Heating woes, pt.2

Pipes and gauges

Me: Hello, our central heating boiler is not working and my wife called yesterday to arrange an engineer’s visit, she was told that someone would come out early — and certainly between 08:00 and 13:00 — but it is now past one and no-one has arrived yet. I just wanted to make sure that someone is coming.

Scottish Gas Homecare teleworker: Let me just check, Mr Saunders … [30 seconds later] there is no appointment booked for you today.

Which is strange because Jane spent 30 minutes on the telephone to another Scottish Gas Homecare telephone assistant (also called Jane) doing three things:

  1. moving our contract over to the new address (AGAIN!! She’d already called the day before to do this)
  2. putting me on the contract, and
  3. booking an appointment for “as early as possible” this morning.

To say that I was (and still am) upset and angry would be … well, absolutely spot on! Because not only is it infuriating that, for whatever reason, Scottish Gas haven’t been able to do their job properly and successfully book a visit but it has completely disrupted our plans for today.

My Mum came up to visit last night and the plan was that I would take her back to Edinburgh this afternoon.

Scottish Gas Homecare teleworker: Oh, but that’s okay we could book in the appointment for tomorrow.

Me: No, it’s not okay. We want our heating and hot water. We’ve been without it since Saturday and we were promised that someone would come out to see us EARLY THIS MORNING!!

So Mum in a fit of rash adventure has taken the bus from Anstruther to St Andrews (20 mins) to sit in the cold for 40 mins at St Andrews bus station to wait for the 16:00 bus to Edinburgh. And she has angina, and has spent the last 24 hours in a house with no heating.

And I’m at home still waiting and still upset. Upset that we’ve been let down by Scottish Gas, upset that I’ve let Mum down and she is now suffering badly with her angina (I know that because she’s just called me), and upset because … well, I’m upset and I don’t like being upset.

But at least they had put me on the contract… oh, hang on! No they hadn’t even done that. And now we’re going to have to wait until the weekend before they can call Jane to do that as she is off to Belfast on business for a few days.

They’d better turn up today. Otherwise … actually otherwise what? Otherwise I might write them a stiff letter? Otherwise I might just have to spend my fifth night in the cold and with no hot water? Otherwise I might just blog about my poor experience!

This is just not acceptable. We pay for this cover:

Choose HomeCare 200 and you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing we’re caring for your complete central heating system. If anything goes wrong with your boiler and controls or your radiators and hot water you can rely on our engineers for help.

I actually do believe that. My experience of Scottish Gas engineers has been exemplary. It’s just the bureaucracy, the automated telephone systems and the not really knowing whether you have successfully booked someone to come or not that is the really infuriating bit.


17:16 The heating engineer has now visited. It turns out that he’s been here before. A lot. The hot water expansion tank has gone completely and needs replaced. Which will also mean that other parts (naturally) will also have to be replaced.

So, a bucket-load of parts have been ordered and he’ll return sometime on Friday (am or pm) to fit them and then hopefully we’ll have heating and hot water. In the meantime the system is running on minimum which may or may not limp through to Friday.

The good news is that I’ve now managed to get the electric fire in the living room working. Using a pointy stick and a can of WD-40. I kid you not. (Details on request.)

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

5 thoughts on “Heating woes, pt.2”

  1. Shouldn’t your lawyers be dealing with this? It’s my understanding that everything should be in working order when the house is handed over to you and you have a fixed time within which the former owner is responsiblefor anything dodgy.

    They won’t wait in for the gas man to call though!

  2. I guess as you have been in for over a week you’ve not got that week to sort out the niggles – or maybe it’s just never got to that as your collective braincells are unable to get past basic human functions and get into the complexities of the “human” legal system and exactly what you can do about it.

    Hope you are enjoying a little less of a chill tonight and that the wind in your neck of the woods has calmed down. And hey, you’ve got a new house. Many, many congratulations.



  3. If you have looked into solar energy as a method for heating your home, panels are usually the first things that come up. There are, however, other unique methods.

    The Solar Heating Aspect You Have Never Heard of Before

    The power of the sun is immense. The energy in one day of sunlight is more than the world needs. The problem, of course, is how does one harness this power. Solar panels represent the obvious solution, but they have their downside. First, they can be expensive depending upon your energy needs. Second, they do not exactly blend in with the rest of your home.

    Passive solar heating represents a panel free method of harnessing the inherent energy found in the sun for heating purposes. If you come out from a store and open the door of your car in the summer, you understand the concept of passive solar heating. A wide variety of material absorbs sunlight and radiates the energy back into the air in the form of heat.

    Passive solar heating for a home works the same way as the process which overheats your car in the parking lot.

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