As the industry continues to push efficiency while also dealing with ongoing increases in energy prices, there are certainly many factors for installers to be aware of as they go about their daily business.
With 26 million gas and 1.1 million oil boilers currently fitted in the UK, there are a great deal of end-users reliant on qualified heating engineers to come to their aid in the event of a breakdown, or if their system requires a service or upgrade.
Manufacturers thereby have a responsibility to ensure there are enough qualified and skilled installers on the tools, each capable of fitting the latest boilers, heating systems, and controls, both safely and effectively.
With the marketplace growing busier and more competitive every year, it is essential that heating engineers are equipped with the relevant knowledge, skills, and experience.
Indeed, as gas and oil systems continue to evolve, the associated legislation follows suit, while end-users are also conducting their own research into the range of options available to them.
There really is nowhere for installers to hide, with any knowledge gaps easily identified – especially if a manufacturer has recently introduced new products to market.
Bearing these factors in mind, it falls on manufacturers’ shoulders to ensure there is adequate training in place to educate existing heating engineers and form the next generation of installers. The latter can be achieved by providing colleges (and other educational establishments) with the most advanced boilers on the market, to ensure today’s students are up to date with the heating technology of tomorrow.
It should go without saying that installers must be properly trained for the work they carry out. This ensures they have confidence in their skills and product knowledge, while offering their customers added peace of mind in terms of safety, costs, and efficiency.
Regularly undertaking a manufacturer’s training course, such as those offered by Navien, is crucial, especially in terms of vital hands-on, face-to-face sessions. Courses of this nature also ensure engineers are able to demonstrate the levels of competency required when fitting a specific boiler or associated product(s).
Training courses should include comprehensive technical explanations and hands-on, practical tuition of the manufacturer’s products. This provides attendees with valuable experience of live gas, oil, and water connections, and a chance to familiarise themselves with the latest controls and relevant industry legislation.
For example, a standard day’s training at Navien usually includes an overview of the gas and blue flame oil boilers available, covering key aspects such as installation, servicing, and commissioning, as well as parameters, settings, and fault analysis.
Any accessories should also be explored in depth – including flues, pumps, condensate traps, and control systems. When looking at the controls available, it is important to consider the technical aspects, such as wiring and connectivity, as well as functionality. Finally, as heating installers are now dealing with consumers who have grown more tech savvy, aspects such as smart controls, diagnostics, and zoning are all key elements requiring detailed explanation and demonstration.
Furthermore, don’t overlook the importance of training from an end-user’s perspective, either. Homeowners will be reassured in the knowledge that any work being carried out on their heating and hot water system is being carried out to the highest industry standards. A high calibre of workmanship will increase trust and confidence in an installer, and likely lead to customers recommending them to friends and family – providing further opportunities for business growth.
So, as heating technology continues to evolve, it is vital for manufacturers to offer training opportunities that keep installers up to date with the latest product developments. Detailed and continuous training on everything from installation and controls, through to spare parts and accessories, will ensure engineers not only benefit from crucial product knowledge, but are also able to offer their customers key advice and grow their businesses through potential upselling.
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