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"A Plumbers Life"




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By Paul Tilford, Mar 14 2016 10:45AM

Week commencing 7th March 2016

Hi everyone and welcome to my new website courtesy of those lovely people at "THE DIGITAL HUT”, and what will hopefully be, the first of many weekly blogs from me Paul the plumber. This week has been A particularly hectic one with a trio of gas boiler replacements being quoted on and getting a nod for each installation.

Monday 7th March

On the back of a referral from an ex services friend of mine, I visited Mrs Dean in Newton le scales. I knocked on the door and was greeted by an extremely well dressed lady of advanced years with the most formidable smile. “Paul” she gushed. “Am I glad to see you”. She walked me into the kitchen and with an accusing finger pointed at her Ideal Isar boiler and said “can you get me a replacement for this piece of crap? Its driving me up the wall”. “Absolutely" I replied after coming round from the shock of such a well dressed lady being so forthright. She smiled at me on my reply and having obviously noticed my reaction to her description of the boiler lent over and said “I like to curse now and then”. "Funny that” I said “so do I”. So over tea and dunkies she related to me the catalogue of problems the boiler had given her over the last few months, before deciding to replace it with a new one. After a short chat on the pros and cons of various make and model of boilers, she decided on a 28w Baxi Platinum ERP combination boiler which boasts a fantastic 10yr parts ands labour warranty as standard. I immediately phoned my supplier and got her a quote for the boiler and installation which also included a NEST thermostat and system filter. Happy with the price she asked when could I do the work? “tomorrow” I replied. "If thats ok with you” “Wonderful” she said. I got back to my suppliers and ordered the boiler for the next morning.

Tuesday 8th March

Back at Mrs Deans. Having sympathetically removed the old ideal gas boiler, I didn’t have long to wait before the door bell rang and George was on the door step with the new Baxi platinum boiler. As with a lot of replacement boilers a certain amount of re-jigging of pipework is required and new holes for condense pipework etc have to be drilled. From start to finish the whole replacement took 7hrs. I explained the workings of her new boiler to Mrs Dean and set up her 10yr warranty using the Baxi warranty APP on my phone. I left the property to the sound of a very happy lady chuffed with her new appliance.

Wednesday 9th March

Wednesday morning saw me in Thornton Cleveleys at an house owned by a Mr inman, a landlord I do a fare amount of work for. Todays job was to replace an old Worcester 28i combination boiler with a new Worcester greenstar 28i ERP combination gas boiler. Mrs Glossop, the tenant greeted me at the door and after passing a few pleasantries she informed me that she was going out and wouldn’t be back till 1800hrs that evening. Now, it”s nice to have the customer around when your doing an installation incase of any impromptu decisions that might have be made. However, it is also nice when the customer hands you a big handful of trust and leaves you alone to get on with it. Even better still when the landlord is forward thinking and has had every thing delivered to the address the day before and a note detailing location of the stop cock, gas meter etc, brilliant. So with my trusted DAB radio playing Aerosmith on planet rock I commenced to remove the old Worcester boiler and replace it with the new Grecnstar 28i ERP combination boiler. As this was near as dam it a straight swap over with the installation again incorporated a new system filter. the whole job was completed by 1500 hrs. I left Mrs Glossop the user instructions and a note saying if there was any thing she didn’t understand to just give me a call. I informed Mr Inman all was finished and looking good. Nice relaxing installation. No pressure. Fantastic.

Thursday 10th March

This job never ceases to amaze me. Frantic phone call from a customer at 5am stating that he had just arrived back from holiday to find water running out of the light fitting in his living room ceiling. I informed the customer Mr James to turn off the stop cock and await my arrival. 40 minutes later I’m in Bamber bridge. A knock at the door brings a very upset Mrs James to let me in. Being very tied from a long haul flight and being greeted with water every where on returning home just was a little bit too much for the poor lady. Mr james informed me that they had just had a new kitchen fitted prior to going on holiday and that the plumber they had used and who was not answering his phone had boxed in the stop cock and therefore the water could not be turned off. Goody gum drops I thought I know where I’m heading. I go outside and locate the external stop tap chamber and yes you’ve guessed it. Those lovely people at the utilities have done a fantastic job and kept the chamber nice and clean and free of mud and stone. NOT. So its 06.15 and raining and I’m laying on the path on my stomach with my arm up to my armpits trying to clear a mud clogged chamber so i can isolate the incoming supply to the property. I wish it was yesterday again. Having finally isolated the incoming supply I systematically work my way round the property to try and assess which pipes might be causing the problem. The heating pipework was quickly ruled out and with a bit of tooing and frowing so was the hot water. Then just as I’m about to decide which room to start checking the cold water pipes there”s a an almighty crash and the living room ceiling is on the living room floor, and as if by magic the culprit is unmasked. When the house was built the plumbers for what reason I do don’t know decided to take the bathroom toilet overflow pipe under the bathroom floor and run it the full length of the house above the living room ceiling and out through the wall at the front of the house. What had happened was the ball valve in the toilet had broken the water filling the cistern had gone down the overflow as it should. However the overflow pipe above the living room ceiling had come apart depositing lire after litre of water into the ceiling void. All that damage and all that was needed was a new ball valve. Crazy. After such an early start and drenching, I decide to spend the rest of the day at home doing paperwork. Not my favourite pass time but at least its warm and dry.

Friday 11th March

Fantastic close to home today. Replacement boiler going in to Mrs Lee”s house in Kirkham. At first glance it seems a pretty straight forward job. Conventional ideal boiler out with a straight replacement with a main 24i conventional ERP boiler. Unfortunately not so. The boiler has a vertical flue kit attached to it, going through a single story building roof. When the boiler was fitted the flue was supported by 2 brackets in the roof space. The building ceiling was then fitted round the flue. What the installer failed to realise was that once the ceiling was in there was no means of accessing brackets to the flue should the flue or boiler need to be replaced. So I’m left with 2 options. Try and get to the brackets through the roof or remove part of the ceiling. As the pitch of the roof was so steep and yet again raining, the best option was taking down part of the ceiling. Having removed the ceiling section and the flue dismantled the rest of the boiler replacement went pretty well. The customer again had a new system filter fitted and also up graded the heating pump to a new energy efficient A rated one. Bit of a long day this one, but yet another happy customer.

No rest for the wicked. Was looking forward to a couple of days off but my daughter has decided her bedroom needs updating. Wonderful. Till next time.

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