It’s every good heating engineers job to inspect flues. Sometimes this means getting your step ladders out with your torch in hand, inspecting what’s hidden in the loft.
Sometimes flues are more accessible but can also be at fault. Today’s job was just to service a Main water heater which is a relatively simple task. However, on inspection of the flue I found that the plasterers had left some of their product where it shouldn’t be.
We are increasingly being asked to look at boilers that have developed leakage problems from the flue joints. 9 times out of 10 we find that the clues have not been placed at the correct angle of 1.5-3.0° depending on manufacturer and so condensate liquid (carbonic acid) collects in the seals and destroys them.
This time the faulty flue was on an Ideal iMax 60kw commercial boiler and so made the whole job a lot more complicated.
The whole flue system was replaced and then fitted at an elevation necessary to create a 2.5° fall. This meant lifting the flue terminal from its original position so that it has sufficient gradient.
The flue was then effectively supported with clamps at ensure there was no movement and that it stayed at the correct angle and the angle of fall checked with a laser.
Unfortunately, for the church, the second boiler’s flue has also been installed at the wrong angle and this will need replacing soon.
But for now the boilers are you and running and the church is once again a warm place to worship.
Ok, it’s hidden away behind the bottles of zing, bling, ziff and tide but best practice says that unsecured pipework will eventually leak causing superficial and possibly structural damage to walls and floors.
We were recently asked to tidy up the under sink plumbing at a property in Tynemouth, see pic below.
The original work had been carried out by the kitchen fitting company and the customer had been preoccupied with a sick child at the time and so didn’t challenge the workmanship.
The hanging pipework places stresses on the joints and on the flexible hoses that connect to the kitchen tap. That stress exacerbates the strain on the pipe materials and significantly shorten the life of the components. A failure of these pipe would be catastrophic as they carry mains hot and cold water. After a few minutes the kitchen could be flooded.
By securing the pipe work with pipe clips it takes all of the stress away from the pipes and allows the joints and materials to continue their happy lives for many years.
The back of the kitchen units is usually very poor quality hard board and not strong enough to hold a pipe clip. Therefore a section of 12mm ply is glued to the hardboard thereby making a solid surface on which to mount pipe clips. The photo below shows this in place along with the pipework neatly cut to the correct length and the correct fitting used to connect the flexible taps hoses.
We can now be confident that the integrity of the pipework will not be compromised by poor fitting and know that this will last a life time!
Gas safety week is 14-20. September but for us every week is about gas safety. We’ve just visited a property in Whitley Bay to service a boiler. On removing the boiler air tight cover we found the boiler heavily stained with rusty water and wondered what was happening.
Damage to the inside of a boiler like this is a great cause for concern as this will dramatically shorten the life of the boiler and could result in damage to other internal components such as the fan and gas valve.
Before servicing the boiler the source of the leak needs to be found and rectified. After a closer examination of the flue it was discovered that a similar rust pattern is evident and this leads one to think that products of combustion, which are high in water vapour, has been escaping and eating away at the seals in the flue.
This means that the flue has failed (in its job to transport all of the combustion products outside) and is now unsafe.
Products of combustion entering the home is unsafe because they could contain carbon monoxide which is a deadly gas and if left to continue would kill all of the occupants in the house.
It looked like the boiler’s flue has not been fitted square to the wall probably because the boiler had replaced an older boiler which had a different flue position and which had not been adjusted to fit the dimensions of the new boiler.
This fault was created at the time of installing the boiler and is not related to its warranty, service or age. The company responsible (British Gas) for fitting the boiler need to rectify the fault and make it safe again.
Your safety is always of primary concern, no matter who’s fault it is, no one should be left with an unsafe situation. We completed a Gas Safety Warning Record and passed responsibility on to the home owner who agreed, in writing, to take over the problem.
Hopefully British Gas will recognise the fault and rectify it quickly.
****** Update 20/07/2020******
British Gas have attended the problem and determined that the seals have perished. They said this was a common problem on the earlier Worcester boilers but they were happy to replace the flue system free of charge.
I spoke to Worcester about their flues and they confirmed that there was NO problem with the seals and that the flue must have been fitted with an incorrect drainage angle at the time of installation.
If a flue is not fitted with a back fall of 53mm per 1000mm the condensate fluid (carbonic acid) will collect in the seal recesses and destroy the seals.
We have just launched an new programme to make people aware of the need to maintain their solar thermal water heating systems.
As we approach summer (again) these panels come into their own and have the potential to provide all of your hot water so long as we have a few hours of sun and as long as the system is working efficiently.
We have recently serviced two systems in Wideopen and Heddon-on-the-Wall in order to remove air blockages that made temperatures on the roof soar to 145°c. This valuable heat wasn’t making its way to the hot water cylinder because of air locks in the pipework.
In this situation we attached our pumping station and flushed the air out of the system and repressurised it so that it would operate at 100%.
At another job in Wideopen the temperatures had also reached 140°c + and had started to convert the glycol thermodynamic fluid in to vapour at the same temperature. This is quite hazardous as it can easily scald the unsuspecting customer.
Once again this system was flushed with glycol and repressurised and is now working well.
The solar panels are connected to the pumping station which is then connected to the hot water cylinder. This is an “unvented“ cylinder which runs at high pressure and itself needs to be maintained to ensure its working properly and safely.
We are fully trained and qualified at Boiler Bee to service and maintain solar and unvented cylinders so if you feel you’re not getting the benefit of the sun (!) then please call us, we fix solar!
The customer, Dr D, commented, “The work was speedily delivered, 100% effective and of a high standard, excellent work, an enthusiastic response to new challenges was noted”.
If you’ve read this blog before you will know I’m a big believer in Weather Compensation. The new Boiler Plus regulations require fitters to offer one of 4 energy saving add-ons to boilers. Weather Compensation (WC), Load Compensation, Smart Controls (such as Nest) and Flue Gas heat recovery.
We have always favoured Weather Compensation because it offers the biggest efficiency gain and is the most simplistic technology to integrate.
What is Weather Compensation
Weather compensation is a system where the boiler calculates the heat required to keep the house warm and comfortable at any given outside temperature. Once set up the boiler will automatically adjust the flow temperature of hot water to the radiators in line with the outside temperature.
In the diagram opposite the graph shows the Flow Temperature produced by the boiler in relation to the outside temperature in England and Europe. You will see that for this house, an outside temperature of 10ͦ°c relates to a flow temperature of approx. 45ͦ°c in England and 35ͦ°C in Europe. There is a difference in the countries because the European homes are better insulated than English homes.
The beauty of this system is that it needs no management. The boiler does all the sensing and calculating of the required temperatures; all the customer sees is a very comfortable home.
We fitted a new Viessmann 100W combi boiler to a customer’s property in North Shields last week. The customer had been having regular problems with the existing system which was a Gledhill open vented heat store and an Ideal heat only boiler. This was a poor and over complicated system installed 15 years ago. The old cylinder and boiler were taken out and the new combi fitted (see opposite).
On our follow up visit a few days later we asked the customer how the boiler was doing. She replied that she had noticed it coming on because it hadn’t been very cold.
In fact the temperature outside had dropped to 3°c in the past week but the customer had not noticed any stress on the system because the Weather Compensation had been gradually increasing (and decreasing) the circulating water to keep the home comfortable.
With the new boiler working much better than the last old unit, a peace of mind 10 year parts and labour warranty from Viessmann and a “Which” awarded highly efficient boiler the customer wrote, “The service provided by Boiler Bee is excellent. I’ll definitely use this company again”. We look forward to being of service for many years to come.
We were delighted to win a job to fit 6 new radiators to clients in Gosforth. Both Chad and Rebecca are doctors working in a local hospital and working long hours under the current virus situation.
We were able to supply and fit the radiators while Rebecca was in bed after night shift and Chad was at work. Their existing rads were in very poor conditioning, giving out little heat and leaking – a worry they just didn’t need to this stressful time.
We are happy to help people who have dire need whether it be a lack of heat or boiler failure. We are taking great precautions by washing down surfaces and washing out hands so keep ourselves virus free from start to finish.
Anyone needing our services should call first for telephone help which we are happy to give free of charge; I helped one customer to plumb in his washing machine via video link earlier this week – so please feel free to call – we really can help.
Our customer wrote on checkatrade: We had all the radiators in our house replaced by Richard and his team. They were outstanding from the start with a very professional. Richard went above and beyond when it came to the job as he actually had to go to the factory to pick up supplies which was outstanding as he could easily have just cancelled. Our heating is working a treat and the house is toasty warm! Thank you so much for the brilliant work you did. 100% recommend Boilder Bee for all your plumbing issues! 10/10
We were called to a large property in Jesmond to look at the underfloor heating which was proving unreliable. After a brief discussion with the customers and a look at the control of the underfloor circuits it appeared that the system had not been set up correctly when it was installed 5 years ago.
Calling for heat
When any system is switched on it must “Call for heat” from the boiler and this is done by switching the boiler on via the “Switched Live” connection. We found that the underfloor heating system had not been wired to the boiler so even though there was as “call for heat” from the wireless room stats the system would never start up because it wasn’t connected to the boiler.
It would seem to be a simple fix to run a wire from the underfloor heating controller to the boiler’s wiring centre but that’s where the problems started. The wire was passed through a thick brick pillar and then behind some kitchen units until it reached the boiler cupboard. This was then wired into the boiler as per the wiring diagram below. You will notice that the Honeywell wiring centre and the Myson wiring centre are wired through separate fused spurs and that there are two routed back to the mains RCD. Unfortunately the RCD is designed to detect imbalance in an electrical system and as such would find a fault when one of the wiring centres was switched on. The RCD would trip the circuits after it detected the imbalance as if the current had gone through a person. The only remedy was to rewire the house’s circuits so that everything went through on cable and one fused spur. The diagram below shows how it was rewired.
We suspected that the reason why the link wasn’t made with the boiler in the first place was because of the RCD imbalance problem. The customers were delight to have full control of the heating for the first time.
I was delighted to be invited to the Worcester Bosch product briefing this morning. Worcester have always been one of the companies leading the way in developing high quality heating products and after they launched the new 8000 and 2000 series it was an excellent opportunity to learn about the new features they have designed into their domestic boiler range.
On show this morning was the all new Worcester Bosch 8000 “Style” boiler. This is a really advanced boiler which has been designed to help the customer manage their heating in a very user friendly, interactive way. On the front of the boiler is a colour screen with a very simple menu system which allows the customer to check on a multitude of parameter allowing them to maximise efficiency and minimise the maintenance cost. For example, the boiler has an auto filling mechanism which can be programmed to top up the boiler if any system pressure is lost. It also advises the customer of it doing so thus giving the customer time to book an engineer to have the boiler serviced.
The 2000 boiler is a new boiler to the market with all of the trademark robust features of the bigger siblings. This boiler comes in at the entry level and so is very competitively priced to compete with the likes of Baxi and Alpha. It has some great features like a built in wireless room stat controller which offers “load compensation” thus making it compliant with the new Boiler Plus legistation. The boiler is light and small making it easy to fit and has plenty of room inside to allow for easy maintenance with out slicing your knuckles off!!