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Concealed Plumbing Options
Many people strive to obtain a clean and uncluttered look in their bathroom, but often end up with visible plumbing and waste pipes, particularly when the layout of the bathroom has been changed from the way it was when the house was built. If there is sufficient space, walls can be build out to provide a cleaner look as well as a place to hide pipe work and even the toilet cistern.
The first factor to consider is where the fixtures of the bathroom are to be placed in relation to their entry or exit points in the room. It is generally very difficult to move pipe work and can result in re-routing being done under the floor, or soil pipes being extended along the outside of the building. In some cases, particularly in flats and multiple occupancy buildings, it isn’t possible to make these changes so in many cases pipes are re-routed around the inside walls.
Simply boxing in pipe work doesn’t solve the problem in a particularly attractive way and looks dated, as well as making the bathroom hard to clean since it creates a multitude of places for dust and dirt to land. Boxing in pipe work also creates a problem of putting an attractive finish on the boxed in parts. Tiling these boxes can be difficult and painting can be unattractive.
It is far better to create a much larger boxed in area which can become a feature of the room. The boxed in area would typically be up to a foot in depth and up to approximately the same height as the sink would be located. Sinks are available which are designed to be mounted into boxed in sections, and concealed toilet cisterns are available so that the pan mounts directly to the boxed in area, with a hidden frame supporting the weight. A back-to-wall toilet, as they are known, also has the benefit of making the room easier to clean since there is no need for it to be in contact with the floor. Having the cistern hidden also means that it is less likely to be tampered with by curious children.
It is helpful to have a professional bathroom installer plan your room so that any difficult plumbing arrangements can be anticipated before the work commences. Doing so will ensure that you have the facilities you need as well as a neat and tidy looking installation. A professional planner can also make sure you have all the storage you need. Why not consider extending the boxed in area upwards and building in some neat shelves for toiletries or towels?
What Is a Condensing Boiler?
Many newer boiler installations are condensing boilers. These new types of boiler are similar in many ways to a standard boiler, but are up to 10-12% more efficient, which means lower heating bills.
In a conventional boiler, gas burners underneath the water vessel heat the water just like a pan on a stove. However, a proportion of the heat is lost as hot exhaust gasses from the boiler flue. A condensing boiler captures some of this lost heat to improve efficiency?
How is the heat captured?
One of the by-products of burning domestic gas is water vapour or steam. This isn’t steam from the water that is being heated, but is one of the many chemicals that the burning fuel produces in addition to heat. The steam carries extra energy away from the flame but by condensing it, that is, turning it back into liquid water, some of the energy can be recovered.
A heat exchanger transfers the captured heat into the central heating water system to pre-heat it slightly before being heated normally in the same way as a non-condensing boiler.
What are the drawbacks?
Condensing boilers are more expensive, although this additional cost will be recovered within a few years of operation.
Condensing boilers are also more complex, not only due to the addition of the heat exchanger, but because a fan is necessary to help the exhaust gasses escape. This is needed because the flue gasses end up at a lower temperature and do not rise up the boiler flue as readily as the hotter flue gasses found in a non-condensing boiler.
Finally, a condensate drainage system is required to remove the condensed steam. The condensate water can be slightly acidic so care must be taken to avoid it being drained over cast iron or concrete surfaces which will suffer gradual damage from it.
System design considerations
If the return temperature is too high, condensing will not happen as easily. Running a heating system with several radiators turned off is likely to result in the return water being too hot for the condenser to work properly and the effiency increase will be largely lost.
Four Signs Your Boiler May Need Looking At
Most gas boilers run for many years without any issues, even without annual checks. At some point though, you may find that problems arise. Some of the warning signs are obvious, but others can easily go unnoticed and may lead to a dangerous fault.
Soot or marks near the boiler or flue
Soot and other discolouration near the boiler or its flue can indicate that there is a problem with ventilation, or that the flue is blocked. Sometimes birds can block the boiler flue when building nests and this can lead to exhaust gasses being forced back into the boiler with nowhere to go. Carbon monoxide can kill and is colourless and odourless, so make certain that you act quickly if you see these signs.
Natural gas has an artificial smell added to it so that leaks can be detected before leaks give rise to dangerous situations. If you smell gas or any other unusual smell from your boiler, even if it appears to be working fine, it could indicate either a supply leak or incomplete burning of the gas. Get the burners checked for proper operation as soon as you can.
Taking longer than previously to heat up
Slow heating can be a symptom of a number of issues, including blocked pipes, airlocks and thermostat or timer issues. If you’re finding that you run out of hot water before everyone has had their bath or shower, it may be time to get it looked at. If you find this suddenly happens after the clocks go forward in spring though, it might be as simple as changing the clock on the timer.
Bangs or exploding sounds when firing up
This is usually related to the electronic ignition in the boiler. The spark electrodes can become coated in soot, making it more difficult to obtain a spark. The boiler will continue to try and ignite the gas, but if it takes too long the gas buildup results in a small explosion. While the boiler will work just fine once it’s lit, the shocks from the explosions can cause pipework to loosen and leak, or damage other parts of the boiler.
As one of the most experienced plumbers in Wakefield, we’re fully Gas Safe qualified to handle all your boiler maintenance needs.
5 Things to Consider When Planning a New Bathroom
Thinking of a new bathroom?
While we offer a full planning service as part of our bathroom installation service, it is helpful to have considered the matter ahead of time so that you will be able to make the necessary decisions when we present the options to you.
Proper planning of a new bathroom is the most important part of the process, as a mistake in this stage can be costly to rectify further down the line. To help with this process, here are our top five tips for planning a bathroom.
Decide on a budget, and stick to it
While we cater for all budgets, it is essential to make a firm decision early on about how much you are prepared to spend on the project. This doesn’t always mean that you will have to compromise on your plans, as we may be able to source comparable fixtures and fittings a cheaper prices to achieve the look you require.
It’s also helpful to keep some of the budget set to one side, just in case there are unforeseen problems during the installation that need to be rectified before the bathroom can be completed. Our bathroom fitters will keep you informed throughout the process of any potential problems so you can plan accordingly.
Plan your bathroom lighting
A bathroom is an important place for relaxation, and nothing makes for a more relaxing environment than the right lighting. We can fit a variety of different lighting in your bathroom, including coloured lighting, concealed fittings and dimmable lights.
It is vital that the lighting scheme is decided on before tiling is started because it may not be possible to run additional cabling after the walls have been tiled.
Hot water supply
An important consideration is whether or not your existing hot water system will be able to cope with the demands of the new bathroom once it is complete. Pumped showers consume a lot of water, and corner baths need more water to fill than conventional ones.
If it is decided that your existing hot water system isn’t good enough, you’ll need to allocate some of your budget to an upgrade, or consider having an electric shower installed instead. Electric showers, however, only operate at their best with sufficient mains water pressure and can be expensive to run.
The position of existing pipework can affect the way your bathroom is laid out. While it is possible to box in pipework to move the positions of your toilet, sink and bath, it isn’t always possible to completely rearrange the room.
We will be happy to provide advice on where things are able to be placed, and if there will be any additional cost involved in re-routing of pipework.
Bath, shower or both?
If you have enough room, it may be worth considering a separate bath and shower rather than a shower over the top of the bath. A separate shower cubicle provides more space in which to stand and reduces the risk of slipping – an important consideration if any of the people using the bathroom are elderly or infirm.
If the floor type permits, we are able to install level access showers which do not have any threshold to step over when entering or leaving the shower. We can also install larger cubicles with multi-level spray heads for an exhilarating shower experience.
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