil transfer solution

Cleaner tanks

On certain installations it can be problematic to install a traditional oil reservoir oil lifter. Difficulties can arise when installing a lifter above an appliance or when the height of the lift required is not achievable. An economic alternative is the ‘Oilman’ pump available from Anglo Nordic. This unit has a smaller suction lift than an oil lifter but can pump up 16 metres direct to an appliance. The unit is energy efficient and only pumps when the appliance is running. When a drop in pressure is detected in the supply line, a pressure switch will switch the pump on. Another advantage is that the pump does not require a return line to be taken from the appliance back to the tank. Whilst the ‘Oilman’ is ideal for the domestic and light commercial market, at up to 30 l/hr output, other models are available for the commercial market. Email to request a complete catalogue for oil heating components.

Hytek’s FM.RK fuel storage tank re-circulation kit prevents the degradation of fuel inside storage tanks. Fuel passes through a fuel conditioner to prevent microbial growth and is automatically recirculated 1.5 times every 28 days. When the pump flow rate drops below a preset limit, indicating a clogged filter, the flow switch closes and a flashing light shows. With the introduction of up to 7% FAME (biofuel) in gasoil, sales director, Andy Seal, said: “We’ve seen a huge increase in sales of our particle and water block filter, with customers asking for better filtration from the traditional 30 micron filtration down to 10 micron, particularly in the agricultural and plant sectors”.

Re-circulation kit prevents fuel degradation The energy efficient Oilman from Anglo Nordic

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01443 814932

Danfoss for biofuels

New at Snugburner

Danfoss service pumps are now fully compatible for use with bio-fuels blends up to 10%; giving engineers piece of mind that the components they are using are suitable for the latest fuels. Plus the pumps’ new packaging gives added protection look out for the red boxes when purchasing your new service pump. See also page 9.

Snugburners are now manufactured to take the new alloy fan/blast tube assembly. By undoing four 12mm nuts the assembly removes easily for servicing, dispensing the need for wicks, spirit levels and decarbonising bundy tubes, and ensuring that the burner remains in place. Nozzle spacing and centralising are also facilitated. Additionally, the company’s new PCB controls switches off the oil if a downdraft is detected and speeds up the fan to maximum. Snugburner is also providing bolt on conversions for solid fuel AGAs manufactured as far back as the 1940s. Snugburner believes its conversions provide more heat into both ovens than new factory made oil cookers.

Perfectly packaged pumps from Danfoss

EOGB – new website and blog This month EOGB Energy Products launches its new website at “Much clearer and easier to use, our new website has direct links to EOGB’s online spares catalogue,” said Stewart Binnie, sales & marketing director. “The site also has useful articles, its own blog plus links to industry information and areas of particular interest for customers. We welcome feedback to the blog as well as to any other aspect of the site at

The 24 volt built in Snugburner

Formerly manufactured by

Thermostatic Fire Valve (TFV) If you take pride in your work, you’ll only want the best capillary fire valve available – the one that guarantees more safety, flexibility and reliability with less hassle. That fire valve is made by FuelStop. • The only capillary fire valve to meet BS 5410 part 1

• The widest range of pipe connections and capillary lengths on the market

• Designed and manufactured to eliminate nuisance trips

• Pipe connections of 3⁄8” and 1⁄2” ensure optimum flow rate

• The FuelStop TFV is liquid-filled and offers more reliability in all weathers than gas-filled products

• Suitable for up to 5 bar of incoming fuel pressure

t 0118 921 9920

• Easy to install

f 0118 921 9921 e

Manufactured by FuelStop, Unit 1, Woodley Park Estate, 59-69 Reading Road, Woodley, Reading, Berkshire RG5 3AN

Summer 2011 Oil Installer |35

Renewables Renewable solutions for sheltered housing and listed building schemes Sheltered housing schemes, featuring renewable products from Grant UK, have been instrumental in helping Stroud District Council – winners of the 2010 Green Energy Award - with its green housing energy initiative. The objective on both sheltered housing projects was to provide a renewable solution to meet the needs of the communal areas, in terms of hot water supply and heating. At one scheme, an Aurora solar thermal system, providing approximately 2,247kWh of energy per annum, was installed by the Cotswold Energy Efficiency Centre. The system was installed in conjunction with a Grant Aerona air source heat pump to provide heating for the communal areas, via Smith’s Ecovector low level fan convectors replacing the existing night storage heating system. In addition to providing heating, the heat pump also acts as a back-up to further

heat the hot water if the temperature set by the cylinder’s thermostat is not reached. A similar system was also installed at Stroud’s other sheltered housing scheme.

Lower energy bills Adrian Jacques, energy officer for Stroud District Council, commented: “We are pleased with the installation; even during the recent harsh winter months, our bills were below 2008 levels. This is before any potential Renewable Heat Incentive payments are factored in.” In another scheme – a Grade II listed building in Cowes on the Isle of Wight - a range of renewable technologies from Grant UK were adopted to overcome the constraints of the existing building and to make it as energy-efficient as possible. Although one of the oldest buildings in Cowes, the developer succeeded in obtaining listed building consent to install an on-roof

Grant Solar PV system - comprising 38 x 180W modules on the south facing roof to provide approximately 6,100kWh of energy per annum. Used in conjunction with Grant’s Grid inverters, revenue will be generated from the production of electricity via the government’s FiT scheme. Commenting on the project, developer Ian Glasspool, said: “I decided to use products from Grant UK for a number of reasons, but primarily because of the excellent customer service and technical support they have provided on previous installations. Purchasing the entire range of products from a single supplier also makes sense, as it ensures compatibility when integrating the various renewable technologies.” The Sail Loft - one of the oldest buildings in Cowes - benefits from the installation of an onroof Grant Solar PV system

Renewables Roadshow to tour the UK A series of Renewables Roadshows is to be held in September.

6th Reebok Stadium, Bolton 8th Ricoh Arena, Coventry 13th The Centaur, Cheltenham 15th Wembley Stadium, London 20th International Centre, Harrogate 22nd SECC, Glasgow

Sponsored by Plumb Center, the above events are aimed at visitors who purchase, or have a direct influence on the procurement of, renewable technologies – from sole trader installers to large 36 | Oil Installer Summer 2011

contractors, specifiers, and maintenance and repair professionals. Visitors will be able to attend workshops, seminars and demonstrations, enabling them to gain a better understanding of renewable technologies. Technologies on display will include air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, solar PV, solar thermal, heat and water efficient technologies, energy management systems, biomass, greywater recycling, rainwater harvesting, insulation and much more. Stakeholders in the tour include such organisations as OFTEC, the Energy Saving Trust and the Carbon Trust. Visitors can register for free tickets at

Grant launches renewables installer scheme To coincide with the government’s proposed introduction of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) in summer 2011, Grant is introducing the ‘G-One Scheme’, allowing installers to become ‘Grant Accredited’ to fit renewable technologies, such as the Aerona air source heat pump range. For many years, Grant has forged close relationships with installers. However, the G-One scheme takes this partnership to a new level by providing installers with the essential tools to confidently embrace renewable technologies - including tailor made training courses, hands-on support and installer-friendly products. In turn, consumers will be confident that their renewable heating/hot water system was installed to the highest possible standards by a manufacturer’s certified installer, ensuring the best efficiency, reliability and return on their investment.

To become a Grant accredited heat pump installer, applicants must successfully complete a course, be a registered company, hold adequate public liability insurance, comply with the Grant accredited heat pump installer code of conduct, and actively promote, specify and install Grant products.

“ the G-One scheme provides installers with the essential tools to confidently embrace renewable technologies”

A new tool is featured on the latest Grant website which allows users to calculate how much power could be produced by installing Grant Solar PV – and how much income could be generated under the government’s feed-in-tariff (FiT) scheme. The calculator works out system size, approximate solar gain, and FiT rates on domestic and commercial systems up to 550 modules. It also takes into account variables which can affect actual performance, such as time of year, location, weather, etc.

Working with oil and renewables? Share your experiences with Oil Installer readers

More information can be found on the Grant UK website: or telephone the Grant Training Academy on 01380 736943.

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Renewables Frustration – the mother of invention… Years of frustration at continually being told that solar thermal collectors were only useful for domestic hot water systems, convinced Matt Lee – founder of Cheltenham-based solar energy business, So-Lar Smart Heating Systems - that there had to be a more effective way to capitalise on the redundancy of so much natural energy. Having been 18 years in the plumbing and heating industry, and knowing that there were no conventional solutions that could be readily adapted, he started to ‘think outside the box’. Matt’s theory was that, if solar-heated water could be supplied to under-floor heating systems - or even conventional radiators - in a way that was affordable, then solar panels could be providing ‘more for longer’, together with a substantial saving on domestic fuel. His challenge was therefore to get the under-floor heating and the hot water cylinder to work together. This could only be facilitated through an intelligent control package and an adapted cylinder that could both receive and supply energy. SUNi Solutions is born… Thus the concept was born, and “SUNi” was created as a new brand to fully capitalise on solar energy. “It sounds easy,” said Matt, “but it has taken years of work to bring the invention to fruition, protect the intellectual property and secure the financial backing to make the business a commercial reality. I’m pleased to say that we have now achieved all three.” Matt then explained the challenges he faced… “To achieve hot water within the domestic hot water cylinder to 35C, all that is often required on the roof, or at the collectors, is just 39C – a temperature that is possible up to 10 months of the year,” he said. Recognising all the obvious problems, contradictions and challenges that surrounded his quest, the basis of Matt’s eventual design was a three-coil cylinder where the bottom two coils operate conventionally in ‘accepting’ hot water, with the third distributing hot

Matt Lee puts the finishing touches to a SUNi Solutions charity installation his company has recently undertaken for Hop, Skip & Jump – a play and support centre in the Cotswolds for children with special needs

water to under-floor heating or radiators. The control package had to regulate in-flow and out-flow so as to enable constant temperatures in tandem with any supplementary energy supply that may, from time-to-time, be needed. “After various test and installation configurations, I took my designs to a few well-respected figures within our industry and the general opinion was that this was an ‘interesting concept’,” he continued. “I applied for my first patent back in Nov 2005, and then the hard work and R&D really started.” Matt had a brief excursion with Dragons Den where, he says, he “broke their rules”. But this led to the exposure he needed, and, ultimately, to investment and support from steam technology entrepreneur, Tim Gardner. After years of frustration, setbacks, and ultimately the recognition he truly deserved, Matt founded his company, So-Lar Smart Heating Systems, as the vehicle to market SUNi Solutions. This is now considered by the industry as a major breakthrough in solar thermal technology, allowing free underfloor warmth as well as domestic hot water from solar panels.

Website helps solar panel customers is a new website to help consumers discover the potential benefits of solar panels, without having to arrange individual cost quotations. The free-to-use website offers a comparison of prices and details of local installers, the most suitable systems, warranties, specifications, etc. If interested, the customer can make an online request for a site visit and specific cost quotation from up to three chosen solar installers. “Buying solar panels can be a daunting task, but becomes clear, quick and easy with CompareMySolar,” says the company.

Verdo to expand retail network Plans to establish a network of 150 retailers across the UK have been announced by Verdo Renewables, one of Europe’s top manufacturers of eco friendly wood fuel products. As well as traditional domestic fuel suppliers, Verdo is looking to recruit hardware retailers, garden centres, farm shops and agricultural supply outlets to retail both its wood pellets and briquettes. Verdo briquettes are used in open fires, wood burners and multi-fuel stoves, whilst the company’s wood pellets are used in biomass heating systems. The company is expanding its current UK network of 34 retailers, in response to growing demand for its energy efficient wood fuel products, manufactured exclusively from sustainable virgin timber at plants in Andover, Hampshire and Grangemouth, Scotland. 38 | Oil Installer Summer 2011

Verdo briquettes – soon to have wider availability in the UK



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Legal Keep the right records Whether you work for yourself or run a small business employing others, good record-keeping has a number of benefits. If your records are upto-date, it makes filling in your tax return easier and could help you avoid paying too much tax. Keeping track of your income and expenses will also help you budget for any tax you owe. Up-to-date records also give you the information you need to manage your business and help it grow. They will make it easier to get a loan and may support a claim for tax relief or capital allowance. Invoices and receipts should be kept to show what you have bought or sold. If you have employees you must keep records of their wages and the tax and National Insurance you have deducted and paid to HMRC. If you use cash, retain till receipts and use a record book to keep track. If you are using part of your home for business then you should keep copies of utility bills, to work out the amount spent in relation to your business. You should update information regularly – if you don’t you may face a penalty. Business Link’s online record checker will tell you how to set up a basic record-keeping system and which records to keep. HMRC has produced a basic factsheet on record-keeping.

Protecting the OFTEC logo The OFTEC logo is a valuable marketing tool and a well-known brand with both consumers and the trade. For consumers it provides reassurance that their technician is competent and insured to work in their home. OFTEC works closely with trading standards to identify misuse of the logo on websites and in advertisements and promotional material. Like every valuable brand, the OFTEC logo needs protecting. There are basic rules on the use of the logo, which ensure that technicians and companies get the most out of the OFTEC endorsement. Undertaking an OFTEC course and assessment does not automatically mean that a technician is registered or entitled to display the logo. The appropriate logo

Revoked registrations

may only be used while you are qualified and paid up as a registered technician or business, or a current member, or after your product’s OFCERT® licence has been issued. Only OFTEC themselves are allowed to use the logo in isolation (no wording beneath) or in conjunction with the words ‘Registration Services’. Even if your business sub-contracts oil firing works to registered technicians, your business – if not itself OFTEC registered - is not authorised to use the trademark, and certainly cannot claim OFTEC registration when it is not the case. Please ensure that you are entitled to display the OFTEC logo and that the logo displayed is the appropriate one for you and your registered business. The guidelines for use and display of the logo are available from OFTEC as a document entitled PUB.59.

The following installers have had their registration withdrawn for non-compliance of rectification notices, which were issued during routine inspections. Timothy Price Pricewise Heating & Plumbing C6448 Stephen Burton Plum Services C6529 Paul Williams Pipe Dreams Heating Limited C7988 Paul Stone Thermal Heating & Plumbing C6604

Erroneous installation Whilst there may be no statutory legal requirements for tank installation, safety, common sense and OFTEC guidelines should always be applied. Chris Gray, senior field engineer at Tanks R Us was called out to the ‘installation’ shown here. Chris said: “This tank was supported by one wobbly pier and a garden wall! We replaced it with a new plastic tank at ground level. The original tank had a hosepipe between the tank and boiler - had this possibly been used as sleeving? No, it had actually served as the oil pipe for many years – it too was replaced with a new copper coated oil line sleeved in alcathene. Send your installation horror stories to 40 | Oil Installer Summer 2011

Listen while you work Oil Installer was contacted recently by J Seed’s sales manager, Wendi Whittle, with an issue that may concern other readers For many years, J Seed has had a radio in the canteen to which employees listen whilst taking a break from manufacturing the company’s tank range. About three years ago, the Preston-based tank manufacturer was contacted by PRS for Music and advised that a music licence was required. J Seed duly applied and paid for the appropriate licence which it continued to pay annually. This February, the company received a call from licensing company, PPL, stating that J Seed needed an additional licence and that a quotation would be sent in the post. Two days later, an invoice for over £2500 was received from PPL which included a 50% surcharge for years unpaid. After some discussion, the company has managed to get this amount somewhat reduced. Wendi told Oil Installer: “Needless to say all radios have now been removed from our premises!” Concerned that other companies may inadvertently be breaking the law, Oil Installer spoke to the two licensing companies involved to investigate this issue further. What do you need? Outside the domestic environment, companies that wish to play recorded music - from any source (radio, CD, iPod, online etc) - are required to purchase separate music licences from both PPL and PRS for Music; two different not for profit companies. PPL collects and

distributes money for the use of recorded music on behalf of performers and record companies whilst PRS for Music does the same but on behalf of songwriters, publishers and composers. Tariffs can vary and may depend on information such as the audible space, number of employees and extent to which the music is used. Even a lone worker, working at home, may still need to apply for a licence or at the very least, seek further information. PRS for Music operates a discretionary policy and lone workers will not require a licence if they meet certain criteria but this is not the case with PPL. PPL will also charge for past unlicensed use (up to six years) and an additional 50% surcharge to cover administration and action required. PRS for Music operates slightly differently. If a company is found to be using music without a licence they will be put on to a higher rate for the first year and then drop on to the normal tariff thereafter. Spot checks are made by both companies but in slightly different ways. PPL either telephones or visits a business, without prior arrangement, to check if recorded music is being played without a licence. PRS for Music writes to companies to make them aware of the licensing situation, then follows up with a telephone call. If there is no response, a personal visit may be booked. PPL and PRS for music are jointly running a campaign to highlight the benefits that playing music can bring to your business. For details go to For further information and to find out if your company needs a licence go to and If your company has had a similar experience to that of J Seed, please email

66% OF EMPLOYEES SAID MUSIC MADE THEM MORE MOTIVATED.* Music is good for business – the simple act of turning music on can make a huge difference to productivity and sales. PPL makes music work for you by offering licensing solutions for playing recorded music in public. If you’re playing recorded music in the workplace – including offices and factories – a music licence is needed. For more information on how to obtain your PPL music licence** visit or call 020 7534 1095. To make music work for you visit


stomers New cu all cost the over reduce ensing year’s lic t rs fi r and of thei acting us † by cont il’ ’Fuel O quoting 34 020 75

1095 *MusicWorks survey of 2000 people, conducted March 2009. ** If you play recorded music in public it is a legal requirement to obtain the correct PPL licence, failure do so may result in legal action. PPL is different from PRS for Music. PPL collects and distributes money on behalf of record companies and performers whilst PRS for Music collects and distributes money on behalf of songwriters, composers and publishers. Both licences must be obtained to ensure all copyright holders are fairly paid. † If you play recorded music in your business without obtaining a PPL music licence you would normally incur a 50% surcharge on your licensing fee. However, by proactively contacting PPL to declare your music usage and quoting ‘Fuel Oil’ this would not be applicable – the equivalent of a 33% saving.

Summer 2011 Oil Installer | 41

Gallery Oil Installer took the opportunity to visit Ecobuild at London’s Excel in March where several familiar faces were to be found visiting and exhibiting at the three-day show

Worcester, Bosch announced its presence in the entrance hall; visitors to the company’s stand were able to see the newly launched underfloor heating system.

On the Grant UK stand, marketing manager, Anna Wakefield reported great interest in the company’s renewable technologies including its cylinder range.

Always keen to keep up with the latest trends Stuart Bratt(r), Specific Oil Solutions, was spotted with Kingspan’s Nigel Frearson.

Attracting considerable attention was this solar thermal vacuum tube collector on the Kingspan Renewables stand

Dame Ellen opens ground source heat site A newly renovated 15th century village hall at Alderwasley, Derbyshire, now enjoys heat from the latest ground source heating system to ensure that the villagers are warm, even in the coldest weather. The building was officially re-opened recently by round-theworld yachtswoman, Dame Ellen MacArthur. English Heritage had put the Grade II listed building on the “building at risk” register and so any work carried out had to comply with their stringent guidelines. The site also lacked a water supply, limiting its use. Water & Energy Field Services of Draycott, Derbyshire, were appointed as contractors for the heating system and designed a ground array to support a peak load of 14kW, requiring two105m deep boreholes. A Vaillant Geotherm heat pump was installed and linked to a 300 litre buffer tank. The use of the boreholes also solved the problem of a reliable water supply to the hall. The £262,000 scheme means that the building now has an underfloor heating system, designed to maintain a set ambient temperature. Early data suggests efficiency (coefficient of 42 | Oil Installer Summer 2011

Dame Ellen MacArthur (far right) officially re-opened the Water & Energy Field Services site, featuring ground source heat and a borehole

performance) of around 3.8. Chris Barbour, director of Water & Energy Field Services, commented: “We relished the challenge of working on such a complex project. There was a balancing act to ensure that the main objective of providing a warm and sustainable environment for the people of Alderwasley was achieved”.

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Oil Installer Summer 2011  

Oil Installer Summer 2011

Oil Installer Summer 2011  

Oil Installer Summer 2011