Tuesday 17 May 2022

Energy Conservation and Gardening

Having boiled the kettle and made yourself a nice cup of tea or coffee it hits you:


You have used 0.03kWH of electrickery per cup which equates to about 0.84p.

What about the remaining boiled water in the kettle?

Its only going to cool losing you all that investment and a chance to clear weeds from your patio or driveway!

And so with the kettle spout nearly in direct contact with the offending weed carefully pour your investment over its leaves.

The effect is almost instantaneous and satisfaction level soars as the leaves wilt to the thermal shock and a near palpable sound can be heard.


Best performed to a soundclip from the movie


Wednesday 15 April 2015

Mr. Billy Connolly - has he ever forgiven me!

Main Street Bangor is the type of kick off your shoes and walk in your bare feet Street. Sloping towards the beckoning sea Mermaids who at times need to get their toes wet find this boulevard irresistibly enticing with its trendy shops and closeness to their firmament. Its downward runway opening onto Quay Street and with the harbour just beyond, its not too far for a girl with seaweed in her hair to wander with a purpose or porpoise.

Back then there weren't as many shops as we cruised down Main Street, then it was mostly lazy housing leaning towards the late Spring laconic sea.

The green for go traffic lights at the bottom of the hill beckoned us on as a figure manifested himself between two parked cars.

Now if it had of been a normal "Joe Soap" his sudden appearance would have been met with a heavy foot stomped on the brake pedal and a combined glare from me and the bro as "Joe" would have feinted apologies and crossed safely in front of us to the far pavement.
 But "Jesus! That's Billy Connolly!" rang out from nowhere but I think it was me. Brake pedal forgotten it was all I could do to steer clear of the now paralysed figure. The whites of his eyes met mine and there was no mistaking the long grey hair held against the light wind by a hat more favoured in Tucson Arizona. 

The next nano seconds were taken up by me staring at this aghast man as we glided past with our vans wheels crushing his shadow. There was no sound of collision so I continued on to meet the welcoming green traffic light to immediately merge with a stationary queue of traffic on Quay Street.

 "Naw, that's not him." replied the bro, settling back to read the Andy Capp cartoon in his Daily Mirror.

All my attention was through the side window watching this saved by the angels figure complete his crossing and walk in our direction down Main Street. Dressed in a long black leather trench coat he met the street corner and was beckoned by his companion to look at some article that had caught interest in McCullough's Shop window.

"That's Billy Connolly!" The bro took another glance, "Nope yer wrong,  lets get out of this traffic."

Still transfixed I missed the moving traffic as the non Billy Connolly abruptly turned and looked straight at us.

Car horns sounded to make us move as the bro looked again and said "You know you might be right I think that is Billy Connolly"

Our new "GO FASTER" stripe in the dust on the side of the van aided the journey home.          

Lessons In Plumbing Chapter 2

Follow us on Twitter @fabplumber

Module 1:2 - Everyday type terminology that can confuse even the most assiduous Plumber!

Waste Fitting

Waist Fitting

Soil Stack

Soil Stack


Elbow Joint WoW!
Elbow Joint

Multi Wick

Pink Trainer
Sink Drainer

School Clip Board
School Board Clip



Take Care Out There!

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Sludge Build up in Central Heating Radiators & Components


In an unprotected domestic central heating system a silent damaging chemical reaction can be taking place. 

The reaction is summed up by the formula: 3 Fe(s) + 2 O2(g) =  FeO·Fe2O3(s) (Magnetite)

Now to me that looks to be so complex as to be beyond boring. But its boring a large hole in your wallet. 

Your central heating water will in the presence of oxygen form a magnetite sludge.

Even in closed systems where a pressure vessel is fitted minor leaks resulting in the need to top up the pressure will introduce oxygen into the system.

And it gets worse:
Its other physical effect is to act like a liquid sandpaper pumping around your pipes causing pinholes in radiators and sandblasting all the other components. This accelerates the reaction and your home heating system becomes SLUDGEVILLE! 
It could be that a pipework alteration is required to stop the ingress of air.
The solution before your Central Heating Circulation Pump fails and or Radiators start pinholing - Contact Us. to arrange a visit to pinpoint whats causing the problem, to advise on a permanent remedy, to access what Fernox Flushing Program would suit and 
 provide a free Quotation 
for all the above.


Sunday 8 June 2014


A leaking roof allowing rain water to damage the Oil Burner control box was the final straw.

Any opportunity to use the Kango Hammer is always a bonus :)

The boiler's age its loss of efficiency coupled with damage caused by a recent rain leak through the housing roof resulted in a complete rethink and a  return to
first base.

There was no point in our customer throwing any more money
at this.

The solution:

A Warmflow KP70HE unit.

High Efficiency, condensing oil boiler with its own
integral circulation pump.



Monday 28 April 2014

James Bond would have no fear of this Salamander!

Yet another shower tray repair. 


Its evident from the photos that once a Shower Tray seal integrity is compromised, leaking water from the Shower causes ever accelerating damage to the surrounding tiling, walls and studding. 

Our Client had recently bought the property and was unaware of how bad the problem was.


  And another headache the Triton Shower Valve water pressure was poor  as it was gravity fed. 

  So our procedure was to remove the Shower Doors and Tray to allow the damage in its entirety to be assessed.

All affected wall and support components were 
removed and a new support base installed to accomodate the reinstalled raised shower tray.

 A review of the existing domestic plumbing services led us to specify the installation of a Salamander Shower Pump Right Hand Twin 75 model. This new unit had to be plumbed with its own dedicated hot and cold services directly from the cold water storage tank in the loft and the hot water cylinder sited adjacent to the utility room.

 The tray was reinstalled using proper PVC undertile trims bedded in silicone and retiled/grouted.

Our step up into the shower was reformed and quarry tiled.

Another successful mission!

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Bristan Shower Valve Repair - Not needed in Finland.

After many years of trouble free use this particular Bristan shower valve was exhibiting two faults.

A) Intermittently drifting in temperature from hot to cold. If the tenants had been Finnish they might have thought of this as advantageous!

B) In use water leaked from its innards and down the face of the tiles. The worry for our Customer  being, was any water from this source penetrating behind the tiles and causing unseen damage to the plasterboard wall etc.

 Our first concern was to identify what shower model it was and this was achieved with the helpful advice of our Bristan contact.

A new Seals Kit and Cartridge from the Bristan Java Range was ordered and these duly arrived with our client.

 We arranged with our Customer to collect the new parts from her office workplace and traveled to the job address to complete the repair that same day.

 The Original Installer had fitted the valve slightly too far into the wall which gave us a bit of grief but the final result was perfect.

 Valve no longer leaking and temperature rock steady to suit us mere Ulster people. 

Note to self: Contact Bristan with an idea how to sell their showers in Finland.

Monday 25 February 2013

Let's Get Technical - Oil Burner Nozzles

The most important factor contributing to the continued efficient running of your Oil Boiler is a small component inside the Oil Burner - 


Best MONEY WISE results are obtained by having your Oil Boiler & Burner serviced and the OIL NOZZLE replaced once a year.
Not only will this help your Bank Account but it will also profit the Environment if your Oil is being properly atomised by a perfectly functioning Nozzle.

Let's get to the heart of how a nozzle operates. 
Your Heating Oil under pressure via the Oil Pump flows through the Oil Nozzle Filter before entering the Swirl Chamber where it is caused to rotate before leaving via the myriad of nozzle orifices as atomised droplets of oil. The object of this is to allow the droplets to interact perfectly with the air to suit the shape and construction of the boiler combustion chamber.

The capacity, angle and pattern of this oil spray is dictated by the type of Nozzle fitted. Perfect interaction between the combustion air and atomised oil results in perfect combustion.

This Photo shows the dimensions of an Oil Nozzle orifice compared to a Human hair.

The life span of an Oil Nozzle can be considerably shortened depending on how clean the oil is that is being delivered to the Nozzle, a dirty tank, oil filter or oil pump filter are the major culprits.

Also deleterious to perfect combustion are mis-positioned electrodes, wrong Nozzle fitted, faulty air and or faulty oil pressure settings.

Inadequate combustion results in a build up of carbon on the nozzle and electrodes leading to deteriorating operation, soot formation on the boiler baffle plates, accelerating decrease in efficiency over operating time, and ultimate failure of your Oil Burner.

Upshot of all of the above:- Have your Oil Boiler and Burner serviced ANNUALLY.

Sunday 26 August 2012

The Belfast Chimney Sweep Always Knocks Twice!

They say clothes maketh the man, and this bloke negotiating the corner at the top of the street and dandering towards our parked up van certainly had the credentials to fulfil that statement.

How to describe it succinctly would be to say that if said negotiation of the street corner had involved haggling in a Bazaar this gentleman would have ended up paying more than was originally asked for.

And then the reason came into view, the tied bundle of chimney rods and brush carried at an angle so obtuse from his person as not to soil his shiny suit and give anyone normal a permanent affliction and an opportunity to claim DLA.
The Bro glanced up and went back to reading The Daily Mirror and "Andy Capp", but to me this human endeavour portrayed front and slightly right of my view had all the signs of a misadventure in the making.


The "Sweep"  halted at a terraced house just yards from us inserted his key and negotiated his parcel through the entrance hall like a source of contamination so thoroughly preoccupied with his impending task as to be oblivious to our presence.
Some minutes passed in pleasant fulfilment as we continued to munch on our elevenses when the "Sweep" regaled now in a very clean if not new boiler suit emerged to surreptitiously scan the street before crossing at pace to the house opposite. 
His about turn and heavenwards gaze confirmed what I was seeing, that the chimney brush had yet to emerge from the Pot. Crossing back to his abode the front door closed and further minutes lapsed before the boiler suit parade and inspection was repeated with the same result.

A poke in the ribs is not the best way to get someones attention especially when he's bigger than you, but the "Sweep" had now performed his manoeuvres half a dozen times to no avail and I could sense things coming to fruition so the Bro had to be alerted.

Sure enough the absent Chimney Brush poked its Daisy like head into the morning sky and  continued to grow in length from the Pot.
Its own weight forced it to curve and we watched mesmerised and knowing that Fate had a hand in the outcome.

The fickle fingered brush knocked on the "Sweep's" door and immediately halted inanimately waiting the required response.
Within moments, the front door opened and the swaying brush head greeted our "Sweep" who retreated abruptly followed almost immediately by the brush and rods being pulled back upwards.

I'm certain it gave us a little wave before disappearing forever.

Our "Sweep" friend never reappeared to witness our convulsions, the tears were tripping us!