British Gas Homecare services was awful during the pandemic March 2020/21. It took me over an hour to chat them online and get the first appointments. A real nightmare. Then the speed at which they concluded their visit, was astonishing. I had to get them round again now that lockdown has eased and the fear of death has left. The difference is clear at this session including the process of making the booking and the engineers.
No value for money
The Homecare service during the pandemic was definitely not value for money. I was glad that I was able to use the online chat service to book an engineers visit. I can imagine those who were less able to interact this way. It was horrendous to say the least.
The first time I chatted online, I felt that the customer service personnel deliberately wanted to frustrate me into giving up with my request. It took me over an hour of chatting to arrange a visit via online chat.
Never give up
So a few weeks ago, I figured that now is the time to book another visit. And today is the day for the arranged visit from British gas engineers. One to attend to the boiler and one for bathroom fan extractor.
This is the 2nd visit for the fan and 3rd visit for the boiler. All visits have been during the pandemic. I arranged this visit because I felt that now the fear of the virus had lessened, the engineers should revisit and review their initial findings and thoughts. Because I was not bought by the initial fly-by-night visits.
The previous visits were too quick and rushed and only repeated what was written in the previous report (boiler). And quite frankly, I wasn't having that. I felt as if they were trying to fob me off. Plus I still had the faults to the hot water and extractor fan.
After all, I pay for a service, it's not a free gift or donation from British Gas. It's a monthly direct debit. Which I must say, continued throughout the whole 2020/21 financial year/pandemic. I felt that if after this visit, having had the time to discuss the issues, without the fear of catching the virus (while wearing their masks) then I will be reassured to go with their recommendation.
Bathroom extractor fan diagnosis
The initial visit from the engineer stated that I needed to go and purchase a 4inch low voltage extractor fan with a timer. With no explanation of how to go about this and where to go.
Anyway needless to say that I was overwhelmed by the catalogue of 4inch low voltage extractor fans that came with a timer. That no purchase was made.
Lets just say that I needed a second opinion.
I am glad I requested another visit because the electrician who visited today had the most calmest temperament 🤗... he took his time to explain things to me. He said the same thing, in many ways. Answering my questions all the time.
He explained that it was only the temperature stat that was faulty. And that I did not need to replace the fan, just the temperature stat. And because the temperature 🌡stat was faulty, the fan would not work.
Simple - but not the difference in opinions
How and Where
He advised that I took a picture of the stat and visit the nearest Wicks or B&Q, to try and purchase the exact/similar stat.
Apparently ScrewFix is a catalogue shop and useful to tradesmen who know exactly what they need.
In the meantime he will call me back with a quote on replacing the stat. Although British Gas Homecare covers the replacement of extractor fans, he was unsure if the policy covers replacement temperature stats. It is likely that I will be charged a fee.
I will update this blog with the final outcome.
So on the previous visits, I was told that the radiators had sludge and would need to be flushed (£920). Not being an expert myself, I felt that this procedure may resolve the heat that gets to the radiators, but not the boiler itself. Bearing in mind the radiator heat seems fine.
Anyway, the engineer recognised that he had visited this property previously. I remembered him too. I explained the issue with the hot water and the inconvenience. I also explained about the sludge and that a flush was recommended. But I felt something else could also be done to the boiler.
He ran the hot water tap, opened up the boiler and diagnosed a blockage with the plate heat exchanger. Plus he identified that the boiler did not have a magnetic filter.
Magnetic filter (£149) is required to stop dirt going back into the boiler, which causes the sludge that stops the boiler from heating up and replacement plate, which is blocked as a result of the missing filter.
Apparently they didn't fit a filter at the point of installation as it would have increased the initial cost of the boiler. It would have been nice to have made that choice.
During this visit, he fitted a magnetic filter and replaced the plate heat exchanger.