Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Education of Plumbers

My personal opinion of the knowledge of UK plumbers is not that good, we seem to allow ourselves to be dictated to by people who can profit from the lack of knowledge and skills of installers, my main gripe is inhibitors and magnetic filters, why do we add these products to systems, in my opinion it is because we are forced fed that these components are needed to give a good quality system, well they are not needed, good design and good deaeration availability of a sealed system is what is required, inhibitors and magnetic filters are there to overcome the problems caused by oxygen present in the heating system, in my opinion instead of treating the symptons it would be better to eliminate the cause, "air", installers should spend a little more time in designing their systems to ensure they are self venting and adding good quality deaeration devices such as SpiroVent deaerators but you never see these installed in many systems, but you see magnetic filters installed onto brand new systems, WHY? it just does not make sense, proper system design seems to be missing from training courses these days, the whole training system needs to be looked at, it is just a box ticking exercise these days and it seems that as long as your cheque clears you will be qualified, ability, knowledge and skill seems to have little importance in todays plumbing and heating training, well I think it is time we changed that attitude and started to bring back some respectability to our industry, with proper training, I work in Europe quite a bit and they do not use inhibitors, noe magnectic filters, they rely on the installers high level of skill and their ability to design a good quality efficient system, unlike the UK who have the attitude of chuck a combi boiler in and get your money, its time for the industry to change.  


  1. Chris, really interesting piece. Coming from the renewables perspective, what you are outlining is but the tip of the iceberg of what needs to be done to upskill the "heating engineering" sector. You are right, the basic skills simply aren't there. I am involved in an event on 3rd April to discuss the industry training framework for heat pumps, which despite the efforts of Summitskills and the like, are sadly lacking in what needs to be done to upskill an entire industry to be able to fit heat pumps and solar thermal properly. If you'd like to be involved with this event, please get in touch (DM via Twitter). It sounds like your input would be valuable.

  2. I agree with what your saying for a new install... but if you are putting a new boiler onto an old existing system you need to put some sort of magna clean on to make sure you get it all out of the system flushing alone wont do this especially one pipe systems.
    Also manufacturer's now send out there engineer's with magna test kits and if there is any trace it invalidates the guarantee.

    1. Barry, if you are putting a new boiler onto an existing system them the system needs to be thoroughly cleaned, power flushing if necessary, need to be cleaned to BS 7593:2006 then good quality de-aeration products need to be installed to ensure all air is eliminated from the system, preventing any future corrosion issues, installers need to learn that we do not want to treat the symptoms, but cure the disease, we should stop offering installers an easy route out.