This weeks top gas and plumbing FAQ's

What is Power flushing?

Powerflushing * of central heating can help restore systems with circulation and noise problems. Over time, your radiators and pipework can become blocked by sludge and corrosion deposits. A power flush can remove these deposits and the problems that they cause such as cool radiators, noises, banging pipes, frequent radiator bleeding required, pump or boiler

(*sometimes known as Jet flushing or Hard flushing)

What is a combi boiler and is it better than a conventional hot water storage system?

A combination or combi boiler is designed to heat your water 'on demand' - when you turn the hot tap on, the boiler fires up and heats the water as it passes through. A conventional or storage system heats fires up for a given period every day and heats the water in a copper storage tank. This makes for a quick fill of the bath, but the downside is that the supply is finite and that no matter how well the tank is lagged, it will lose some heat.

Which one you go for depends on your hot water usage - are you a bath or shower family? If you don't mind the bath taking a long time to fill, a combination boiler is ok - otherwise consider a conventional system. Talk it over with your plumber !

What is CORGI and does my plumber have to be a member?

CORGI is the UK 's Confederation of Registered Gas Installers - Registration with CORGI is a legal requirement for a business or self-employed person working on gas fittings or appliances. Around 44,000 gas installation businesses employing approximately 95,000 gas fitters are currently registered.

But if your plumber or plumbing company does not work on Gas or gas appliances, they don't have to be registered. For more information and to check if your plumber is CORGI registered, visit CORGI

Do I need a Landlords Gas Safety Certificate?

If you rent out property then as landlord, you are responsible for ensuring that all gas fittings and flues are maintained in good order, and that gas appliances and flues are checked for safety every 12 months. You must keep a record of all safety checks for at least two years and issue it to existing tenants and to any new tenants before they move in. Tenants are responsible for the maintenance and safety of appliances they own.

In all cases, you should consult a CORGI registered installer who will be able to give you more detailed advice on what checks need to be carried out.

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, poisonous gas that can be produced by faulty appliances* or incorrect ventilation. Provided an appliance is correctly installed and adjusted and regularly serviced, the risk from CO is minimal however you should always ensure that adequate ventilation is maintained and be aware of the symptoms of CO poisoning - headaches, nausea, dizziness and tiredness. For added peace of mind you could consider a carbon monoxide detector. These are inexpensive and are available from DIY stores.

If you have any doubts about the safety of a gas appliance - do not use it - call out a CORGI registered engineer and have it checked. more

*Not just gas - Appliances using solid fuel, paraffin, and other combustible products can create CO - so always take care and follow manufacturers instructions.

What should I do if I smell Gas?

Don't smoke or strike matches! - Don't switch electrical switches on or off.

Do turn off the gas at the meter - Do get everyone out of the affected area - Do extinguish naked flames - Do open doors and windows - Do call TRANSCO free on 0800 111 999 at any time, day or night. Your call will not cost you anything.

Where can I get a home improvement loan or finance to replace my heating system?

Easy! - Visit our sponsors UK Loans Site - The UK loansite acts as an initial enquiry point for UK residents who are looking for loans on-line. When you submit the completed enquiry form, your details are passed to leading finance companies within the UK. You will then be contacted, usually within a few hours, with an in-principle decision on your application.

You can use your loan for any purpose so don't panic if your boiler blows up, the car needs a service and you need to pay the balance on your holiday - all in one week! With a quick and easy loan from UK Loans Site, you could replace your heating, have that new bathroom or fireplace you've always wanted and still have cash to spare!