Our heating systems were legal before they became law!

Remember when car seat belts were optional?  Being without one now would seem as primitive as having to hand crank your engine, or having pop out indicators on the side of your car.  But technology has moved on.  Saab and Volvo led the way in the late 1950’s, when the first seat belts were fitted… Read more »

Decisions, decisions – all I actually want is a boiler!

Do you ever feel nostalgic for the days when you could simply walk into a café, order a tea or coffee, and be served immediately without being given a third degree by the barrister?  Do you want cappuccino, latte, americano, flat white, espresso or macchiato? Or would you prefer Assam, Darjeeling, Earl Grey, Mint, Camomile… Read more »

Spring is here, the sap is rising, jobs are waiting!

It’s been said that ‘everything comes to those who wait’.  What they don’t tell you is that when it comes it is usually a disaster or a disappointment!  That’s because anything worth having in life – from finding your significant other to landing a plum job – is usually achieved by dint of considerable personal… Read more »

Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink

10 tips for conserving water during the shortage With widespread flooding following the thaw after the ‘Beast from the East’ held Britain in its grip, you might be forgiven for wondering why there is a water shortage, and householders in London and the South East are being urged to be sparing with their water. Well,… Read more »

0% finance, 100% reliability – you’re sure of both at Harpers!

Just because a seller offers you 0% finance doesn’t mean you’re getting a bargain.  If you were buying a car, a second-hand car dealer might offer you 0% finance, but the more important question is: is the vehicle roadworthy and reliable? It’s the same with your central heating boiler.  As one of the biggest household… Read more »

Ebenezer scrooge advises on energy conservation

I once knew a farmer who used to get the best out of his labourers by putting his laziest hands on the job first.  Being lazy they would find the easiest and less effortful way to do the work – whether it be pitching hay or raising spuds – then he’d tell the others to… Read more »

Smart Solutions For Hot House Plants And Fresh Air Fiends

When I’m in a playful mood I call my wife the ‘Dark Lady’, because she follows me around the house of an evening switching off the lights I’ve left on in our loo, kitchen or hallway.  When I’m not in such a playful mood I call her the Control Freak. That’s because, unusually in a… Read more »

How To Stop Your Heating System Having A Heart Attack!

It’s a no brainer that healthy living lengthens your life, especially if you suffer from an ailment – like thrombosis or varicose veins – that could develop into a life threatening condition. So just as you’d take your doctor’s advice on treatment and medication, it makes sense to follow your plumber’s advice on servicing and… Read more »

Gas Safety Week: Don’t Rely on a Canary in a Cage!

  The death of a pet budgerigar was what alerted Braintree man Darren Jones and his two boys to the danger of gas poisoning when a faulty boiler leaked lethal carbon monoxide into their home. The boys were distraught at the loss of their pet. “I had to tell them he’d gone to play with… Read more »

Shower Forecast: Clear And Bright

In today’s ‘wash and go’ world, the shower is fast becoming the central feature of modern bathrooms. You might luxuriate in a bath at the weekend, but a brisk shower offers a stimulating start to the working day or a welcome refresher after the commute home. And in homes where space is at a premium… Read more »

Like car, like boiler, regular servicing prevents breakdowns!

We may live in a throwaway society – you’ll find perfectly serviceable TVs, PCs and home furnishings junked at your local council recycling point – but few of us would consider trading in the family car because it needed an oil change or an MOT.  We might exchange it when a repair bill is going… Read more »

Plumbing the depths: the dangers of DIY bathroom design

I’ve come across some primitive plumbing arrangements in my time: my grandparents had an outside loo with a splintered wooden seat and a 30 foot drop shaft.  Hung on a nail alongside was a wodge of torn up newspapers with that smudgy printers ink that comes off on your hands and … well I’ll leave… Read more »

How to tell a professed plumber from a professional

BBC 1’s Rogue Traders show has, quite rightly, made many wary of being cheated or having their property damaged by dishonest or unqualified tradespeople.  Whilst such ‘cowboys’ are the exception rather than the rule, we thought we’d offer you a few tips to help you tell the professed plumber from the professional one. Beware Uninvited… Read more »

Cheap imitations can cost you dear!

Passed any dud £1 coins recently?  Nowadays it’s almost impossible not to.  According to the Royal Mint, at least one in 30 is counterfeit, which is why they’re introducing the new hard-to-fake, 12 sided £1 coin to make forgers’ lives more difficult. If a fake coin passes muster, why should you worry, you might be… Read more »

If we can’t fix it we know a man who can!

There was a time, back in the 50s and 60s – when most car owners were their own home mechanics. They knew how to change the oil, reset the points, or clear a blocked fuel line. Some even went further. A friend of mine from the North said that in his home town Bank Holiday… Read more »

Can’t afford an interior designer? Call a plumber!

Time was when plumbers were only called out to fix a dripping tap or unblock a drain.  And whilst that remains an essential service, today’s plumber is more likely to style himself a bathroom designer and fitter, or even more grandly, a heating, ventilation and air conditioning engineer. Lifestyles and living standards have changed over… Read more »

Have you been MoP (Ministry of Plumbing) tested?

There’s some talk in the plumbing and heating trade of introducing the domestic equivalent of an MoT test – an official annual service and certification for household boilers.  It has been light-heartedly referred to as an MoP (Ministry of Plumbing) test! Of course, there is no such body, and such a measure is not mandatory… Read more »

How clean is your bathroom?

How clean is your bathroom?  Would it make a worthy project for Kim Woodburn and Aggie McKenzie, the stars of Channel 4’s ‘How Clean is Your House’ show, who boldly go where no mop has been before?! Well, hopefully not.  The whole point of a bathroom is to emerge from it cleaner than you went… Read more »

Throw another log on your home heating system!

Whether for roasting chestnuts or toasting toes, the cheerful blaze of a real fire really comes into its own during the winter months, which goes a long way to explain the growing popularity of wood burning stoves.   Now even town dwellers are opting for their cosy country charm. Like a puppy, though, wood burning stoves… Read more »

Heat under your feet – underfloor heating comes of age!

Today’s technological breakthroughs are not all quite as revolutionary as you might imagine.  Take electric cars, for example.  They were on the streets of London and New York over a century ago.  But they were overtaken – literally – by petrol driven cars, which were faster and had a greater range, if not, as we… Read more »

A cautionary tale for gas safe week

Think you can smell gas?  Whatever you do, don’t follow the example of Mr Moody, whose horrendous experience made headline news in the Daily Mail a while back.  Whilst checking out the rooms of his house for a leak he flicked on a cigarette lighter, triggering a massive explosion that rocked the property, blowing out… Read more »

Is solar heating a better investment than an ISA?

Should you invest in solar heating?  Given the fact that the British summer is often a washout – flaming June rarely lives up to its name and the August Bank Holiday is a fancy name for a wet weekend! – you might be forgiven for thinking that solar heating is fine for Continentals but a… Read more »

Bath, shower or wet room? – ablutions solutions from Harpers!

There’s a famous Punch cartoon of a tramp writing a testimonial for Pears’ Soap, with the caption “I used your soap two years ago, and since then I have used no other”.  I sometimes think of that when I joke with my wife, who tut-tuts if I wear the same tee shirt two days running,… Read more »

Stemming the flood: what to do before the plumber arrives!

Although the AA have voted themselves the ‘4th emergency service’, the title is equally well deserved by us in the plumbing profession, who are constantly called on to stem the flood and mount mopping up operations on tripping taps, burst pipes and leaking boilers! But just as first aid can make a critical difference to… Read more »

Easing the pressure with home boiler loans

Unlike other big ticket items – a new car or a lounge suite for example – a boiler is more often seen as a painful necessity than a luxury lifestyle purchase.  And yet for those who love their home comforts – snug sitting rooms, hot baths and warm towels – a decent, dependable boiler is… Read more »

Keeping your heating system working efficiently.

Keeping your heating system working efficiently. Your central heating system will over time attract dirt and debris from old radiators and boilers. To protect your boiler and heating system from some of the build up of these fragments, fitting a Worcester Greenstar System Filter, especially when fitted with a new boiler, will reduce considerably the… Read more »

How do I revamp my bathroom?

You want to make the most of your bathroom so as it’s a “showroom” brochure type bathroom, but how and where do you start?  There is nothing more frustrating than looking through brochures only to find out that the bath you have fallen in love with isn’t going to fit.  So you have a wish… Read more »

Which boiler is best for my home – and my wallet?

Saving on household fuel bills needn’t mean wrapping yourself in blankets or hugging hot water bottles to keep warm! The cost of efficient central heating and piping hot water can be cut significantly by installing the right boiler type and size for your home. But what, you may ask, is the right boiler type for… Read more »