AHS Team at Escape Rooms

Celebrating 20 Years at AHS Continues in Winchester

We all shout … HELP ! … and out of nowhere a Siri like voice offers cryptic guidance.

No, the team are not at a séance but actually the escape rooms for the 20th Anniversary of Alexandra Heating Services.

Alexandra Heating Services thought 20 years of successfully serving our customers was well worth celebrating. So after lunch at The Stable in Winchester we arrived at the escape rooms on the Broadway, to put our collective minds together.  In hope of figuring out the cunning puzzles and conundrum’s set before us. We had split into 3 teams, with each team entering a separate “room” from which they had to escape. The aethereal voice was each rooms controller, watching via video. While no doubt enjoying the ensuing debates about the meaning of many clues and props. Everyone had a great time and inevitably competitive traits emerged, each wanting to be crowned “top team”.

Afterwards we descended on a local hostelry to compare notes, game plans and talk about one teams secret weapon.  Turns out Carol in accounts is a puzzle queen! Everyone got changed and joined up for a local dinner, at Cote Brasserie, where the hours flew by and much banter was enjoyed by all. What a treat for us all!

As part of this celebration is an important THANK YOU to all our customers who have supported us over the years and without you there is no Alexandra Heating Services.

Here’s to another 20 years of service and support to our local area.

Celebrating 20 years of AHS

The year is 1999 and major events are taking place.

  • “Y2K” is looming and the associated prediction of IT systems failing and catastrophe (which as we now know was rather inaccurate).
  • The “euro” gets introduced to the worlds financial markets,
  • The Matrix film (the first of the trilogy) is released to huge financial success & critical acclaim.
  • …. and Alexandra Heating Services is launched.

OK, so maybe AHS is not quite headline news compared to the others but to us at AHS it was the start of something big.

20 years on and we have not only grown in both employees and premises.  But also we have broadened our horizons to new areas such as renewables. Along with creating an electrical division.  One thing hasn’t changed, ultimately the customer always comes first! The same attention to detail and professionalism is as important today as it always has been.

And as part of our celebrating 20 years we are delighted to offer new customers an introductory 20% off all servicing. Between 1st July and September 30th 2019. Please quote CELEB2019 when calling 01722 417873 or emailing us.

We look forward to serving the local area for a further 20 years, so if you have heating or electrical needs or want to talk to us about renewable energy we would love to hear from you.

Swimming Pool Boiler Install

AHS Saves the Wedding Day

The big day for a wedding in Stratford Tony, Salisbury was looming with much excitement and anticipation, so time for one more check through the list:

  • Invitations – Sent.
  • Catering – Ready.
  • House – Clean and tidy.
  • Lawn – Cut.
  • Gardening – Done . . . do we need more balloons and flowers?

But suddenly there’s a BIG problem.  No one had checked the swimming pool and it was COLD!

With only a few days before the wedding and guests looking forward to a refreshing swim in the pool, you can imagine the distress.  A quick call to Alexandra Heating Services, and shortly afterwards with an engineer visit, he had diagnosed the problem.  All options were considered, but the conclusion was the swimming pool boiler couldn’t be fixed. The bad news had to be delivered that the swimming pool boiler needed to be replaced.

The Techy bit:

Alexandra Heating Services has designed a swimming pool solution based on the award winning and which best buy Viessmann condensing boiler technology, coupled to a heat exchanger with titanium internals and a Poolsmart plus controller.  Designed to run more efficiently (Viessmann boilers can run up 98% efficiency) and with excellent durability and longevity (thanks to Viessmanns’ German engineering and the titanium rods within the pool heat exchanger).  Our customer decided to have the AHS solution installed over and above the normal contenders, such as Certikin.

After a concentrated effort by AHS, our heating engineers had the Viessmann swimming pool installation up and running.  With a day to spare before the ceremony.  The wedding went smoothly and even the sun shone – a happy ending all round.

Our delighted customer, based in Stratford Tony, Salisbury, Wiltshire, kindly sent us a picture of wedding guests enjoying the pool.

That was all 1 year ago (May 2018) and so we asked, have the benefits materialised?  To quote our lovely customer: “It is too early to tell if the running costs have reduced, but I’d be very surprised if they haven’t. The water certainly heats up a lot faster, which is a considerable advantage.”

If you interested in learning more about our swimming pool solution, please contact us.

Viessmann Boiler in a house in Winchester

A Day in the Life of Our Engineer

MY DAY BEGINS . . . 

It started earlier than usual, meeting our service engineer at the unit in Old Sarum at 7:30am to ensure we arrived at our first job on time at 8:00am.

Ready to start our day. . . .

AHS Ltd Van

JOB 1:

Our first port of call was a gas boiler service in Redlynch.  After informing the customer of our arrival, we accessed the boiler in the garage.  The engineer showed me how to safely remove the case of the Viessmann boiler to expose the inside.  He talked me through each of the components that make the boiler work and then using the Viessmann toolkit (pictured below):

Viessmann Toolkit

I was shown which parts needed to be removed in order to carry out the service.  This is a careful process which begins with, most importantly, switching off the gas supply to the boiler.  Once this is done, the burner needs to be removed in order to check the burner seal, electrodes and clean the heat exchanger as necessary.  There is certainly a knack to the removal of the burner, undoing clips in the right order, followed by the screws and then removing the unit safely ensuring not to burn yourself or damage the part itself.  Once this has been done, any wearing parts are then checked and changed if needed.  On this occasion, we replaced the burner seal, which is a rubber ring that the burner leans on when placed back into the heat exchanger that houses it.  Whilst the engineer did this, I used our dry vacuum followed by cleaning wipes to ensure there was no loose debris or dust inside the boiler.  Once the boiler was put back together, we fired it up and put it into service mode.  This allows the boiler to produce emissions as it would when in full demand and whilst it did this, we used the flue gas analyser to check the boiler was producing a safe gas reading.  Once the gas readings were taken, they were printed on site and attached to the CP12 certificate that the engineer had already began writing out.  This left me just enough time to finish my coffee and biscuits, before asking the customer to sign the CP12 and setting off to our next job.

JOB 2:

Our second job took us to an industrial warehouse building, much like our own for another gas boiler service on a Viessmann boiler.  This time our engineer carefully watched as I carried out the initial checks, such as turning off the gas supply and unplugging the burner controls, unscrewing and removing the burner.  I replaced the burner seal under the careful watch of our engineer.  After giving the boiler a good clean inside and out, and completing the CP12 we were ready to leave another happy customer with a newly serviced boiler and move on to our 3rd job of the day.

JOB 3:

Our next job took us out to one of the first Viessmann oil boilers installed by AHS Ltd.  On arrival, our customer wanted to tell us just how much of a difference he had noticed in the first year, by changing from his previous boiler to the energy saving Viessmann – always great to hear.  Once again, our engineer talked me through the components that make up a Viessmann oil boiler and what parts needed to be checked during an oil service.  I was impressed by the kit that accompanies these boilers that allows for an engineer to remove the main heat exchange, while being supported by a clip-in mechanism on the casing of the boiler.  This is helpful due to the size and weight of the heat exchange and means less wires need to be unplugged and put back in.  After checking all wearing parts, this time with no replacements needed and cleaning out the boiler, we completed the CD11 and had it signed off by the customer before leaving.

JOB 4:

Our final job of the day took us to Owslebury to look at a broken flush mechanism and leaking WC. Having read our jobsheet in advance, our engineer had an idea of what the issue might be and therefore how to resolve it. We therefore stopped off at our suppliers to pick up the materials and then headed on to the job.  Arriving to a houseful of wedding guests, meant we had limited time to cut off the water supply and rectify the leak.  Whilst our engineer dealt with this, I used our wet/dry vacuum to remove any water left in the cistern – ensuring to put down sheets to protect the customers floor from any water damage in the process. Once the water had been isolated and drained from the cistern, it was removed. We found the existing flush mechanism to be damaged and the doughnut washer was allowing water through. Whilst I constructed the new flush mechanism ready to be installed, our engineer replaced the doughnut. The replacement flush was then fitted, water switched back on and the WC tested 2 – 3 times checking it was in good working order and no leaks were apparent.  Another happy customer!

MY EXPERIENCE:

The drive back to Salisbury bought us to 5pm and the end of our shift. I thoroughly enjoyed my day out in the field and not just for all the biscuits!

Perks of being an engineer for the day

It was great to see a different aspect of my job and meet some of our customers. It was very nice to hear them praise the company’s previous work as well as their appreciation for the benefits of our installations.  From an office workers point of view, it was rewarding to know that our well planned routes are worthwhile and save travel time in the day for our engineers. Overall, spending the day working with an engineer was a fun and interesting experience.

Written by ‘The Girl in the Office’

Boiler servicing Winchester

Boiler Servicing – An Essential Investment

A study has found that watching spending has become an ingrained way of life that consumers will continue with, even when their finances improve.  It seems the recession has left behind a legacy of cautious consumers, with people needing a strong reason to part with their money.

VITAL BENEFITS

An annual boiler service, however, needs to be seen as essential spending.  In much the same way as a homeowner would regards a service and MOT for their car.  Most people anticipate there will be ongoing costs associated with their vehicles and budget for them accordingly.

An annual boiler service provides some important benefits; it will ensure the boiler is safe, is performing efficiently and reliably, and maintains the manufacturer’s warranty.

SAFETY

The number one reason for a homeowner to have their gas boiler serviced regularly is safety.

Unfortunately, consumer awareness of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is thought to be generally low across the UK.  It is important for heating engineers to explain to their customers that unsafe gas appliances – those that have been incorrectly fitted, badly repaired or poorly maintained – can produce this highly poisonous gas.

According to the Department of Health, 50 people die each year from CO poisoning and another 4,000 are treated in hospital.  It is thought the true number is likely to be much higher, as the early symptoms can easily be mistaken for flu or tiredness.

LONGEVITY

Another benefit of regular servicing extends the service life of your heating system and ensures reliable, trouble-free operation.  This is the only way to make sure that the energy from the fuel is used efficiently and cleanly, thus protecting the environment and saving on heating bills and the likelihood of breakdown, saving the homeowner money and minimising disruption without compromising high heating and hot water convenience.

Again, it is useful to draw on a car analogy.  A homeowner will understand that things like replacing filters and spark plugs are essential to keep their vehicle in top condition, and that avoiding a scheduled service may have a detrimental effect on the way the car works, leaving them out of pocket in the long run.  The same rules apply here, the boiler, burner and control unit form a system like that of a car engine which is essentially runs for many more hours than a car.  If your car was in operation for the same amount of time as your boiler, it would cover more than 60,000 miles in a year.  All car owners know that they need to have a service carried out at regular intervals.  Therefore your heating system should be serviced at least once a year, much like your car.

WARRANTIES

An annual service is usually a condition of a boiler warranty – which is another important reason why you as the homeowner should invest.  Today, boilers come with lengthy warranties, which should be seen as a sign of reliability, but the working parts still need to be checked annually.

Call us today to book your service on 01722 417873.

Sited: McCallum Layton study.  HVP Magazine May 2016.

Written by ‘The Girl in the Office’.

Boiler installation in Shaftsbury

Fighting Legionella

It is well understood that legionella, a bacillary germ similar to pneumonia, causes severe health issues for humans.  Recent cases of legionella infection have prompted industry figures, such as the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors, to speak out about the importance of quality materials and disease prevention training for those responsible for the control and maintenance of water systems.

The issue of prevention runs deep however, right back to the initial system design stage.  A fundamental part of good water network design is rooted in understanding how the choice of materials used can affect the health of a system.

A system which is correctly designed from the beginning will encourage the correct flow of water without creating areas where water is stationary, stagnant and susceptible to the risk of bacteria growth, and potentially legionella contamination.  ‘Dead Legs’ in a system, where a section of pipe contains unmoving water, are a major risk for legionella growth and eliminating these in the first place can go a long way to fighting waterborne diseases throughout the plumbing system.

The proliferation of bacteria such as legionella in water systems can pose a major health risk, particularly for vulnerable people such as the elderly.  Recognising the severity of this issue, EU regulations were introduced to provide a consistent water quality policy for all member states during 2015, with more to come.  The plumbing industry has a huge part to play in ensuring that quality control is maintained.

IMG_9576

A customer’s roof tanks, in desperate need with a real risk of Legionella!

THRIVING BACTERIA

Legionella-based illness are contracted from inhalation rather than ingestion; the bacteria thrives particularly in water circuits where the temperature ranges between 25 to 45 degrees Celsius and is most commonly transferred by aerosol action, such as water vapours from air conditioning systems and faucets.  The spread of this type of bacteria depends on certain key elements; the nature of the water, absence of circulation, ambient temperature, lack of on-going treatment, and sometimes the choice of materials used.  It is therefore vital that these main criteria are adhered to when trying to avoid contamination of the water systems.

HEALTH & SAFETY

According to the HSE – L8 approved code of practice and guidance document, the growth of legionella bacteria in pipework can also be linked to biofilms essentially nutriment build up), which are in turn linked to the survival of waterborne bacteria.  Good design and construction of a pipework network is key to optimum system functionally, yet the choice of materials used has also been found to substantially improve the health benefits too.  Studies gathered by International Copper Association regarding cooper’s ability to destroy a wide range of bacteria, including legionella, show that copper kills at least 99.9% of bacteria within two hours of exposure.

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health regulations impose a responsibility on persons controlling premises, or its water system, to ensure that all harmful bacteria is minimised.  Filtration and reducing the build-up of debris that can act as a nutriment source in water systems is an important step in minimising biofilm in the system.  However, while copper is proven to have antimicrobial qualities and ongoing mechanical benefits, it should not be installed as a device for sterilisation or as a means of improving the potability of the water system.

Choice of material aside, good maintenance practice is paramount and without it bacteria growth in pipes can increase.  Rigorous maintenance should be implemented to ensure all breakdowns in the network are minimised, which will in turn reduce the risk of bacterial growth developing in water that has sat in pipes for extended periods.  Once installation is complete, it is essential that those charged with maintenance understand how to completed checks and report any concerns.  If we take these points on board as an industry, we can minimise the proliferation of legionella bacteria and the threat of Legionnaires’ disease in our water heating systems.

Vitodens Boiler Installation Eastleigh

The New Viessmann Vitoden Boilers are here!

The new Vitodens 100-W & 111-W ‘connected’ boilers are now available from Viessmann, the range offers high efficiency gas condensing boilers, which are loaded with features for easy installation, high efficiency and impressive fuel savings.

Product features:
  • NEW user friendly control via backlit LCD touchscreen.

New Vitodens Display

  • NEW improved modulation ratio 1:6.
  • Wall mounted gas condensing combi & system boiler 4.7 to 35 kW.
  • Energy efficiency class: A.
  • 10 year warranty on the Inox-Radial heat exchanger.
  • Modulating stainless steel cylinder burner.

Straightforward access from the front, so no need to leave space at side for maintenance.

NEW: Viessmann has added the Vitodens 111-W to its warranty options. It will be the same offer as for the Vitodens 100-W and at the same prices.

All 100 range models installed since 2007 can be WiFi enabled, with a control accessory, on sale from September. Unlike previous boiler apps, which connect with thermostats, this is the first to connect with the boiler.

Heating Engineers In Winchester, Hampshire

Customer Reviews

by J F Murray on AHS Heating Services

Work done to our entire satisfaction

by PJB on AHS Heating Services
know their stuff

3 other plumbers had no idea what to do; AHS were v knowledgable and solved our problems. Highly recommended.

by Richard on AHS Heating Services
Teamwork

A friendly and efficient team effort in servicing our boiler and gas fire. Well done AHS

by Duncan Witt on AHS Heating Services
Fast friendly service!

Phoned one day with a request for a boiler service, and a leaking pipe at the back. The engineer came a day later. Shoes off at the front door, Craig was very polite and efficient and sorted the problems, and was able to think outside the box to solve the fact that we had a sheared off bolt preventing an emissions test necessary for the service. Very impressed.

by Lesley and Eddie on AHS Heating Services
Warm and cosy

We are delighted with our new boiler it is really efficient. The team of men were so respectful of us and our home. They were so hard working and were always early and cleaned up each day. We couldn’t recommend them more highly. Thank you

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We would love to hear what you think of our service. Read all reviews here and please submit a review here about our service:

Gas Safety Week Logo

About Gas Safety Week

Gas Safety Week is an annual safety week to raise awareness of gas safety and the importance of taking care of your gas appliances. It is co-ordinated by Gas Safe Register, the official list of gas engineers who are legally allowed to work on gas.

Badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning. Every year thousands of people across the UK are diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning. It is a highly poisonous gas. You can’t see it, taste it or smell it, but it can kill quickly with no warning.

By taking care of your gas appliances properly you are taking care of your home and your loved ones.

Follow these few simple checks to keep you and your family safe.

• Check your gas appliances every year. Gas appliances should be safety checked once a year and serviced regularly by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Tenants – make sure your landlord arranges this. Set a reminder so you don’t forget at www.staygassafe.co.uk.

• Check your engineer is Gas Safe registered. You can find and check an engineer at www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5500.

• Check your engineer’s Gas Safe Register ID card. Make sure they are qualified for the work you need doing. You can find this information on the back of the card.

• Check for warning signs your appliances aren’t working correctly e.g. lazy yellow or orange flames instead of crisp blue ones, black marks on or around the appliance and too much condensation in the room.

• Know the six signs of carbon monoxide poisoning – headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, collapse and loss of consciousness.

• Have an audible carbon monoxide alarm. This will alert you if there is carbon monoxide in your home.

For gas safety advice or to find and check an engineer visit the Gas Safe Register website at www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk. Alternatively call the free helpline on 0800 408 5500.