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Coronavirus update: what we’re doing to keep our customers and plumbers safe

It’s fair to say that we are living in unprecedented times filled with uncertainty and new daily challenges. Unfortunately, plumbing emergencies such as boilers breaking down and the central heating packing up, aren’t going to wait until the coronavirus outbreak has stopped, which puts you in a bit of a difficult position. Is it safe to invite a heating engineer into your home during the coronavirus outbreak if we’re all meant to be social distancing? This document serves as a Coronavirus update.

We wanted to take this opportunity to reassure our customers that since the coronavirus outbreak, we have been strictly adhering to all the advice provided by both the Prime Minister, Department of Health and the World Health Organisation.  Our priority is always to protect the health and well-being of our customers and staff, so we have been following closely their guidance and advice in order to help stop the increase of positive cases.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve had a number of questions from our customers about how we are handling the situation, so in this blog we will answer some of the most common questions and outline the steps we are taking to ensure you and our staff stay safe at all times.

How do you know your plumbers are fit and healthy? 

During this coronavirus pandemic, our number one priority is the health of you, our customers, your families and our team members.

Since the coronavirus outbreak first started a few weeks ago, any of our heating engineers who have returned from affected areas abroad have been asked to self-isolate for 14 days. This also applies to plumbers who have family members or have been in close contact with anyone who has returned from those regions. 

In addition, we have also told anyone who has possible coronavirus symptoms, such as a high temperature and/or continuous cough to stay at home. In many cases, mild symptoms are often later diagnosed as coronavirus, so we are taking the view that it is better to be overly cautious for the sake of our customers and other staff members.

We are also asking all our health engineers to report daily on their own health and those they live with, so, if need be, we can recommend they self-isolate. 

What happens if a member of your team tests positive for coronavirus?

If any member of our staff is diagnosed with coronavirus it will be referred immediately to Public Health England. Then the local Public Health England health protection team will come and conduct a risk assessment. Their role is to prevent and reduce the effect of diseases and they will tell us whether it’s safe for our plumbing business to carry on working. Our workplace and all equipment will also receive a deep clean. 

Public Health England provides a lot of useful, up-to-date advice and guidance on coronavirus, so it’s well worth taking a look at their resources.

How will your heating engineers interact with your customers? 

We appreciate that inviting someone into your home during the coronavirus outbreak feels high risk, but we are doing everything we can to put the health of you, your family and our team members first.  For this reason our team of plumbers will:  

  • not shake hands with you on arrival or departure
  • always remain at the recommended distance at all times
  • wear protective clothing as soon as they enter your house. This will include fresh, clean boot covers.

And if you would rather not interact at all with our heating engineers, it’s absolutely fine for you to stay in another room. We promise they won’t be offended if you don’t offer them a cup of tea or biscuit! 

Our aim is simply to get your plumbing problem sorted as quickly as possible, while making sure you stay and feel safe at all times. 

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What cleaning practices are you using during the coronavirus outbreak?

Whether we’re installing a bathroom, putting in a new boiler or helping with a plumbing emergency, we always try and create as little mess and disruption as possible, and ensure we leave your home looking spotless. And now with the number of cases of coronavirus increasing, this level of cleanliness is more  important than ever. 

A new study just out gives some really interesting facts about how long the coronavirus can lie on surfaces and in the air around you. Experts suggest that the virus can live for three days on some surfaces, such as plastic and steel, but crucially the risk of us being infected through touching those materials is still low, as the amount of viable virus decreases sharply over time. On copper it survives just 4 hours, while on cardboard 24 hours.

In the air, the virus can stay suspended for about half an hour, but again it does not linger in the air at high enough levels to be at risk to most people who are not physically near an infected person. It’s why advice now in the United Kingdom is to maintain a safe distance from others – usually around two metres. 

As well as making sure we keep our distance, we will:

  • ensure all our heating engineers carry packets of disinfectant wipes at all times and wash their hands regularly
  • clean all equipment we use while we’re on your property
  • wipe down all surfaces we touch in your home.

If you would like to know more about our cleaning practices and how we will keep you safe, please get in touch.

Can coronavirus get into the plumbing system? 

This is an interesting question that a number of people have asked after seeing a recent news report. A coronavirus update from china – Two people living in an apartment block in China contracted coronavirus, even though they lived 10 floors apart and had no contact with one another. Officials immediately started investigating if it had spread through a defective plumbing system. The reason for the concern was in the 2003 SARS outbreak this method was a major source of transmission and led to a massive upsurge in cases and deaths.

Investigations are still ongoing in China, however it is highly unlikely that coronavirus would spread in a high-rise building in the UK. Here we have strict minimum standards we have to follow, which ensure a reasonable level of safety, health, property protection and public welfare.  In addition, the design, construction, installation, quality of materials, location, operation and maintenance or use of plumbing equipment and systems is closely regulated.

It’s also why it’s so important that any repairs, maintenance or installations are always carried out by professional, fully qualified heating engineers, such as those that work for Three Counties Plumbing.

Coronavirus update - Get in touch with the local plumbers who care 

We appreciate that with the number of confirmed cases increasing this is a stressful time, and if you do have a plumbing emergency, it can be hard to know whether you should let a plumber into your home. But not fixing a faulty boiler or going without hot water for a prolonged amount of time can cause it’s own health problems.

If you do have a plumbing emergency or want to talk through the precautions we are taking in a bit more detail, please give us a call. We are here to help and make sure you stay safe during this difficult time.  

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