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Campaign Highlights the Damage Caused by Hard Water

The Campaign

In Kent (the area with some of the hardest tap water in the UK), a national campaign has been launched by Harvey Water Softeners to help raise awareness and highlight the damage hard water can cause.

The campaign will run across the area of Kent during the months of October and November, called the Stop Scale and Scum campaign and then it will embark on a yearlong tour of England to the areas who suffer with some of the worst hard water conditions. The purpose of the campaign is to draw attention to the damage hard water can cause. Harvey Water Softeners is highlighting to homeowners the massive impact their water could be having on their finances. With Kent having some of the largest hotspots of hard water in the UK due to the large geological formations largely made up of chalk.

Principal hydrogeochemist for the British Geological Survey, Pauline Smedley said, “Many of the water companies in the South East of England extract groundwater from chalk bedrock for their water supply, it’s our most significant aquifer in terms of the volumes extracted. Chalk groundwater is typically hard because chalk is composed almost entirely of calcium carbonate, which dissolves readily with the aid of carbon dioxide in the water. The dissolved calcium produced is responsible for the formation of hard water.”

Damage and Problems Caused by Hard Water

The high levels of calcium and magnesium that are in the hard water is a major cause of limescale build up inside home appliances such as boilers, kettles and washing machines. Water softening units can be plumbed into domestic or commercial properties in orders to remove the minerals from the main water supply helping to reduce the build-up of limescale. Drinking water taps that are fitted alongside still allow people to enjoy the taste of the hard water but protect the appliances in their home. Listed below is some of the damage and problems caused by hard water.

  • Build-up of limescale in appliances
  • Shorter appliance lifespans
  • Poor flowing pipes
  • Reduced efficiency of heating systems
  • Boiler overheating due to higher pressures
  • Personal care such as washing hair is more difficult
  • Blocked pipes
  • Up to a 75% loss of flow on showers

A Growing Problem

Demand for softened water is the Kent area has almost doubled in the last 12 months, according to Harvey Water Softeners. This is seen as a sign that the problem is getting worse as more housing developments are built across Kent.

Harvey Bowden, founder of Harvey Water Softeners aid, “I’ve worked in the area for 40 years but I’m always surprised to see just how quickly hard water can have an impact; in extreme cases, I’ve seen people go through brand new kettles in just 4 months or taps seize up all together. Soft water isn’t just good for people’s pockets, but it can also keep homes warmer as heating systems work better.

”Our message to the people of Kent and people in hard water areas is check your water hardness. Use our water hardness postcode checker and look inside your kettle or other appliances for any signs of limescale.”

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Gas and Heating Engineers Are Britain’s Most Trusted Tradespeople

A recent study by HomeServe found that gas and heating engineers are the nation’s most trustworthy tradespeople, with more than one if five UK homeowners choosing them as their tradespeople of choice. The poll concluded with gas and heating engineers coming out in first place, this was followed by electricians, plumbers, painters and decorators, landscape gardeners and joiners.

A Trustworthy Engineer

The most important attribute was the trustworthiness of gas engineers; homeowners believe them to one of the most trustworthy tradespeople in the UK due to the nature of the work they carry out. Engineers also ranked highly for honesty, reliability, quality of work and the qualifications they hold.

Greg Reed, chief marketing officer at HomeServe said “Before we let tradespeople have access to our homes, often for several hours, we obviously need to be completely confident we can trust them to do the job with competence and honesty. Hundreds of our engineers are working in homes across the UK every day, so we know how important this is to our own customers when they turn to us for help.”

Choosing the Right Engineer

When it comes to choosing a heating or gas engineer it can be quite confusing with many out there it can seem quite daunting. With many looking and choosing because of how a business might look, it’s time to think again; if you choose a business because it has a nice logo or branding or look good then it’s time to rethink your choice of engineer.

Looks may be one thing and usually most people who have a nice-looking website are quality engineers but it’s always important to double check. Even been rated the most trustworthy in the UK, it’s always important to consider all options; make sure you check out reviews for independent sites or check word of mouth. With several major reviews sites, out there, there’s no reason not to, it may seem like a hassle to check someone out (especially when you’re in a rush) but make sure you do. Would you trust a roller-coaster operator who rushed through a safety check.

Being Recognised

An important aspect to consider when choosing a heating and gas engineer is to consider any accreditation’s they may have. These could be with trusted companies such as Vaillant, Worcester Bosch, Trusted Trader and most importantly make sure they’re Gas Safe Registered.

Jonathan Samuel, chief executive at Gas Safe Register, added: “Having any kind of work done can be stressful, and knowing that the person who is undertaking work is a suitably qualified professional like a Gas Safe registered engineer is a great help.”

The study found that over 85% of homeowners deemed qualifications and accreditation’s, to be an important consideration when choosing a gas and heating engineer. Trust is earned by choosing a company who has reputable accreditation’s will mean you’re choosing a company that adheres to strict guidelines set out by these recognised companies.

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Baxi Highlights the Danger of CO Poisoning

A recently carried out survey has released figures which have shown that there has been a 10% rise in suspected carbon monoxide (CO) poisonings in the UK. Baxi one of the leading UK boiler manufacturers is championing the importance of gas safety for homes and businesses.

Gas Safety Week

Every year Baxi and the Gas Safe Register work together for gas safety week. They hold this annual event to help raise the awareness of poorly maintained gas appliances in homes and businesses. This is so they can outline the seriousness of the associated consequences relations to carbon monoxide and poorly maintained gas appliances. This year was more important than ever due to the 10% rise in suspected CO poisonings over the last 2 years in the UK.

Jon Phillips, head of management for Baxi put out a statement which said, “Every day, four people will go to hospital with CO poisoning, which is a deeply worrying statistic. Gas Safety Week is an opportunity to consider how we can reduce gas related incidents through taking every available precaution when it comes to installing and maintaining gas appliances. For gas installers, CO is an all too familiar risk. As industry experts, out on the front line they are ideally placed to help hammer the message home and raise awareness of safety standards across the board. Gas safety is about educating both the industry and the public, and the awareness raised by Gas Safety Week is vital to that”.

Dangers of CO on People

Everybody has a different tolerance level to carbon monoxide this can be altered by many different factors such as ventilation in the room, activity level or any preexisting medical conditions; this can also differ depending on whether exposure is continuous or at varying intervals.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

  • Tension type headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Impaired mental state
  • Tiredness and confusion
  • Chest pain
  • Stomach pain
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Ataxia
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures

Although the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be similar to other illnesses like flu, one important factor to remember is with CO poisoning you won’t suffer a high temperature.

Protect Yourself

One of the main and simplest ways a gas safe registered engineer can help to protect customers against carbon monoxide is via a CO alarm. It is recommended that for anyone with wood burning fires or people who have traditional gas boilers to have CO alarms installed on each floor. It is recommended for people who have combi boilers installed in their home or business to have a CO alarm fitted in the same room as their boiler.

By having a CO alarm fitted it can act as an early warning system, this will warn you when carbon monoxide is leaking or when the alarm itself needs changing; acting in a similar way to how a traditional fire alarm would but for CO instead. It is also advisable to have an alarm fitted in rooms where you have other gas alarms fitted. Alarms should be regularly serviced by gas safe registered engineers to make sure the alarms are safe and still suitable to use.

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Creating Bathrooms That Are Arthritis-Friendly

When it comes to bathrooms, it’s important to take into consideration the different aspects of them when designing and installing bathrooms for people who suffer from arthritis. For people who suffer from arthritis bathrooms need to be safe and comfortable for them to use.

The UK is already home to around 10 million who suffer from some sort of arthritis, with the population continuing to age and exercise levels declining year on year, the problem is set to keep growing. Lack of exercise and age are the two main aspects associated with the disease.

What Does It Mean for Installers

Experts are warning of what they’re calling an imminent arthritis epidemic and due to the increase of the disease in people, the demand for adaptations in the home is also massively increasing, especially in the bathroom. The need for adaptations is expected to continue growing especially with the promotion of independent living in people of all ages and disabilities.

In June this year, it was revealed by the results of the accessible housing survey that more than one million people in the UK are planning to have disabled adaptations made to their bathroom. With most people stating that they planned to have them installed either immediately or within a few years.

By choosing an appropriate and qualified bathroom installer they can work with you to assess the space you have available and help create spaces that are appropriate and meet the diverse needs of people who suffer from arthritis. An experienced bathroom installer who specialises in disabled adaptations can help evaluate each aspect of the traditional bathroom to make it suitable for people who suffer from the condition.

What Makes a Bathroom Arthritis-Friendly

Mobility Aids

These are devices that aid in the mobility of people when using the bathroom, these can include things such as grab rails and bars, which are both critical design elements in bathroom design for people that suffer from the condition. These aids should be installed around toilets, baths, basins and in and around shower areas to make them more accessible. These mobility aids need to be strong enough to support heavy loads, and are usually designed to hold up to 100kg. Good quality bathroom aids are typically designed out of UPVC, as they provide strength, are hygienic and easy to clean.

Washing Zones

These can vary in options, with walk in baths being the most obvious option but these usually depend on budget due to a higher cost. A more cost effective alternative is level access wet rooms; these remove any potential trip hazards and make the most the space that’s available in the bathroom. When selecting a shower model, it’s important to consider peoples limited dexterity as they will need options that have easy buttons to control temperature and flow.

Toilets

The most common and cost effective disabled adaption for toilets is raised toilet seats, these make it easier for people who use it to get on and off with ease. Specially adapted toilet chairs can also be used to allow easier access to toilet facilities. Not only is the toilet an important thing to think about but the flushing mechanism is too, levers are usually the best option for people who suffer from arthritis as a firm grip isn’t needed to flush it.

Washbasins

When it comes to washbasins the main disability aid to consider is the taps. People who suffer from arthritis will have limited dexterity and will find it difficult to turn the tap on and off, the best option to provide ease of use would be level taps.

Individual Needs

The most important thing is to design a bathroom that is welcoming and safe for everyone to use, by having a bathroom that includes the right adaptations allows for people who suffer from arthritis to enjoy the benefits of independent living. When it comes to designing and installation a one size fits all isn’t the answer, everyone who suffers from arthritis will have different ranges of mobility. Using a disabled bathroom adaptations specialist will help you assess the bathroom space you have available and what adaptations you need to suit your needs.