Preventing Legionnaires’ Disease Risks in Large Scale Solar Water Heating Systems

The United Kingdom has very high standards of drinking water. In almost every case the water that you use from your cold tap will be cleaner and freer from bacteria than bottled water. However, even clean tap water contains bacteria most of which are harmless. The bacterium which has the most potential damage to health is legionella pneumophila which is widespread in nature and most of us come into contact with it all the time without realising it and it does us no harm. However, if the bacteria is fed, warmed and dispersed into droplets vulnerable people can suffer from Legionnaires’ disease caused by inhaling the bacterium. Continue reading

Who should service your gas boiler

Installing and servicing gas appliances is a job that should be done by trained engineers. When you install a gas boiler in your home you are delivering large amounts of volatile fuel, which can cause injury, through explosions, or even death in case of leaks. Poor ventilation can give rise to carbon monoxide build up, which is fatal, so it is necessary to have the work done by people who have been properly trained and who will do the job safely.

Just as important is the need to contain gas leaks; natural gas is mainly made up of methane, which is many times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. If you leak methane into the atmosphere instead of burning it you will cause much more climate change damage, so from every point of view gas fitters do a very important job, that affects all of us.

Until now the body responsible of gas appliance installation safety has been CORGI – the body that has been doing the job since 1970. They collect fees from plumbers and other trades people who want to be authorised to fit gas and other appliances, issue permits to members to fit gas appliances, do training and generally supervise safety in the gas industry.

This is now changing. From 1st April there is a new body which will take over the work that CORGI has been doing. It is called the Gas Safe Register and will in effect be owned by the Health & Safety Executive.  From that date you need to check that your installer, fitter or service engineer is on the Gas Safe Register – CORGI will still remain in existence for safety and licensing schemes not connected with natural gas, and this may cause confusion, as change often does.

It makes sense to have this kind of scheme run by the state, in effect, rather than by the industry; there has been in the past accusations that CORGI charged fees that were too high to its members, who had to pass them on to the public. The new Gas Safe Register will charge lower fees. CORGI gas engineers will be transferring to the new scheme, and it is important that the public understands the new scheme when it comes into operation in April.

Many of the people who will be qualified to fit gas under the Gas Safe Register will also be qualified to fit solar panels, which will work in conjunction with the gas boiler to provide environmentally safe heat.

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