Promote Regular Servicing and Maintenance

HVP have published an article about Alisdair Cumming’s move from the automotive industry to become research development manager at Baxi. The article explains how Alisdair believes drawing comparisons between boilers and cars can help installers encourage homeowners to commit to a regular maintenance programme.

It’s a familiar story, where installers warn of the need for regular servicing and maintenance, but the message doesn’t always translate into a language homeowners understand. While many people may not think twice about spending hundreds of pounds to keep their cars running smoothly, this often isn’t a process they equate with keeping the home boiler going.

Explaining how a complex piece of machinery such as a boiler works can be tricky, and cash-strapped homeowners may be reluctant to spend money on their heating system until there is a Regular Boiler Servicingproblem. While boiler manufacturers such as Baxi publish easy-to-understand leaflets to assist installers with this, explaining the similarities between a boiler and a car can be a useful way of getting the point across.

In this vein, a useful comparison is boiler operating hours versus miles driven. Running a boiler for over a year without a service is much like driving a care for 100,000 miles without a check-up- a risk few drivers would take. No motorist would expect their vehicle to achieve the same miles per gallon if it had not been serviced, whereas many homeowners are shocked if a neglected boiler starts to burn more fuel to heat their home.

Indeed, some homeowners may be unaware that foregoing regular boiler servicing can also present a greater risk to their family’s health and safety. This is partly due to a lack of public knowledge around the threat of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Around 50 people die each year from CO poisoning and another 4,000 are treated in hospital. Given that the most common sources of excessive CO in the home are faulty gas appliances, these figures further demonstrate the necessity of annual servicing.

Another comparison that can be made is the effect missing a service can have on a warranty. Much like a car warranty or vehicle insurance, necessary maintenance must be conducted to retain protection, and an annual service is generally a condition of a boiler warranty.

In the same way homeowners would only trust a qualified mechanic to work on their car, they should also know the importance of only using a Gas Safe Registered engineer for any gas work – including servicing. The key difference here is government legislation. It’s critical any gas work is completed to the highest standard, but the law dictates it can only be completed by a Gas Safe registered professional, whereas there are no specific laws or ongoing training requirements relating to car mechanics.

Baxi encourages all reputable heating engineers to make a habit of showing their ID card before beginning work, to help educate homeowners on the importance of the scheme.

Not only does this ensure the safety of the homeowner, it also means their annual service is valid for warranty purposes. For a Baxi boiler to be eligible for a warranty it must be registered within 30 days of installation, and the Benchmark checklist must be completed. Once a new boiler is registered on our installer loyalty scheme, Baxi Works, we send out a yearly reminder on behalf of the installer, so the customer knows it’s time to arrange a service.

Ongoing homeowner education is just one of the ways the industry can work to improve gas safety. By making comparisons to familiar scenarios, such as car servicing, installers can help ensure the crucial message gets through loud and clear.

At R M Labels, we regularly bring to the attention of our readers any articles that encourage installers to promote their Gas Safe credentials to their customers. As a licensed supplier of Gas Safe products that are only available to Gas Safe registered installers*, we would suggest that all Gas Safe registered installers or heating engineers should include the Gas Safe logo and their registration number on information passed on to customers. These details can be added to annual service labels that can be applied to new boilers as they are installed. We all know how quickly time passes and it is easy for customers to forget when an annual service is due. Having a service label on the appliance will be a constant reminder of when the next service is due so that the date doesn’t get missed, and so causing the warranty to be invalidated.  Furthermore, displaying your information on the appliance will save your customers time trying to locate your details and will mean they are more likely to contact you first each time they need any working doing, rather than trying to find someone else.

Annual Boiler Service Label
Personalised Annual Boiler Service Label by R M Labels Limited

*Every time Gas Safe licensed products are sold by R M Labels, the purchaser’s details are checked on the Gas Safe Register to ensure they are a registered installer and their details match those given on the Gas Safe Register.

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For Plumbing and Heating Engineers that like to go the extra mile

Here’s a little idea for Plumbing and Heating Engineers that like to go the extra mile.

Try this quick and easy way to pick up extra work without having to be the hard salesman. And your customers will love you for it!!

Click here to view the Valve Tags

Once you have marked up your customer’s isolation valves and stopcocks, your details will always be at hand for whenever they need to get in touch. Putting the valve tags on all the isolation valves and stopcocks means that in an emergency your customers will be able to quickly contact you and will be eternally grateful if you have talked them through what they need to do to avoid a disaster. But more importantly for you, you will be the first person they call when they are thinking of having any new work done.

Valve Tags for pipework and valves
Valve Tags for pipework and valves

We asked some members of the public if they thought this service would be useful and if it was something they would be prepared to pay for.

Here is what they had to say:

If you haven’t used these Valve Tags before, why not try the Valve Tag Special Offer for new customers and have your details printed on the tags for free!

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Gas Safety Superhero

Back in December 2016 we posted about the Gas Safety Superheroes and following on from this, we saw the article below in last month’s HVP about Peter Booth (@pbplumber on Twitter) who came up with the hashtag #regardthecard for the Gas Safety Superheroes campaign.

Gas Safety Superheroes

Here is HVP’s article on Peter:

A Good Influence

Peter Booth is a third-generation plumber, but the first in his family to explore a new side of plumbing through social media. Originally just tempted to pop a few pictures of his work online for other tradespeople to check out, Mr Booth was pulled in by the sense of community and the opportunity to get a look at the work of other plumbers, to see what they do differently and what equipment they use.

Now he had over 5,000 followers and his reach extends well beyond just a few photos of his installations.

Mr Booth is now involved in promoting gas safety to the wider industry, standing up for installers across the country and encouraging young people to get into the trades.

He said: “I remember when I hit 500 followers and I thought that was massive, and it’s just grown and grown. I always follow back if the person that follows me is in the trade, because I love seeing what other people are doing and I love interacting with other people. It’s like a big bunch of mates.”

Recently, he was impressed by the quality of work he saw from Den Hollingworth of Hollingworth Heating (@DenHollingworth on Twitter), and bought a bag of wire wool after seeing how good Mr Hollingworth’s pipework looked, in order to polish his own in the same way.

Mr Booth says social media is great for seeing the standard of other people’s work and improving your own as a result.

He said: “I normally only get to see my own work or, if I’m going to repair something, a job that may not have been done to a great standard.”

One of his main focuses recently has been working for the good of installers across the country, whether this is banding together to make opinions known about new schemes or opportunities, or to promote important work like his involvement in Gas Safety Superheroes, a not for profit campaign designed to improve awareness, training, energy efficiency and workmanship within the gas industry.

“Gas Safe Register do Gas Safety Week but, for us, it’s Gas Safety Year. It’s Gas Safety Day every day,” said Mr Booth.

“The part I came up with (for Gas Safety Superheroes) was the hashtag #regardthecard because, since I became Gas Safe registered 15 years ago, I can count on one hand the amount of times people have asked to see my card on jobs.”

“The biggest problem with gas is people doing it that aren’t qualified. If everyone is aware that they should ask for the card before they do any work then that’s got to be bad for the cowboys.”

Though Mr Booth is humble about his social media presence, he puts considerable effort into using it to represent other plumbers and draw attention to products and issues that he believes are important.

One such example was his use of Twitter to encourage manufacturers to implement a callback system for technical calls. After an overwhelming poll with 93% in favour, manufacturers including Viessmann and Baxi agreed to implement callbacks with immediate effect.

Taking Pride

Mr Booth said: “If you’re doing a good job and you’re proud of your work, then you should want to put it on a platform – be it Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. I think that’s how people are going to start getting more work, by how they advertise on social media.”

“A lot of it used to be word of mouth, but these days most people don’t talk to their neighbours, they just find everything online.”

“If you’ve got an online presence, that’s going to help you get your name around and get noticed.”

We wholly support Mr Booth’s commitment to improving the industry for

Personalised Landlord Homeowner Gas Safety Certificates
R M Labels Personalised Landlord Homeowner Gas Safety Certificates CP12

reputable installers.  At R M Labels we offer a range of products licensed by the Gas Safe Register that are only available to Gas Safe Registered engineers. Before supplying any products that contain the Gas Safe logo we always check the purchaser’s details match those registered with Gas Safe.

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Safe Electrical Isolation of Gas Appliances

 

Dont’t Ignore The Electrics

This article was spotted in the ‘Your Views’ section of HVP:

“The Gas Safe Register Technical Bulletin (TB) 118 issued in July last year, quite rightly intimated that all engineers working on electrical appliances should be working under the Health & Safety at Work Regulations and more specifically the Electricity at Work Regulations.

This TB would appear to go some way in helping our industry take a safer approach to working on electrical appliances, or at least it would if it had reached more than a handful of engineers. Speaking to the gas engineers coming through our gas centre at Sterling Assessment Services on a daily basis, I can honestly say that all who were asked had no knowledge of this

Don't Ignore The ElectricsTB – and there lies the problem. I am sure that employers and engineers alike will have skipped over this TB due to its title and content: ‘Safe electrical isolation of gas appliances’.

In our experience, as an industry we have predominantly ignored: temporary continuity bonding, safe isolation of electrical appliances and basic fault finding practices. I will at this point apologise to those gas engineers/companies out there who do take this matter seriously, but in our experience you are in the minority. This approach can obviously lead to serious injury, or even death, along with possible prosecution and civil action against employers and employees who ignore legislation and manufacturers’ instructions.

A gas boiler is a 240V-AC electrical appliance with a large metallic surface area, along with numerous internal AC and DC electrical components, some of which can be as high as 325V-DC. With this in mind, surely it is inconceivable that engineers would proceed to put their hands in and around these appliances on a daily basis without first using basic electrical safety checks and the safe isolation procedures required by legislation and manufacturers’ instructions.

To this end, NICEIC has recently released a fully accreditied training and assessment program for gas engineers which guides them through basic electrical science, such as: safe isolation, how boilers/systems work and fault finding and testing. This will enable gas engineers and employers of gas engineers to keep up to date with the current electricity at work regulations while up-skilling themselves and their workforce on the fault finding techniques. This course will also allow gas engineers to use the latest up-to-date electrical testing equipment.” Julian Hearn, Sterling Assessment Services

Here is the Gas Safe Register Technical Bulletin 118

NICEIC: Electrical Regulations Explained

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Be Safe – Always Use Gas Safe Registered Engineers – Unregistered Installer Fined

Be Safe – Always use Gas Safe Registered Engineers!

HVP reported this month that an unregistered installer has been fined and given a suspended prison sentence after illegally carrying out work on a number of boilers. Faults were found on one such boiler following work carried out by Philip Locke in 2013, despite not being Gas Safe registered, High Wycombe Crown Court heard on the 9th February.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) wrote to Mr Locke informing him of

Gas Safe Registered Engineers
Gas Safe Registered Engineers

his responsibility to be registered in order to work on boilers, but he failed to comply.

Mr Locke of Chalfont St Giles, High Wycombe, pleaded guilty to two charges under the Gas Safety Regulations 1998 and was sentenced to four months imprisonment suspended for one year, fined £6,500 and ordered to pay costs of £6,280.

HSE inspector Stephen Faulkner said: “Philip Locke showed disregard for the law when he continued to work on gas appliances without certification. This case highlights that plumbers must be competent and Gas Safe registered to work on gas appliances.”

In a separate case, a Preston landlord received a suspended prison sentence after failing to ensure gas safety checks were carried out on the gas appliances in one of her properties.

After failing to comply with an HSE Improvement Notice, Pritpall Kaur Singh pleaded guilty to breaching section 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety

Personalised Landlord Homeowner Gas Safety Certificates
R M Labels Personalised Landlord Homeowner Gas Safety Certificates Only Sold to Gas Safe Registered Engineers!

at Work etc Act, 1974, and to one breach of Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 (36 (3)).

She was sentenced to a 26 week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months and was ordered to pay £1,000 costs.

HSE inspector Anthony Banks said: “If you rent property out, you must comply with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations, including the need to have a gas safety certificate. Gas appliances should be regularly checked, as faulty appliances can kill.”

Tenants/Homeowners
  • Stay safe – always use a Gas Safe registered engineer
  • Check – ask to see the engineer’s Gas Safe ID card*
  • Tenants – check your landlord has a Gas Safety Certificate for the property

*How to understand the Gas Safe ID Card

Find a Gas Safe Registered Engineer: Gas Safe Register

Gas Safe Registered Engineers/Installers
  • Are your Gas Safe details up-to-date? Licensed Gas Safe products can only be sold to Gas Safe registered engineers whose details line up with those held on the Gas Safe register – if you have moved premises or had a change of name – make sure you notify Gas Safe.

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Gas Certification Scheme Scrapped

Last month we told you about the new Gas Certification Scheme launched by Capita, the company behind the Gas Safe Register. However, this month it has  been reported in PHAM News that following widespread criticism from gas installers the scheme has been scrapped.

The UKAS gas safety certification scheme from Capita Gas Compliance Services (CGCS) was trumpeted as giving businesses a competitive edge, as well as saving on assessment costs and raising safety standards. In addition, it was claimed that the UKAS accreditation would provide assurance for organisations and employees against the risks of gas safety work.

Announcing the scheme, Matthew Hickman, MD at Capita Gas Compliance Services, said it would give businesses that go ‘above and beyond’ for gas safety work the recognition they deserve among their customer base and create potential new business opportunities. Assessments for businesses looking to achieve CGCS certification were to cover a number of areas, including quality control, supervision policies, service warranties and an on-site gas work assessment of employees and contractors.

In response to the launch, hundreds of Gas Safe registered installers voiced their opposition, concerned that it would confuse customers and create a two-tier system. Over 400 installers joined together to email Capita and express their displeasure. A few days later Capita replied with a short statement that thanked the installers for their feedback and said that the new service had been withdrawn.

Peter Booth (@PBplumber), who received over 500 retweets on his video that asked: ‘Am I not Gas Safe enough?’, commented “It’s great to see what a group of like-minded individuals can do when they get together for a common cause. We didn’t feel this scheme was needed and were vocal about the fact. It seems our voice was finally heard and they have scrapped this unwarranted scheme. Common sense has prevailed.”

Short Lived Gas Safety Scheme

PHAM News Editor, Chris Jones, went on to report:

Towards the end of its reign as the country’s gas registration body, CORGI received widespread criticism for being too commercially minded, upsetting not just installers, suspicious of any ‘money grabbing’ activities, but also other industry trade bodies and exhibition organisers who viewed the heavily promoted organisation as unfair competion. In comparison, Gas Safe, operated by multi-faceted group Capita, has received relatively good press. Restricting its endeavours to the registering, inspection and notification of gas installations, Capita has largely succeeded in avoiding controversy and the wrath of installers, apart from those few who thought they had wrongly been removed from the register. But that all changed in February with the announcement of the new gas certification scheme.

Credit to Capita for seemingly taking the criticism on board and wasting no time in withdrawing the scheme, but a lack of any formal statements and information about how such decisions were made does leave a number of questions unanswered. Not least is how the organisation plans to rebuild its now damaged relationship with the installer community.

At R M Labels, we have been following this story with interest and we will continue to post any further statements that are published.  We are keen supporters of Gas Safe Registered Installers and Heating Engineers. We supply many products licensed by the Gas Safe Register, such as gas certificates, gas warning labels and boiler service labels; we therefore strive to keep up-to-date with all legislation changes in the industry and to make sure that all the products we supply are to the current standards.

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Annual Boiler Servicing and Safety First

Do your homeowners have their boilers serviced annually?

When a heating engineer installs a new boiler, it is important to spend time with the homeowner explaining the terms and conditions of the warranty and stressing how important it is to register the product with the manufacturer.

Boilers require regular maintenance to maximise performance, reliability and safety, meaning it is important that homeowners look after their boilers right from the start, with regular servicing necessary to maintain the validity of the warranty.

Warranty terms usually stipulate only replacing parts with genuine spares and arranging an annual service, which must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Spending time explaining this to the customer is a great way to show the

Annual Boiler Service Label
Personalised Annual Boiler Service Label by R M Labels Limited

aftersales support your company can offer. Place a service label on the boiler so that your customer can see exactly when their boiler was installed and when the next service is due, this will mean they can clearly see your details and easily get in touch with your for their annual service.

Safety First

It’s important to explain to customers that the main reason for an annual service of their boiler is their safety. Consumer awareness of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is still thought to be generally low and it is important that installers explain to their customers that unsafe gas appliances (appliances that have been incorrectly fitted, badly repaired or poorly maintained) can produce this highly poisonous gas.  In the case of a leak, this can pose a serious risk.  Regular servicing of appliances is the best way to tackle this risk, ensuring the appliance will continue to perform as required and run efficiently all year round.  Furthermore, this will help reduce energy costs and the likelihood of breakdowns, saving money for the homeowner and keeping their family safe.

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Danger Do Not Use Safety Warning Labels for At Risk and Immediately Dangerous Situations

Every now and then we come across discussions regarding the interpretation of At Risk and Immediately Dangerous situations, so for our post this week we are referring to the information given by the Gas Safe Register, as detailed on the Help and Advice page of their website:

WARNING LABELS

A registered engineer’s left a warning label on your appliance – what does it mean?

When a registered engineer identifies an unsafe situation there’s a procedure they will look to follow: – the Gas Industry Unsafe Situations Procedure (GIUSP):

In the first instance, they’ll look to find the cause of the problem and rectify any faults;

If this is not possible, they will advise you that the fault(s) need to be repaired before the installation can be used again;

If the work cannot be corrected immediately, they’ll look to make the installation safe (after receiving your permission to do so), either by disconnecting it or turning off the gas to the affected part of the installation – this is dependent on the severity of the defects

 

Do Not Use Safety Warning Label

 

Warning Labels and Defect Categories

If a registered engineer has identified a gas related danger in your home, they’ll attach a Danger Do Not Use warning label to the dangerous gas fitting and provide you with a warning notice. The warning notice will show a ‘defect category.’ There are two types of defect category:

Immediately Dangerous (ID):

If an installation is classified as ‘immediately dangerous’ it is considered to be an immediate danger to life and property if left operating. The installation will be disconnected with your permission, and cannot be used until remedial work has been carried out to repair the defect(s). Continuing to use an immediately dangerous appliance could endanger lives.

Should you refuse them permission to disconnect the installation or appliance and the appliance runs on natural gas, the gas engineer will report the situation to the Gas Emergency Service Provider (ESP). The ESP has legal powers of entry to make the situation safe, and are also able to disconnect the gas supply to the property. However, this does not apply to Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) installations.

At Risk (AR):

If an installation is classified as ‘At Risk’ there are one or more recognised faults present which could constitute a danger to life or property without further faults developing. The installation will be turned off with your permission, and should not be used again until the fault has been corrected. There are a limited

number of cases in which turning off the gas supply will not remove or reduce the risk. In such circumstances, you’ll be issued with a warning notice and advised on who to contact for further investigation.

 

Personalised Warning Advice Notice Certificates

 

Further information

You may be advised that the installation does not comply to current standards. While this is something to bear in mind, it’s up to you if you choose to act on it. It’s always a good idea to bring an installation up to date, but whether you’d like this done could depend on external factors such as cost or whether you’ll be looking to have the appliance replaced in the near future.

ESP Visits

If the Gas Emergency Service Provider has been out to your property as a result of an emergency visit (such as a smell of gas or fumes) and cannot confirm that an appliance is safe, they may also attach a ‘Danger Do Not Use’ warning label to the installation/appliance and issue you with an appropriate warning notice.

If the ESP has issued you with one of these notices, you’ll be advised not to use the appliance until an appropriately qualified Gas Safe registered engineer has checked it. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to ensure the installation is checked. The registered engineer should keep you (or your landlord where appropriate) informed of the actions they’re taking in the interests of your safety. If you have any concerns over this, you can contact the Gas Safe Register

Gas Safe Register: Help and Advice

At R M Labels we offer a full range of products for identifying gas appliances, where you will find the Danger Do Not Use Safety Warning Labels and Warning Advice Notice Certificates which comply to the current regulations and are licensed by the Gas Safe Register.

Link to website: R M Labels Limited

Related Publications:

Gas Industry Unsafe Situations Procedure Explained

Gas Industry Unsafe Situations Procedure

New gas safety certification scheme launched

HVP (Heating Ventilation & Plumbing) reported this month that a new gas safety certification scheme aimed to serve as a benchmark of best practice was launched on 3 February by Capita Gas Compliance Services (CGCS).

This is a voluntary scheme that will give certified businesses, says CGCS, a competitive edge, as it will demonstrate their ability to deliver a high quality service, having gone through rigorous and impartial third party assessment, confirming that all legal gas safety standards are met.

The scheme is UKAS accredited and recognised by public and private sector organisations. It also offers reduced risks in relation to the delivery of safe gas work as the use of relevant accredited certification is recognised as a mitigating factor in legal processes… read the article in full

In a second article HVP have reported that some engineers feel this undermines the value of being Gas Safe Registered… read the article in full

We believe that whatever business you are in, it is important to offer a

Gas Safety Certification
Personalised Gas Appliance Label

high quality and professional service to your customers. To help you do this, we supply a range of personalised products that can be placed on boilers, cylinders and gas appliances, including products licensed by the Gas Safe Register. This means your customers always have your details to hand and can get in touch with you.

Filling in the date when the next service is due on the personalised boiler service label gives the

New Gas Safety Certification launched
Personalised Boiler Service and Efficiency Test Label

homeowner peace of mind and saves them time trying to remember when they last had their appliance serviced. Your Gas Safe number and contact details are clearly displayed on the label so that it is quick and easy for customers to get in touch with you.

The personalised Landlord/Homeowner Gas Safety Certificates again have all your details

Gas Safety Certification launched
Personalised Landlord Homeowner Gas Safety Certificates

clearly printed and saves you time repeatedly having to fill in your details.

All of the personalised products are competitively priced and available in small or large quantities, aimed at professional plumbing and heating engineers and installers who wish to offer their customers a high quality service.

Our main site: www.rmlabels.com

Choosing the right product for the job

There are a large variety of products available for marking up pipework and sometime it is hard to know which product is the most suitable. Detailed below are some of the options available to you:

Pipe Markers
A quick and cost effective solution for marking up pipework that does not require full banding. We have a large range of standard self-adhesive pipe markers to choose from and each marker has an arrow either end allowing you to cut off one arrow, leaving the remaining arrow to indication the direction of flow. You can also add your own text to the pipe markers. Available in three sizes to suit all pipe diameters. The Water Pipe Markers are colour banded for water from the Public Water Supply or Any Other Source and for Potable or Non Potable Water. All of the Pipe Marker colours comply with the BS 1710 2014 requirements. View the Pipe Markers

Pipe Banding
Ideal if you need to mark up pipework with full colour banding. Each piece of banding is available in three sizes to suit all pipework diameters and is long enough to wrap around the pipe. The banding comes with descriptive text viewable from any direction and includes directional arrows, saving time building up full banding with individual rolls of tape. All of the Pipe Banding colours comply with the BS 1710 2014 requirements. View the Pipe Banding

Pipe Identification Tape
A cost effective way to mark up large areas of pipework. Choose from the comprehensive ranges of 50mm wide text tapes and coloured Pipe ID Tapes. The coloured tapes are available in three sizes and can be used together with the text tapes and directional arrow tapes to create full banding to the British Standard requirements. All of the colours for Pipe ID Tapes comply with the BS 1710 2014 requirements. View the Pipe ID Tapes

Engraved Labels and Discs
Produced using a high quality traffolyte engraving laminate, these products are hardwearing and ideal for use in commercial situations such as boiler houses and plant rooms. The standard 42mm diameter discs come complete with chrome plated fixing chains and are ideal for marking up valves; other disc sizes are available. The engraved labels are available in any size and come with screw holes or a self-adhesive backing. View the Engraved Labels and Discs

Valve Tags
These credit card sized durable plastic labels are suitable for domestic use. There is a complete range of standard tags for marking up all of the system’s pipework and valves, including tags for plumbing, heating, oil, gas, solar and reclaimed water. Each tag comes complete with a plastic cable tie. View the Valve Tags

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