We are delighted to have installed the new Worcester Bosch Easy Control internet based heating control centre. We were asked to fit a new boiler in place of an old and unreliable Baxi 130HE combi. The customer opted for a new Worcester Bosch 30i system boiler and 300L unvented cylinder.
The unvented cylinder has transformed hot water supply in the house from having one shower able to perform reasonably at 15 litres per minute, the customers now have a bath capable of delivering 20 litres per minute as well as two showers delivering 15 litres per minute. With 300 litres of hot water at 65oC and the 30KW boiler refilling the cylinder every 28 minutes, its almost impossible to run out of water.
The Bosch Easy Control takes care of the control of the heating and hot water. From the customer’s iPhone a schedule can be set up to automatically start and stop the boiler when heat in needed. The controller takes account of the outdoor weather temperature and alters the output of the boiler to compensate for additional loss of heat through the building fabric as the external temperature drops at night.
I awoke yesterday morning to find an email from a new customer asking if I would give him a second opinion on a gas boiler he had at his rented house in Newcastle. I didn’t realise at the time but the 6am email had come from Shanghai, China, the customer was an English teacher in the Far East!
I responded to the email, arranged a visit with the local letting agents and inspected the boiler. The tenant had reported that the boiler was switching on and off every five minutes and on inspection I could see why.
Potterton Prima 30F – combustion safety device
Looking through the spy glass at the flame picture I could see the flame lifting off the burners. These boiler are fitted with an “oxy pilot” pilot light which is designed to shut down the boiler if there is a lack of oxygen in the combustion process – this is what was happening.
The next step was to determine why there was a lack of oxygen and why the pilot light was lifting off the burner causing the thermocouple to cool down and switch off.
In most cases the lack of oxygen is due to flue problems. If a flue is blocked then less air is able to get into the boiler causing combustion problems, but also if the flue is damaged or corroded then exhaust gases can get into the intake of the boiler and as these are primarily CO2, they starve the boiler of oxygen. Taking a look outside at the flue it could be seen that the terminal had been poorly pointed in but this was a historic fault and the current problem had just arisen so there was more to it that that poor pointing.
Corrosion of the flue
On closer inspection of the flue it was obvious to see the inner exhaust pipe had completely corroded to the point that there was a large airway between the exhaust pipe and the air intake resulting in the boiler breathing in its own exhaust gas. This is likely to cause high levels of CO as the combustion process is compromised by the lack of oxygen and produces CO rather than CO2.
The boiler was restarted and the CO levels measured to see just how bad the combustion process has become, as you can see the level is very high, 1600 ppm (parts per million) a level that will cause death in 2 hours if the gases were able to get into the house.
I classified the boiler as “At Risk” and disconnected it from the gas supply and issued a warning notice until I was given to go ahead to repair it.
Baxi are aware of this problem and make a simple rectification part (5106693) which neatly fits over the distressed flue pipe. This was purchased, fitted and the CO levels remeasured at 42 parts per million, a much safer level.
The work was completed and the photos sent to Shanghai for approval by the customer who was happy with the work and left a very kind review on Checkatrade – “I can’t thank Richard enough, he’s quite literally a lifesaver, picking up on serious issues missed by a shoddy craftsman obtained by my property manager as I work abroad and rent out my home in Newcastle. He also saved me having to replace the boiler entirely. Thank you, Richard, for your prompt and excellent work as well as the communication, information provided, upfront pricing and photos. It’d be my pleasure to recommend Richard here and I’m definitely keeping his number for any future work as well as sharing it with my family and friends in Newcastle as often as I can.”
Thankfully the snow has gone for the moment. It was a very busy time for us with calls every hour asking for help. We were able to answer many of them and were happy to give people advice on how to get their boilers working again. One local customer even left us a kind review on Checkatrade for helping him out. http://bit.ly/BEEREVIEWS
“Very kindly offered advice which overcame boiler failure meaning a visit was not necessary, without charge.”
Now that temperatures are above freezing its an ideal time to review your systems and plan in a little bit of preventative maintenance to save the discomfort and worry next time the Beast comes from the East.
Having a heating system that doesn’t effectively heat your house is worse than useless!
We can review your heating system and make improvements such as refiting or rerouting your condensate pipework so that it doesn’t freeze, we can review your radiator outputs and look at the amount of sludge there is in your system to give your boiler a fighting chance of circulating some real heat on colder days; and we can install Smart Controls that learn when you want your heating on and take account of the external weather conditions.
Many people will be getting new boilers at this time of year because this is when they are most likely to fail and with the pressure and stress of the cold weather its sometimes best to opt for a new boiler. I many cases the replacement is due to the old system being tired and exhausted and clogged up with years of dirty water in the system.
When a new boiler is fitted it is part of the Building Regulations that the system is flushed out in accordance with BS7593. This means flushing the system with either a fresh water approach or a power flush approach, details of each can be found at the Domestic Water Treatment Association’s code of practice – http://bit.ly/BEEWATER
We normally opt for the fresh water approach as we feel it places the system under less stress and with many manufacturers they provide an installation jig for easy flushing, pictured below you can see how the filling loop is used to introduce fresh water into the system and a exit pipe is attached to the flow connection thus allowing water to be introduced and flow round the whole system with out going through the boiler – which isn’t fitted at this stage.
The process is further refined by then shutting of all but one of the radiators so that it can be heard that the flushing water is running through that radiator, this is continued for all the radiators in the system. The exiting water usually turns a darker colour as each new radiator is opened up.
If you are having a new boiler fitted and the fitters are suggesting that they don’t need to flush the system as the magnetic filter will remove all of the dirty walk away!! This is not correct, don’t let them pull the wool and contaminate your new boiler with years of old sludge.
Derek’s been out and about buzzing around looking to help folks in this cold weather. We were contacted by one young man who had just moved into a new house with a young family, in Tyneside, but had no heating or hot water. It turned out that the “Thorn-Myson House Warmer 30/45” wasn’t doing its job and so we set about fixing it.
This is a dear old lady who ceased production in 1988 so we are looking at a 30 year old boiler.
The first problem as a blown capacitor in the wiring centre, this was easily replaced. The picture opposite shows the capacitor exploding as voltage is sent across it.
Then the pilot light didn’t work so this was also replaced. Finally it began to work but the circulation pump had sheared off, so that had to be replaced. The pump hadn’t been supported very well so we added some supports and new valves and now it works perfectly! It just goes to show that with a little TLC you can bring an old dear back to life.
Our client, Paul, commented – An excellent job on an old, dated boiler and heating system which had not been maintained prior to me purchasing the property and had several issues. Richard was open and clear with expectations of potential issues and cost and endeavoured to sort it as quickly as possible, including coming out at weekends and evenings. I cannot fault the service provided at all.
We don’t just fix boilers, but you probably know that!
This week Derek has been busy fixing a lot of boilers, replacing pumps, finding leaks and getting gas ovens to work.
In one job the gas oven’s automatic sparker would start all by itself and just keep sparking, this was driving the customer mad!!
We found out that the flame was lifting off the burner because the burner was dirty and so we sent Derek into the hot oven to give it a good clean; after that it worked great.
It just goes to show that cleaning your oven is important and can say you the cost of calling out a gas engineer to clean it for you.
On another day Derek found himself in a loft with a few wasps and the odd bat! While he was up the, at the property in North Shields, he replaced the gravity feed central heating pump on an old Apollo boiler which was installed about 30 years ago.
Unfortunately just as we replaced the main pump the thermocouple went as well so we replaced that too.
Derek’s been a busy bee this week. We’ve been all over the North East fixing boilers and central heating systems.
Our best job was to help out Nancy who had no heating at all. We arrived to find her boiler in about 100 pieces – not ideal; this is how the last gas fitter has left it. On closer inspection of the Ideal Icos HE24 we found that the condensate trap with clogged with boiler debris.
This would have made the combustion chamber fill up with water and eventually stop the boiler because it was under water! The solution was quite simple – the trap needed to be cleared of all the black sludge and then the whole boiler needed to be flushed through with 10 kettles of boiling water. And that’s what we did.
After it was flushed out and a quick clean of the electronic sensors we fired it and it worked! Nancy said in her review, “The boiler stopped working. I asked quite a few plumbers for fixing but no one was sure to get it fixed. I asked Boiler Bee for a quote of a new boiler but he said he could fix it. What a surprise! And he did! We really appreciate and would recommend him to my friend!”
Derek’s also been busy fitting Nest internet thermostats this week. We’ve fitted two actually. One was used to control the under floor heating at a terraced property in North Shields, the second was a traditional heating system in Whitley Bay, both customers were delighted with the operation and control they have of their heating systems.
We are delighted to announce we are changing our name and placing a greater emphasis on our domestic plumbing and heating business.
Macoun Energy Limited was formed in 2015 as a business designed to offer energy consultancy and then later plumbing and heating services to business and domestic customers in the North East, we have now decided to narrow down the business to offer just plumbing and heating services and felt that the name Boiler Bee would be a better name to demonstrate the type of business we are offering.
Over the past 3 years we have worked on hundreds of boiler, central heating systems, radiators and gas appliances such as gas fires and cookers. In that time it has become evident that there is shortage of businesses who can skilfully service and repair gas appliances. Far too often we have heard from customers that they have been told their boiler or gas fire is unsafe, obsolete and at the end of its life. As a gas safe engineer I know that if a boiler is unsafe it must be either repaired or replaced. However, all too often, the easier and more expensive option of replacing is chosen. In some cases this may be because the gas engineer doesn’t feel confident in repairing the boiler or it may be that the company strategy is not to repair.
My background is as a Mechanical Engineer, I have been taking machines apart and trying to put them back together for over 40 years! I believe everything can be fixed and so I promise to explore every angle and implement every repair before condemning a boiler.
The Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors Ltd (APHC) has launched “Quality Plumber Week 2017”, which will run from 2 to 8 October, aims to promote high quality plumbing and heating services by educating customer how they can find a reliable plumber or heating engineer.
Our own advice would be to search Checkatrade for a plumber or heating engineer in your area and if it within our local you will find Macoun Energy popping up near the top of the list where you can read the 271 reviews we have, of which 99% are over 9/10.
WE are supporting this initiative as the industry braces itself for the winter months when business volumes rise as people place greater stress on their heating and hot water systems.
As a special offer we are offering 5 boiler services for FREE on a first come first served basis, just click on this page INFORMATION to log your interest and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org