Everyday, we turn our hot water on without a second thought. Soon, we'll be doing that with our central heating too. When you live in one of our homes, you can do these things because of our gas team.
One of our gas engineers kindly volunteered to show me the ropes of gas servicing. Normally I’m responsible for finance, ICT, governance and procurement at the Trust - but with Terry, I was learning how important it is to get your annual gas service.
Personalising our visits to you
Our first visit was to an older customer.
Terry wiped his feet before we went in. It was a small act of courtesy but a really important one.
He then talked me through the process he had to go through to service the boiler. He apologised to the tenant for having to keep running the water and ran it into a cup so it didn't splash everywhere.
After looking at her boiler, Terry also had a chat with the customer about how she could turn down the temperature on her boiler to save some money.
A numbers game
The biggest surprise I had whilst shadowing Terry was how much maths he has to do as part of a gas service. As part of each check he has to calculate the gas rates and heat inputs. He calculates the gas rate per hour and then converts the figure to cubic feet - is your mind blown? Mine was!
Not only does he have to do the maths, but he also has to know what the different parameters are for each type of boiler.
This is why it’s so important to have your boiler serviced by a member of our gas team. They’re specially trained to keep you and your family safe.
We also visited Pennine Court in Hurdsfield. It was great to see the views from these high rise flats.
Terry explained the paperwork he has to fill in at each servicing appointment, and how important it is to note down everything he does in a clear way. This is because the work he and the gas team does is regularly inspected to make sure the work has been done to the right standard.
The ups and downs of gas servicing
At Pennine Court, Terry spent quite a lot of time on his knees; some of the gas meters were under sinks or cupboards under the stairs. He had to move a lot of stuff to get to some of the meters, but Terry was very careful to put everything back where it came from (when it was safe to do so!)
Luck favours the brave
I think Terry was brave volunteering to have me tag along with him for four hours on a drizzly wet Thursday, and hopefully it wasn’t too bad for him.
We didn’t have any ‘no access’ problems which I know is unusual. ‘No access’ is a huge problem for the Trust. It was clear this frustrates Terry too.
‘No access’ is when we have arranged an appointment with you but – maybe you’ve forgotten, we all have a lot on – you’re not in so we can’t make sure your home is safe.
Annually, ‘no access’ visits cost the Trust thousands of pounds per year – money that should be used for making your homes and neighbourhoods great places to live, rather than turning up to service boilers that we can’t get inside to fix.
I know that whenever I have my own gas service, I’m happy to wait for the gas safe engineer because I know it means that it’s more likely my boiler will start first time when I need it. I also know that (after my day out with Terry!) the next time I have a service engineer out, I’ll be paying careful attention to make sure he does it properly…
I enjoyed my morning and thanks to Terry for letting me tag along. I hope this inspires you to keep an eye out for your boiler service too!
- Jules Booker, Director of Operations