I didn’t realize how much I took hot water for granted until I moved house.
Have you ever tried washing your hands in freezing cold water? It doesn’t work. They never really feel clean. And after, you’re left with the slightly soapy painful chill of not-quite-clean ice-cube-fingers.
First world problems I know. 🤷🏻♂️
Oh, how I longed for the joy of rinsing the Tea Tree aroma from my hands under the comfortable lukewarm flow of liquid necessity. 💧
Thing is, I don’t remember the last time I stopped to think “Wow! Hot water is an incredible feat of engineering and science“.
Actually, that’s a lie. It was probably around 14 days ago. Albeit briefly. Right after my new boiler was installed.
You see, my boiler broke. Actually, that’s not strictly true either. The truth is since it became my boiler it has never worked.
It was inherited in an “utterly fucked” state of being as part of my new home.
As it turns out, a boiler is a pretty integral part of a home too. Though I hadn’t much thought about it before.
It’s kinda like a heart. In that, the main purpose of a boiler is to pump warmth around the body to keep everything inside toasty and performing at its peak.
Yeah my biology’s crap, but I’m pretty sure this analogy is sound.
In this analogy, my wife and I are the organs.
I’d like to think I was something like a kidney or a liver.
Something pretty fucking integral that serves a badass purpose like stopping your entire body from shutting down by filtering crap from the system.
I have a horrible feeling I’m more a vestigial organ. An appendix. A pretty useless part of the body we could all probably do without. A part that recent studies suggest likely stores diarrhea-causing bacteria.
At best I’m a large intestine. Not vestigial. In fact pretty integral. 💪 But also full of shit.
I digress. The point is, the heart of my house had broken. The liver and kidneys were fucked too since the heart was now essentially eating itself. Slowly.
Every time the boiler was turned on it burnt part of itself away. If it’s held up this long, I think that’s the part where this analogy falls hard on the tail bone.
I’ve always lived in rented houses in some form. In rented houses, boilers tend to work. Or if they don’t work they’re fixed pretty instantly.
It’s one of those legal things landlords (be they private or social) are obliged to keep safe and working.
Turns out when you own a house you kinda take on the role of the landlord. Who knew! 🤦♂️
So, we were destined to wait 24 days for the luxurious necessity of hot water to return to our new home.
Though, to be fair, that was totally my fault.
References go a Long Way
I could’ve got someone around to take a look sooner.
No joke. I chose to wait 15 days to get the boiler even seen by the engineer. Without even knowing whether it would be salvageable or turn out to be totally useless.
I have only myself to blame.
I know, I know. But let me explain.
It might sound weird but I wanted to do things right. This is my first house. I wanted to get someone with a good reputation. Someone I could trust to do a great job.
I remembered a brief encounter with a gas safe engineer a couple of years ago at the gym. I say meeting. We went to the same yoga class once or twice.
They seemed nice, though we never spoke. They were friendly with other people. And they came highly recommended on the village Facebook group (yeah, apparently that’s a thing! #countrylife)
As our friends from Referral Rock will no doubt tell you, word of mouth is a powerful tool. Having a happy customer vouch for you to people they don’t know is a surefire way to generate some serious business.
In hindsight, I’m not sure I get it. 🤷🏻♂️
What is it about one person you don’t know recommending another person you don’t know that makes it so powerful?
I’d spoken to them less than the DPD driver who’d delivered my dog’s food for the past 3 years. Yet I felt a sense of loyalty to them.
I was willing to wait for someone I was sure I could trust. And let’s face it, the fact they were booked up for weeks in April was surely a good sign.
After weeks wishing for the sweet lather of warm flowing happiness the day finally came where we would found out the metal box-shaped heart of our home was done for.
I can’t lie, I was gutted.
But what surprised me most was the way the engineer delivered the news.
I’ve no doubt we’ve all been on the receiving end of mind-bogglingly obtuse teeth sucking tradespeople.
Yeah you need a new engine. The big end of the rotary blade is causing the pistons to misfire which has worn away your sprocket rocket so the whole thing needs replacing.
This time, there was complete transparency.
I was invited up to the loft where the boiler—RIP—lived.
A mound of metal shavings lay underneath its now-dismantled shell. Parts strewn across the chipboard that lay across the ancient support beams.
This is your problem. I won’t lie. These boilers are shit.
Here it was. The inevitable talk about how I needed a new boiler and they could supply and fit one for a few grand.
It basically destroys itself. It’s a flaw with these models. They’re cheap enough, but they aren’t built to last and this one is 10 years old.
It was coming. I could feel it. I was gonna be stabbed in the back.
I’m not really happy that it would be safe to use.
You’re gonna need a new one really.
But I called the manufacturer and they said they could send someone to repair to for a few hundred quid.
I wouldn’t wanna come in and tell you to get a new boiler right now. You’ve got all this other work to do, you could spend £500 and get at least a year of life out of this one. I probably wouldn’t be able to do it for a couple more weeks anyway.
The backstabbing sonofawrench was talking about the renovations we had underway downstairs.
We hadn’t got the kitchen in. The windows and doors needed replacing urgently. The floors were bare. Shit, they still are. And the paint on the walls had barely dried.
For all intents and purposes, we were living in a building site. The engineer knew it and felt sorry for us. And as a result, took themselves out of the equation.
They went on to explain what the manufacturer offered to do.
The long and short of it is they’re gonna be £500, where a new boiler and fitting is gonna be closer to £3k.
I made my way to what would later become the living room to discuss with
the one who makes the decisions Cat.
After a little explaining, we knew the right thing was to go for a replacement boiler right away.
It makes no sense to spend a few hundred quid to live in fear of the boiler imploding if we knew we’d have to spend £3k next year anyway.
What’s more, we wanted the not-so-backstabby-after-all tradesperson who we shall now call Chris to do the job.
Because Chris was honest with us.
The Crux of the Thing
The crux of it is to me great service boils down to transparency and an overpowering need to do the right thing.
Chris didn’t have to call the manufacturer on our behalf.
Chris didn’t have to show me exactly what was wrong and explain it in terms I could understand.
Chris didn’t have to write themselves out of the equation so we could save face.
But they did. Because it’s the right thing to do.
Ultimately, being a good person and doing the right thing led to us booking Chris to fit our boiler.
Sure, we had to wait another 2 weeks. 2 weeks of feeling greasy and generally unclean 24 hours of the day.
But I’d gladly trade those 2 weeks of grossness to employ someone I trusted to do a good job. Because by that point, Chris had earned it.