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Common Winter Enquiries

During periods of very cold weather we occasionally receive enquiries from customers whose boilers do not appear to be working.

Although modern natural gas boilers benefit from being in more insulated areas of the home than other home heating boilers the cold weather can still cause problems.

If you are experiencing problems with your heating system we advise you to contact a Gas Safe Registered Installation Company, ideally the company who installed your system. A full list of Gas Safe Registered installation companies can be found at www.gassaferegister.co.uk.

For your assistance there is a list of installation companies under the Find A Service Agent section of our website who have informed Phoenix that they provide a Breakdown service.

What are some of the problems customers face during cold weather?

Frozen Water Pipes

If you suspect water pipes inside your home have frozen you are likely to experience problems with your heating and hot water. You should at this stage contact your local plumber or Gas Safe Registered Installation Company.

You should immediately locate the stopcock for the mains water into your home to ensure you can isolate the water supply if required.

The stopcock is a valve for turning off and on the cold water supply within your home. When you turn the stopcock in a clockwise direction the water supply will be shut off. You can turn the water supply back on by turning the stopcock in an anti-clockwise direction.

Stopcocks are usually found in your kitchen, below the sink unit.  

No water supply to your house

You should contact NI Water by phone 08457 440088 or email waterline@niwater.com

The best way to check if your mains water supply is still operating is to run the cold water tap in your kitchen. If water is available at this point this suggests the main water supply is not frozen.

To learn more about your pipework responsibilities in advance of winter please visit niwater.com/pipework

Frozen Condensate Pipe

All Oil and Gas condensing boilers achieve their high efficiencies by extracting heat from the boiler flue gases.

This process causes the flue gases to cool to a liquid. The condensate pipe takes this liquid away to an appropriate drain which can often mean the pipes runs externally.

The picture below shows a typical condensate pipe, the white pipe is the actual condensate pipe.

Condensate Pipe

During periods of extreme temperatures the liquid in this external pipe can freeze and cause a blockage.

Boilers will detect this blockage and shut down to avoid expensive water damage.

If you think this has happened to your boiler you should contact a Gas Safe registered Installation Company to thaw your condensate pipe and find a permanent solution to the problem.

If you are unable to contact your installer you could check to see if the plastic pipe that runs from your boiler outside is frozen. If it is, you may be able to thaw the plastic pipe as long as it is accessible and you can do so safely.

You can try using warm not boiling water, a heat wrap or a hot water bottle to thaw out the pipe. Don’t try removing or dislodging the pipe but once you apply some heat, the ice should melt or loosen up.

If you have successfully thawed out the pipe your boiler will need to be reset by referring to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Frozen Meter

In extreme cold weather conditions your meter may become frozen.  Please refer to the following video clip on our You Tube channel for advice on how to defrost your meter.

How to defrost your meter >>

Video Help

We hope that the advice above is helpful in assisting you with your query. On the Phoenix Natural Gas You Tube Channel you will find a number of short video clips that may be of help to customers experiencing difficulties with their central heating system or gas meter. You can see a full list of all the clips available by clicking on 'see all' in both the Uploads and Favourites sections.

Follow Phoenix Natural Gas on You Tube:

Click here to view Phoenix Natural Gas on You Tube

Remember if you at any stage think you smell gas you should call the Gas Emergency Number on 0800 002 001

Useful Contacts

  Contact Number Website
Gas Safe 08004085500 www.gassaferegister.co.uk
NI Water 08457440088 www.niwater.com
NIHE 03448920900 www.nihe.gov.uk
Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing employers’ Federation (SNIPEF) 01312252255 www.snipef.org
Baxi Boilers O8448711533 www.baxi.co.uk
Ideal Heating 01482498660 www.idealheating.com
Ferroli O8715592924 www.ferroli.co.uk
Glow-worm 03301003091 www.glow-worm.co.uk
Worcester 03301233366 http://www.worcester-bosch.co.uk/homeowner
Vaillant 08456022922 www.vaillant.co.uk
Vokera 01274866100 www.vokera.co.uk
Ariston 08706009888 www.ariston.co.uk

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Here are some frequently asked questions

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Installing natural gas central heating does eliminate the need for a separate hot water tank, so it is possible to free up some space where the hot press currently exists. However, it is not a requirement of installing natural gas central heating that your hot water tank is removed, so it is entirely your choice.

Homeowners installing a new central heating appliance will be required to make an application to the Builiding Control department of their local council prior to work commencing.

Once you have requested your connection to the natural gas network, it can take up to 15 working days to get a planned connection date. Your natural gas connection is installed over approximately 5 working days, which includes re-instatement on private and public property.  The final stage is the internal installation completed by your installer which (depending on the work involved) can take on average 3 working days.

Currently Phoenix Natural Gas offers a free connection to the natural gas network, worth up to £750.  Work to install your natural gas appliance, e.g. central heating or gas fire is carried out by an independent Gas Safe registered installer.  Details of these installers can be found here.

There would be more energy saving benefits to change everything at once, but we realise that family budgets may prevent this. It is possible to change over in stages, as financial considerations allow.

As with any major home improvement there will be an element of disruption, although both Phoenix Natural Gas and Gas Safe registered installation companies (registered with Phoenix Natural Gas) will aim to keep this to an absolute minimum.

The network operator provides and maintains the natural gas network.  The supplier buys gas which they then sell to consumers via the network operator’s network.  Your supplier is your first point of contact for billing queries and payment card requests.

Phoenix Natural Gas is the gas transporter and network operator.  We do not supply natural gas.  Details of gas suppliers in the greater Belfast area can be found here.

This section is currently under review.

Please call your gas supplier or 03454 55 55 55 for help and advice.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

 

Phoenix Natural Gas is the network operator and not the gas supplier.  Therefore, you will need to speak to your gas supplier.  Details of suppliers can be found here.

On occasion Phoenix Natural Gas will need to carry essential maintenance on the gas meter.  We will endeavour to notify you of this to enable access to your gas appliances after the work is carried out. However, we know that this is not always convenient for consumers. 

If we have been at your property and left a no access card this will give the appropriate number to call to get your gas switched back on.  If you have any questions regarding this please contact our customer services team on 03454 55 55 55.

Natural gas is the fuel of choice for many consumers across Europe with 20 million customers in Great Britain alone. Phoenix Natural Gas continually monitors the system for safety and operates a 24-hour emergency response service, 365 days a year. All gas appliances should be correctly installed by a Gas Safe registered installation company and should be checked annually.

Natural gas is a very convenient, clean and versatile fuel. But like all fuels it must be handled wisely to ensure its safety and efficiency. If you think you smell gas, you should contact the 24-hour gas emergency service on 0800 002 001 or click here for further advice.

 

No. All installers who are eligible to carry out natural gas work have been registered with Gas Safe Register, which is the national watchdog for gas safety in the UK. Many of these installers will also be registered with Phoenix Natural Gas, which ensures that you can take advantage of our many offers and incentives for new customers switching to natural gas.

A number of installation companies offer a finance facility which allows you to install a new high efficiency natural gas system and spread the cost of installation over a fixed number of months.

For more information on Finance please click here.

For a full list of Phoenix registered installers please click here.