Tag Archives: Maintenance


Get Ready for Christmas Service

Rational oven cleaning and pre- Christmas serviceAs I write, we have 83 days 4 hours 48 minutes and 33 seconds until Santa comes down the chimney. That’s 1996 hours in total, which doesn’t sound like a lot of time when you consider what you have to do before Christmas. Check for yourself on the Christmas Countdown Clock to see how the hours are whittling away…

For caterers, the countdown to the festive season has already begun. Restaurants are already displaying their Christmas menus, and advent calendars and chocolate treats have replaced suntan lotion and mosquito repellent on the shelves of the supermarkets.

So there is no better the time to book a service for your Rational oven in time for Christmas! Here are AC Services (Southern), we are more than happy to help and we offer a range of packages to suit any budget.

Over the festive period, the last thing you want is for your oven to play up or pack in. Regular cleaning is simply not enough to ensure perfect performance time and time again. For instance, even the smallest amount of grease or food residue can accumulate and unless it is cleaned thoroughly on a daily basis, this can cause long-term problems, so why put your Christmas service at risk.

Annual Service & Maintenance Contracts

There simply is no substitute for regular maintenance. Being on a low budget is no excuse as the initial outlay easily beats the costs incurred when an oven fails suddenly. The easiest way to prevent a breakdown of either yourself or your appliance is to invest in an Annual Maintenance Contract.

Preventative maintenance visits can highlight potential problems, which can be rectified before they cause a breakdown. This is in addition to our 24-hour response and in most instances, first time fix. We can offer two preventative maintenance visits per year working to a comprehensive schedule.

Rational Oven Maintenance Plans

As well as booking for an early service before Christmas, why not consider one of our preventative maintenance plans:

Gold Maintenance Plan

  • Designed for Rational ovens under 10 years old
  • A comprehensive and increased level of parts and labour cover
  • 24 hour response time; breakdown calls attended 7 days per week
  • Replace most parts that fail under the maintenance period up to the value of £1,000 per visit (genuine and original Rational parts used and some exclusions do apply)
  • Two preventative maintenance visits per year at six monthly intervals.

Silver Maintenance Plan

  • Designed to cover labour costs for those customers, who have a limited budget,
  • 24 hour response time
  • Breakdown calls attended 7 days per week
  • Two preventative maintenance visits per year at six monthly intervals
  • First time fix policy
  • Work to an agreed budget on spare parts, when required

Platinum Maintenance Plan

  • Available for our customers, who require an individual plan to meet their Rational oven servicing needs
  • Individually tailored to meet the specific maintenance needs of rational oven owners

If you own a Rational oven in South, South West England and South Wales, we are the local cost effective provider of all your Rational oven service needs. Talk to one of the team on 01454 322222. Whether that’s for a Christmas service or to discuss a year round maintenance plan to save money and worry.


Published Date: 4th October 2016
Category: Blog, Cleaning, News, Rational, Service plan
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AC Services Southern Company Update

AC Services Southern Office Team PhotoIt’s been a hectic, yet controlled few months at AC Services Southern. The excesses of Christmas, following by Valentine’s Day have been circumnavigated successfully by the team, with plenty of Rational ovens serviced, fixed and repaired.

The most exciting news is the arrival of a new engineer, David! Coming from a catering background, he begins work this week covering the Gloucestershire area. Although he has ten years in the catering industry, he still has to undergo the extensive training that AC Services insists for its engineers.

David will be trained comprehensively as with all of our engineers,” comments Helen Hagger, Managing Director at AC Services Southern. “This will involve an intense programme of learning and on-the-job experience, travelling around with other existing service engineers to find out exactly what is required for the job.”

Right Man for the Job

David has been hired as a replacement for an engineer who left a year ago, and according to Helen, the length of time taken to find a replacement is testament to the company’s strict guidelines on recruitment.

We don’t just want to employ anyone who applies for the job,” she explains. “The candidate has to have the right background, the right attitude and the right aptitude to meet all of our demands. It’s not a simple 9 to 5 job: our engineers are on call constantly, and with the variables of the weather and traffic, it can make for a long and arduous day.

With a host of events coming up later in the year, the team are geared up to service and maintain their clients’ appliances. “We have Mother’s Day and Easter within weeks of each other, which is always a busy time for the catering industry,” continues Helen. “In addition, we have the supplementary calendar events, including the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations and of course, the Rio Olympic Games.”

“These events pose a challenge to catering establishments to ensure that the food and sustenance they provide are readily available at the times they need to be. So we have pre-empted the rush by contacting all of our customers and reminding them to service their Rational ovens in advance of any big events.”

Excellent Start for AC Services Southern

2016 has started extremely well for the AC Services Southern team, and with the worse of the winter months we hope are over, there is a general relief that this time, they were spared the extremes of the weather.

Four years ago, when the country experienced one of the heaviest snowfalls, we were still able to pull out all of the stops and help our customers with their problems,” concludes Helen. “This proved our willingness and capability to go the extra mile, literally in some cases, to provide the best service possible.”

If you need your oven serviced or repaired, simply contact AC Services Southern and make an appointment for an engineer to visit. If David turns up, be gentle!


Published Date: 23rd February 2016
Category: Blog, News, Rational
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4 Rational Oven Cleaning Tips

Rational oven cleaningThe secret to the successful and sustained performance of any oven is regular cleaning and maintenance.

However, it’s not enough just to run a damp cloth over your appliance and expect it to perform to the same standards time after time.

Here at AC Services (Southern) we advise Rational oven owners about the best ways to keep their ovens pristine. Rational oven cleaning is not rocket science but it is excellent common sense. So here are our top 4 Rational oven cleaning tips.

First Tip

What happens if you don’t clean your unit on a daily basis? Simply put, grease and food residue, even the smallest amount, will accumulate and in time there is a risk of them catching fire.

For optimal hygiene purposes, ensure that you clean your unit every day. Use a non-abrasive cleaning agent with a soft cloth to clean the cooking cabinet seal. This will enable a longer service life. For the internal and external glass windows and the outer panel of the unit, again use a soft damp cloth.

To prevent corrosion, use vegetable or grease to the inside of the cooking cabinet, preferably every two weeks or so.

Second Tip

Look after the air filter. It may not be something that immediately springs to mind, but neglecting this piece of equipment again can cause nasty incidents. Luckily, the Rational has an in-built warning system when the air filter is soiled.

Remember, the unit cannot be operated without the air filter so when you take it out, make sure you put it back. And the most efficient way of cleaning the air filter is in the dishwasher.

Third Tip

What do you do with the drip tray? The drip tray collects the fat from roasting and grilling. It’s obvious that it needs to be emptied regularly, but ideally it needs to be cleaned on a daily basis. Again, the build up of grease and fat can have potentially serious implications as a fire risk.

Fourth Rational Oven Cleaning Tip

If you are not using the appliance, for example overnight or when going on holidays, leave the unit door ajar.

AC Services (Southern) provides a full range of cleaning tablets and fluids that are Genuine Rational Authorised Products, but basic daily house-keeping in cleaning the appliance and maintaining the stainless steel elements are the key to a prolonged and performance-enhanced life. Talk to one of the team on 01454 322222 or visit the AC Services (Southern) website for more information on the Gold, Silver and Platinum Maintenance Plans that we offer.

In the meantime, when you’re doing your Rational oven cleaning, have a look for the serial number of your unit to find out when it was made; as if it is the oldest in the UK and Ireland still in operation then you could win a new Rational oven and a trip to Landsberg in Germany as part of Rational UK’s 25 year celebrations.


Published Date: 19th January 2016
Category: Blog, Cleaning, Cleaning Products, News, Service plan
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The Dunkirk Spirit

Dunkirk Memorial HouseThe Dunkirk Memorial House  in Taunton is owned by the British Legion and is one of the organisation’s care homes that provides for former servicemen and women or their dependents.

The Legion currently has six care homes providing short and long-term care around the country, including four with specialist dementia care.

Each provides long-term nursing and personal care, and the food is an essential element of the service; as Taff Davies, Head of Catering at the Dunkirk home explains, keeping all the residents happy all of the time requires skill.

Catering at Dunkirk

We rely upon two Rational ovens to fulfil the catering needs,” he comments. “Both are in constant use and in my opinion, with many years experience as a catering manager in the armed forces, they are the best on the market.

Dunkirk Memorial House has 60 rooms, as well as a 30-bed Dementia care wing and the emphasis within the facility is on independence. So having a varied menu from which the residents can make a choice is important to Taff, who since his arrival two years ago, has revolutionised the cooking arena!

I prefer to make dishes from scratch, not serve up food that is pre-prepared,” he continues. “This led to many hours spent searching for suitable suppliers, but we eventually got there, and with the help of the ovens, we are now able to produce the highest standards when it comes to meals.

The Rational ovens allow Taff and his team to bake, steam and roast a variety of meats and fish, enabling them to be able to produce locally grown and produced meals for the 84 residents who currently reside at Dunkirk. This to Taff is an important aspect of independent living.

We refuse to serve up substandard food, as the residents at Dunkirk and all of the British Legion homes deserve the highest level of quality from their food.

Oven Care

Should anything go wrong with the Rational appliances, Taff has organised a budget care package for the older oven, a Gas 62 2007 as the other, the G62 WE 2013 is still under warranty. Under the agreement, AC Services (Southern) make two scheduled services annually, and as always, are on call should anything go amiss, although as Taff admits, the majority of calls to the company are simply for new deliveries of cleaning tablets.

The ovens have a variety of functions that help in everyday catering on a large scale, which were explained by the team from AC Services, and which help enormously in the preparation of healthy, fresh meals for the residents,” Taff concludes.

The British Legion home communities include men and women of varied ages and abilities, each with a dedicated social activity team who tailor activities to residents’ needs. As always, the charity is grateful for donations, so to make a donation, simply contact the British Legion  on its website.


Published Date: 22nd September 2015
Category: Blog, Case Study, Catering Business, News, Ovens, Rational
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Rational Oven Care

AC Services keeping chefs using Rational ovens happyIf you have a car, you get it serviced. If you have a house, you take out insurance. Let’s face it if you have teeth, you at least have an annual check up! Because if anything happens, then you are without transport and shelter (or teeth) and inevitably, you incur unnecessary costs and delays. So if your Rational oven is your livelihood, then it makes sense to insure yourself by getting it regularly serviced.

Regularly servicing can be different for every oven, depending on lead times, size, model, output and usage and perhaps more importantly, budget. AC Services (Southern) believes strongly in maintenance contracts. Each purchase of an oven from Rational comes automatically with a one year warranty and you can register for a second year free. And when that is up, then there are plenty of options. In fact, because we have such a range of clients, from small caterers to international restaurant chains we have put in place three options.

Rational Oven Maintenance Plans

Gold Maintenance Plan

• Designed for Rational ovens under 10 years old
• A more comprehensive and increased level of parts and labour cover
• 24 hour response time
• Breakdown calls attended 7 days per week
• Replace most parts that fail under the maintenance period up to the value of £1,000 per visit (genuine and original Rational parts used and some exclusions do apply)
• Two preventative maintenance visits per year at six monthly intervals.

Silver Maintenance Contract

• Designed to cover labour costs for those customers, who have a limited budget,
• 24 hour response time
• Breakdown calls attended 7 days per week
• Two preventative maintenance visits per year at six monthly intervals
• First time fix policy
• Work to an agreed budget on spare parts when required

Platinum Maintenance Contract

• Available for our customers, who require an individual plan to meet their Rational oven servicing needs
• Individually tailored to meet the specific maintenance needs of rational oven owners
• 24 hours response time
• Breakdown calls attended, 7 days per week
• First time fix policy
• Genuine and original Rational parts used.

There simply is no substitute for regular maintenance, and this is coming from a company that has been servicing Rational ovens for decades! On too many occasions, we have heard the excuse that budget cannot be found for a maintenance contract, but the initial outlay easily beats the costs incurred when an oven fails suddenly: lost business, lost customers, lost revenue . . .

There’s a summer of sport and events coming up so if you are planning to cater for the public this year and want to continue to do so for years to come, find out more right now about how an ACS annual maintenance contract is the best option for maintaining your Rational oven; how it can save you money and increase profits.

Talk to one of the sales team on 01454 322222 or visit the AC Services (Southern) website for more information.


Published Date: 2nd June 2015
Category: Blog, News, Service plan
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Two Rational ovens are better than one

Trioscape Garden Centre NewentAt Trioscape Garden Centre in Newent, five miles from Gloucester, the kitchen is one of the busiest areas. A daily menu of hot and cold food suitable for all palettes is available all year round and the kitchen staff, led by restaurant manager Daphne Rogers, are constantly cooking!

We invested in a Rational SCC 10 grid oven when we first opened four years ago,” explains Daphne “and we have a maintenance agreement with AC Services (Southern) to come and service the equipment when we ask them to.”

Perfect Solution

The Gardener’s Kitchen within the Trioscape Garden Centre serves customers with hearty breakfasts, morning coffee, hot and cold lunches and afternoon teas, and is well-known for both its roast dinners and homemade cakes.

We had to invest in another oven to cope with the demand and the variety in our cooking menu,” continues Daphne. “Waiting for cakes to bake before starting a roast dinner led to problems, so we bought another Rational oven. We know the cooking capability of the appliances, but what was even better was the space saving capacity: as the kitchen is quite small, we needed something that would fit. And putting one oven on top of the other was the perfect solution.

Trioscape was established in November 1994 when a rundown site with dilapidated buildings was taken on by Richard Mitchell, Douglas Wilson and Ronan Lynch partners of landscaping company Trioscape. Today, the garden centre together with the nurseries, occupies around 16 acres, which gives visitors plenty of choice in plants and products.

Says Helen Hagger, MD of AC Services, “Our clients are diverse and different and in order to help them run their businesses successfully, we have a range of maintenance packages to suit everyone’s needs. Trioscape call us on an ad hoc basis and we check their appliances are in excellent working order and detect any potential problems.”

Daphne is delighted to report that since purchasing the Rational ovens, there have been no major calamities. She knows that if the ovens go down for any reason, then the restaurant will be forced to close until the problem is solved, and that is not something that she is willing to leave to chance.

We rely on AC Services and we listen to their advice, from maintenance to purchasing cleaning products from the company to keep the ovens in the best condition,” she concludes.


Published Date: 10th February 2015
Category: Blog, Case Study, News, Rational, Service plan
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Care Home Catering

Care home cateringIt’s staggering to think that there are over 11 million people, who are aged 65 or over in the UK,  the first time in history that this figure has been so high according to AgeUK. 3 million of them are over 80.

There is no doubt that we are living longer and the older generation has a much more sophisticated and informed knowledge about food than our grandparents ever did. (Oh, and it’s not old age any more, it’s middle adulthood!)

Worryingly in terms of logistics, the number of people aged 65 and over is forecast to rise by nearly 50% (48.7%) in the next 17 years, which means that these Middle Adults will total 16 million. In the UK there are currently about 5,153 nursing homes and 12,525 residential homes, catering not just for the elderly but those in need of care.

Interestingly, as far as lifestyle is concerned, more people in this age group meet the recommended five servings of fruit or veg than those under 65, but figures also suggest that 1.3 million people over 65 suffer from malnutrition, the majority of whom are in the community and who will need external help. Which leads us nicely on to care homes and establishments and their vital role in caring for the elderly not least through their care home catering.

Get the Equipment Right

According to Karen Oliver, Chair, of the National Association of Care Catering,  comments:

As the population continues to live longer and the number of older people continues to grow apace, caring for our ageing population remains high on the agenda. Nutrition and hydration is a fundamental part of care provision. It is therefore essential that everyone associated with feeding those entrusted to their care . . . fully understands what is required . . . has the right tools to put this in practice.

And the right tools include the right oven and the right oven, which according to AC Services (Southern) is a Rational one. AC Services (Southern) are oven servicing specialists, and can advise on the best equipment to install, dealing specifically with Rational ovens.

Helen Hagger sees many care homes and establishments contact AC Services for advice, and she comments: “When you have a large number of people to cater for, many with different dietary requirements, but all with a rigorous need for cleanliness, it can be a logistic nightmare to simultaneously provide the required amount of food and maintain a clean and healthy kitchen.” The value of a Rational appliance is that it will cook perfect food automatically and even clean itself on schedule.

Rational Solution

Care homes have been under close scrutiny by the press and the authorities in recent times,” continues Helen. “The key priority is that the residents are fed healthily and regularly and that hygiene standards are kept to the highest levels.”

By installing a Rational oven, this can be done easily and efficiently, and a planned maintenance programme, such as those offered by AC Services, can ensure that the oven is kept at its optimum performance levels.

Make sure that your kitchen in your care home is prepared for any eventuality by contacting AC Services (Southern) to see how we can help you save costs on the service and maintenance of your Rational oven perhaps with one of our care plans.


Published Date: 13th January 2015
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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Attractions in the UK

Theme Park RollercoasterLet’s face it, we all love visiting places in the UK. Whether it’s a stately home, a theme park or a museum, there is always somewhere to go, with over 1500 venues listed as attractions throughout the country.

And according to that well-known publication, the annual TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index , business is booming! Attractions reported a 5% annual increase in total visits in 2013, the joint largest year-on-year increase since 2002.

The top theme park attractions, Alton Towers being the most popular, up 4.2% in 2013 from the previous year, and Chessington World of Adventures, up 15.4%, dominate the market with Legoland Windsor (up 2.5%) and Thorpe Park (up 11.1%).

Bear in mind however, that the previous year was 2012 and we all know what event dominated the UK in that year, causing a drop in the numbers of visitors to other places!

Jodie Lock, Senior Analyst Economics (Europe), said: “Key drivers behind this are the transformation of standalone theme parks into destination resorts, continued capital investment in new attractions and the exploitation of synergies between attractions.

There are literally thousands of attractions in the UK apart from the big names: it’s heart warming to see that nearly 2,000 people visited the Whipple Museum of the History of Science. Whatever the venue, there is one thing in common . . . catering! If you go for a day out, then you want to eat and there is a proliferation of fast food outlets and restaurants at most attractions vying to take your money.

Catering Corps

Catering is big business but catering for attractions and theme parks lends itself to many problems. Nowadays, fast food outlets are regulated by a proliferation of legislation and if standards are unacceptable they can be closed down. Health inspectors are prone to spot checks and come down heavily on hazards, such as raw meats not being cooked to the correct temperatures.

The turnover of food on a busy summer’s day at the top attractions is staggering: and if the oven appliance isn’t up to the job, or underperforms or malfunctions, then these catering establishments are in big trouble. Also, a lot of attractions employ temporary staff throughout the busy season, and not every employee in a kitchen environment is fully aware of things that could go wrong.

By ensuring that your kitchen and in particular, the kitchen ovens are up to the job, then it is essential that maintenance and repairs where necessary must be carried out immediately to prevent any potential hazard to the public.

We are now in the time period where a lot of attractions close for the winter and this is a perfect opportunity for catering establishments to literally get their kitchens in order,” comments Helen Hagger from AC Services (Southern), a company that regularly maintains fast food restaurants’ Rational ovens.

“Our recommendation is that all oven appliances should be serviced during this down time, and thoroughly checked by a company such as ours to ensure no nasty surprises when the season starts up again.”

If you want your Rational oven checked, call AC Services (Southern) on 01454 322 222.


Published Date: 4th November 2014
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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Oven Serviced? Don’t Procrastinate!

Contact AC Services Southern LtdIt’s that time of year when we suddenly realise how quickly time goes.

Summer holidays are a distant memory, kids are back at school and yes, Christmas chocolate novelties are filling the shelves where sun-cream used to be.

So here at AC Services (Southern), we are issuing you with a gentle reminder that one of the busiest seasons of the calendar is looming. Fast. Get your kitchen in order now. And that means getting your Rational oven serviced by calling our friendly team.

The Rationale of AC Services (Southern)

First of all, we know what we are talking about when it comes to ovens. Established since 1990 and specialising in Rational combi ovens since 1999, we are authorised, trained and audited by Rational.

We have a wide-ranging customer base from prestigious restaurants to high street fast food outlets; and each establishment we service gets the same standard and quality of customer service and each establishment has one thing in common, and that is a Rational oven, a leading brand that is recognised for its reliability.

We know ovens, and we also know what can, and sometimes does go wrong with them. That is why we only employ Rational-trained ‘Gas Safe’ engineers to service the counties of Avon, Berkshire, Bristol, Cardiff, Carmarthen, Devon, Dorset, Dyfed, Glamorgan, Gloucestershire, Gwent, Hampshire, Herefordshire, Monmouthshire, Newport, Oxfordshire, Pembrokeshire, Somerset, Surrey, Swansea, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.

When things go wrong

You may not think there is anything wrong with your appliance, it’s been fine and dandy and perfectly operational; and after all, our 24/7 hotline and our policy of responding to an emergency within 24 hours of your call will ensure that if anything goes wrong, we will fix it.

But what happens if, when something does go wrong, we can’t get to you because the roads are blocked or the weather makes it hazardous? Or someone else’s oven has to be fixed and the service engineer is tied up with that? Just don’t take chances. The solution is simple, book a service now and pre-empt any curveballs.

So we recommend that you have your oven checked thoroughly at least once a year, or if you have high usage, twice a year. Why? Because it not only protects your warranty but it saves you money: regular servicing reduces repair costs and avoids complete breakdown when you least want it, causing loss of revenue.

The 4 Rational Oven Service Options

The four main options for servicing your rational oven are:
• Attendance under warranty, an automatic one year manufacturer’s warranty from date of installation which can be extended for a further 12 months. More details
• Booking a full service where we fully check over the oven
• Ad hoc service visit, basically waiting to see, and then calling us when necessary.
• Maintenance contracts, giving peace of mind that your oven is being looked after even when it appears to be working optimally.

Simply call us today on 01454 322 222 and book a full service before the rush.


Published Date: 9th September 2014
Category: Blog, News, Ovens, Rational, Service plan
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Countdown to Commonwealth Games

commonwealth-games-2014-logo-vectorThe Commonwealth Games kick off on 23rd July in Glasgow with 71 nations from six different continents competing for glory as 2014’s summer of sport continues.

The iconic Celtic Park will host the opening ceremony and as I write, one of the biggest names in sport has confirmed his attendance. Yes, the power that is Usain Bolt is ready for the Commonwealth Games, despite having suffered from a recent foot injury.

Although for those who love to see a successful team in action in the relay, the bad news is that teammate Yohan Blake will not be attending.

Relying on Teamwork

Talking of teams in action (did you spot the subtle link there?), have you had your Rational oven service yet? If you are involved in the catering industry and have a Rational oven, then take heed.

The oven, as any good chef or business owner will tell you, is potentially one of the biggest investments you can make in a kitchen, and like any other commodity, it needs to be serviced and maintained.

The majority of us drive cars: and the majority of us have suffered the trauma and sheer panic when it suddenly doesn’t start or breaks down. You don’t know whether the problem is big or small, cheap or remortgagingly expensive, so regular servicing is drummed into any car owner as an essential! It’s the same with your catering oven.

Rest assured, your first two years are covered by a warranty if you have registered your oven with Rational UK and Rational’s ServiceDiagnostic System is built-in to all the latest SelfCookingCenter® Whitefficiency® 5Senses® appliances which constantly monitors all components and will be the first indication of anything amiss.

Oven Essentials

Here at A C Services (Southern) Ltd, we recommend a regular oven service to identify and eliminate any potential problems that may surface. We problem solve. We check. And we fix. We have over 40 years of Rational servicing experience in our team, so we are quietly confident that we know what we are talking about.

Our engineers will carry out thorough inspection and servicing, in the South, South West England and South Wales and once the complimentary warranty on your Rational oven expires, dependent on usage, we generally recommend that you have your oven thoroughly checked at least annually.

Here are the benefits:
• Increased machine reliability because of planned servicing
• Regular servicing reduces repair costs
• Limits potential for lost revenue due to unnecessary downtime
• Use of genuine and original Rational spare parts
• First time fix policy.

It really is very simple: telephone 01454 322222 or email us on service@acservicessouthern.co.uk and let us help you so that untoward crises are eliminated.


Published Date: 1st July 2014
Category: Blog, Events, News
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