Where have all the heating engineers gone? I say this because Ben and I have just this last week spent three days installing a new boiler and correcting heating system pipework for a lady who has had problems for the last eight years and has had to replace her boiler prematurely.

We discovered two basic installation defects with the system, the primary flow and return pipes dipped under the domestic pipework under the landing floor resulting in trapped air, the enemy of any heating system, and the radiator returns were not commoned together before they connected in to the primary return. This is all very basic stuff to a proficient and properly trained heating installer.

I have been doing this work for 41 years now and know several of the older guys locally. Severall of them have now retired or are going to within the next few years. They don’t want the hassle, expense or responsibilty of training an apprentice and to be honest the work is not profitable enough to carry one through the first few years of their training.

Several younger guys have become trained to work with gas and become Gas-Safe Registered, as they should. This means they can work on gas appliances such as boilers but it doesn’t mean they are good heating engineers with a thorough working knowledge of a heating system. It’s rather like taking your car to a body repair shop and hoping they can repair your engine. Often they just don’t have enough knowledge to understand the basics.

Ours is a practical job and there are many variants of heating system out there. You need some experience and basic understanding of the fundamentals of heating design to identify and work on these systems. This knowledge and understanding is best learnt by being mentored by someone who is experienced, as is generally true of most skills based vocations.

The good news for our customer is that she now has a quiet efficient heating system that will heat her home economically and keep her nice and warm this winter.