So how do you go about becoming a heating engineer or gas fitter. Well, the traditional route is to complete an apprenticeship in a mechanical or electrical trade such as a plumber, pipe fitter, general fitter or heating engineer. There are routes via short courses if you are transferring from a desk job such as a teacher or police officer, however there is really no substitute for hands on experience as this is where you will come face to face with your limitations (in either route) and learn how to overcome these hurdles.
They say that you never stop learning and that couldn’t be more true in engineering. Everyday all plumbers and heating engineers, as well as apprentices, are faced with new and exciting challenges, its one of the great parts of the job. How do we go about solving them? Everyone has their own methods and processes but I should say in general we access the many years of experience like a internet search engine looking for similar key works (actions) we completed in the past. The brain is a fantastic store of all of these lessons with the best lessons being the ones that occur when something goes wrong, for some reason the brain prioritises these at the top of the list just like Google ranks the best matches to your search criteria at the top of their millions of hits. So the key to overcoming the hurdles in banking the lessons and the way lessons are learnt is to try something new and exciting every day.
It takes tow to tango
We are actually great believers that along with the practical know-how of how things fail and how to make them better and put them back together, it’s essential to know the science or engineering behind the cause of the problem. Sometimes for that it requires some back ground reading. At a recent job an Alpha boiler was giving an overheat signal because the air pressure switch was faulty. The (micro-electronic) engineering behind the switch problem is something called switch bouncing where the micro computer does not register the switch opening and closing cleanly but instead see it bouncing open and closed causing multiple switching events which indicate to the boilers microcomputer that the burners must be switching on and off rapidly and therefore there must be an overheat problem. see full explanation of switch bouncing at:- http://www.labbookpages.co.uk/electronics/debounce.html
Therefore the way to resolve this fault is to replace the switch so the contact and release of the switch is much cleaner. There is a multitude of knowledge out there in our industry which can be accessed by attending manufacturer’s courses but also by just talking to the technical help desks at the boiler manufacturers. Building up this knowledge will make your work more efficient, allow you to solve problems in a shorter time and give the impression that you really know your trade and are passionate about every aspect.
Financing a new boiler
We were delighted to hear that Graham’s the Plumbers Merchants and Zanussi Boilers have been working together to launch a product financing scheme that might suite some homeowners.
The Zanussi boiler is actually an Ideal Logic boiler with the branding of Zanussi. Many people will know of the problems with the heat exchangers in these boilers, however the boiler comes with a 10 year parts and labour warranty as long as you have the boiler serviced every year.
This should mitigate some the worries that some homeowners may have and in any case the replacement of the heat exchanger outside the warranty period (> 10 years), should be seen as spreading the cost of the work (c.£500) over the 10 years of peace of mind the customer has had for the life time of the warranty.
Where there is a very simple installation the customer may find the cost of the work to be not far off £1500 which they offer at a low rate of interest over up to to 120 months at as low as £18 per month.
We are able to organise these finance terms for customer who have acceptable credit histories.