News

The Nest Learning Thermostat – Now Available from Primus

The Nest Learning Thermostat – Now Available from Primus

Nest is the brighter way to save energy, reduce your carbon footprint and save money on your energy bills. And now, the Nest Learning Thermostat is available through Primus. The Nest Learning Thermostat doesn’t require any programming like other thermostats, simply turn up and down when you want to – even remotely from your phone, tablet or computer – and Auto-Schedule takes note of the times you have it on and off to be able to do it for you. An Auto-Away button pauses this schedule so that you don’t heat an empty home while you’re away. You can take full control of your heating and hot water from wherever you are, check the history to see when the most energy is being used to be able to save even more money, and know that you’re doing the best thing for the environment and your pocket in regards to your heating! It’s even got one eye on the weather, so it’ll know if it’ll need to give you an extra heat boost when you come in from the snow or the hail. Available in 4 different colours to suit even the pickiest decorators, and with a stand if you don’t want to fix it to your wall, what are you waiting for? Call Primus now on (01695) 737328 to get a price for installation for your Nest Learning Thermostat. Also coming soon to Primus, the Nest Cam, for your security and peace of...

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Brexit Leave or Remain – The EU, Energy and the Environment

Brexit seems to be the word on everyone’s lips at the moment – do we leave the EU, do we remain, or do we adapt the “Norwegian option” of EU regulations without fully free trade? Economics and immigration are the hot button topics when it comes to the EU debate but the environment is a big EU issue that seems to be being ignored by both sides. Andy Jordan of the University of East Anglia, professor of environmental policy, contributed towards a 60,000 word report entitled The UK referendum and the environment – an expert review, which was published and discussed on 11/04/2016. The report was written by 14 impartial academics that are international experts and have used over 700 different sources to produce the report and is available here http://environmenteuref.blogspot.co.uk/p/the-report.html The full report, and the shorter executive summary which may be more manageable for the layperson, highlight the effects that the EU has had on environmental policy – including climate change legislation, wildlife protection and general principles of sustainability. The general tone is that sticking with the status quo and voting to Remain is the least risky in terms of Britain’s environment and environmental policy, although Andy Jordan is keen to say “This review seeks to inform voters by exploring the environmental risks and opportunities of voting to remain or leave. It does not recommend them to vote one way or the other.” When looking at the Remain camp, there were no specific discussions had by PM David Cameron during his renegotiation about the environment, acrigulture, fisheries or energy – most of the focus being on immigration, as expected – and so there is not much uncertainty regarding this option should it go ahead. Britain should go on ahead with EU regulations for the environment as it has done in the past, with global influence on the climate changing emissions of the superpowers of China and the US, and EU targets and checks to push towards. It comes down to a question of if it is believed that these things go against our national interest. A vote to Leave could be messy, but also could be beneficial. Once the EU laws are no longer in place, the House of Commons will have to fill in the regulatory gaps left behind, and also have to renegotiate trade with the EU and with non-EU countries as well – a process...

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CO Poisoning – Granada Reports 14th December

CO Poisoning – Granada Reports 14th December

Gas Safety Week this year was deemed to be a success by Gas Safe, and here at Primus we’ve seen an increase in the numbers of people opting for their annual service. But carbon monoxide is still a problem, and with the winter weather getting worse and boilers and other appliances being used more and more, you could be at risk if you haven’t had your appliances checked! Last night on Granada Reports, a feature on carbon monoxide highlighted the recent death of a 78 year old man, as well as illness of a younger male in the same property – presumably his son – and three members of emergency services including North West Ambulance staff, leaving them hospitalised. All of the emergency services were called to the house in Preston on the 9th December around tea-time, following illness of the gentleman, who was unresponsive on arrival and later died. The fire service confirmed that it was a leak of carbon monoxide that had caused the issue and turned off the device, while sending those taken ill to Royal Preston Hospital for treatment. Ambulance staff were interviewed on the news yesterday, stating the seriousness of the issue. They do not expect to fall ill when doing their jobs – usually the majority of the danger has passed before they arrive on scene. The paramedics were aware that they were feeling a little different to usual, as they were being poisoned by the escape. They were lucky that the effects were noticed and that the leak was not as big as it could have been, as CO can kill in minutes. A north west gas engineer was also interviewed in the studio, and he highlighted the importance of annual servicing – stating, unfortunately correctly, that lots of people do not get their appliances checked as long as they appear to be working properly, and it can lead to serious issues with CO escapes not being spotted until it is too late. Slow leaks are often misinterpreted as flu, food poisoning or other similar conditions, and particularly in the elderly or children can go undetected for months. Make sure you know the symptoms, and pay attention to if they get better when you leave the house, or move into another room away from the appliance. Any appliances that burn a hydrocarbon fuel can be responsible for CO poisoning – traditionally people...

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Landlords: Get Gas Safe!

Landlords: Get Gas Safe!

Your appliances should have a yearly service and check to make sure that they are still safe to use, and that they’re not spilling CO into your home. If you own the device, then it’s up to you to look after it. Most people who live in rented accommodation have a gas boiler they use for central heating, but it belongs to their landlord (i.e. it stays with the property if you were to move out), and therefore the landlord is responsible for making sure that it is safe. Did you know it’s an offense to not be able to produce a valid gas safety certificate for the appliances in your rental property? Not all landlords do, some of them put their tenants at risk, some of them leave their tenants cold if an appliance gets turned off, and sometimes there are serious consequences for failing to protect tenants. And this lot faced the law for not having their appliances checked: In July last year, a landlord in Blackburn faced a fine of £260 and paid costs of £207 after she ignored the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) multiple times about the checks she needed to make on the gas appliances in her rented property. Her tenant said that a gas engineer only came to visit and perform a gas safety check just before she was due to move out after two years. There were four gas fires and a gas boiler present, so there was a risk that one of these appliances may be unsafe and cause issues for the tenant. The landlord ignored several letters from both the council and the HSE about producing a valid certificate before she was eventually taken to court for missing the deadline. The checks would have cost less than the fines, so this landlord lost out massively! Two cases surfaced in October last year, with two landlords being fined heavily for failing to check the gas appliances they were allowing their tenants to use. The first, in Plymouth, had a gas cooker installed for his tenants, which was later found to be Immediately Dangerous. The HSE were called after the landlord couldn’t produce the required certificate upon request of the council, and although the landlord did eventually produce a certificate, it was past the deadline that the HSE had given him. When tested by an engineer, the appliance was found to...

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CO – colourless, odourless, deadly – what to do?

CO – colourless, odourless, deadly – what to do?

CO can come from any hydrocarbon fuel that hasn’t burned cleanly – including coal, wood, oil, petrol, diesel and natural gas. When they burn properly – with proper ventilation and removal from general residential areas – the carbon in the fuels combine with oxygen to create carbon-dioxide or CO2, the same thing we breathe out after we breathe in oxygen. But when the fuel doesn’t burn cleanly, there isn’t enough oxygen to create CO2, so we end up with incomplete combustion where the oxygen shares the carbon, and you end up with deadly CO. CO alarms are required in Scotland, or if you have a solid fuel appliance in your property. Your gas engineer will check your appliances aren’t releasing CO when you have your annual service done. But things can go wrong in the meantime; maybe you’ve just moved into a new property, maybe your landlord isn’t the best at keeping up annual checks, maybe there has been damage to your appliance that you’re not aware of. If you don’t have an alarm, what do you have to look out for? Six symptoms: • headache • dizziness • nausea (and vomiting) • breathlessness • collapse • loss of consciousness   You may be experiencing these because you’ve got the flu, or food poisoning, or you’ve been on a run first thing in the morning and you’ve got low blood sugar, or you could be being poisoned by your appliances. It’ll be harder to tell if you live alone, as you can’t check with other members of your household, but you should notice the symptoms start to alleviate if you get some fresh air only to come back when you return to your home and your appliance. Still unsure, have a look around: • The flame on a gas cooker should be crisp and blue. If it’s orange, or looks more like a candle than a hob, turn it off till you can get it checked • Your boiler might be regularly cutting out and needing to be reset • Is there increased condensation around your windows? • Is there any dark staining on your appliances or surfaces near to them? What do I do: Firstly, if you know how to, turn off the appliance you think may be the issue. If you only have one fuel burning appliance in your house, it’s likely to be that one. If...

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Gas Work and the Law – Should know what they’re doing

Gas Work and the Law – Should know what they’re doing

You’ve heard the horror stories – these people who don’t hold up to date qualifications and just keep that under wraps so you believe they are fully capable of doing their job. You get a registered engineer, you check their certificate, look at their ID card, phone or text the Gas Safe Register to confirm that they are currently registered and hold the correct qualifications for what you need them for. So, you’re safe. Unfortunately, not necessarily. Gas Safe do their best to get rid of the cowboys, but without reports from customers, they don’t know who is and who isn’t flaunting the rules after they’ve got their registration. The important thing is that you did everything that you could, you’ve given yourself the best chance of having your work done safely. But if you’re certain (or even just suspect) that there’s something wrong, don’t be afraid to report them to Gas Safe – if it turns out that they didn’t do anything wrong, it’s then a positive reflection on them. And if they’re wrong, like this lot, then they get the justice they deserve: November 2014, a case of laziness and greed from an engineer in Somerset during an annual service. He identified repairs that were required, and then left the property to get the approval and the parts that he needed. When the energy supplier sent another engineer around, some of the parts were required but others weren’t, and the suspect engineer had also used a 20p coin to ‘fix’ a viewing glass in the boiler – leaving it Immediately Dangerous. He was fined £1000, plus £353 in costs, and the energy supplier’s engineer couldn’t believe the state the boiler had been left in: there were signs of heat damage inside and outside the boiler before he even started, and his shoddy ‘repair’ could have lead to escape of carbon monoxide into the property. A gas engineer in the Isle of Man faced the law in December last year, after not installing a boiler in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. He cut corners and sealed the new flue to the masonry with expanding foam, leaving his customer at risk of the fumes from the gas boiler getting into his house instead, and was fined £2500, plus costs of £1000. March saw a Staffordshire gas fitter sentenced to 240 hours of unpaid community work after CO poisoning to his...

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