Boiler advice... again.

Discussion in 'OT (OFF Topic) Forums' started by markjay, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. markjay

    markjay MB Club Veteran

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    Here's the situation...

    We have a 10-years old Valiant boiler, and a British Gas HomeCare agreement to service it.

    Nothing wrong with the boiler, it has been serviced regularly and works fine, never broke down.

    But... over the past few months it started to become noisy, on occasion it sound like an electric drill, which in turn vibrates the whole boiler. The vibration can be managed - to some extent - via use of wooden pegs. But they tend to get vibrated out of place and it is not great fun going there at 2am and putting back the pegs in place.... but even with the vibration and rattle under control, it is plain too noisy.

    British Gas engineers came and went, they all checked the boiler and found nothing wrong with it. I suspect that what is needed is for someone to remove the thing from the wall, take it apart, clean it, find why it is rattling, then stick it back up on the wall using new mounts and tighten everything securely.

    But at the same time I also accept that for a 10-years old boiler this may reasonably be considered as being beyond economical repair. So to be honest I have no real issue with British Gas service in this case.

    To cut a long story short, yesterday a nice man from British Gas came over with a quote for new boiler.

    The new boiler itself is not too bad, at around 600eesh. However... as you might expect that are quite a few things that are 'not to current building regulations', and putting them right is expensive... and of course BG will not install the new boiler before the other bits are sorted.

    So here's the dilemma.... do I:

    Find an local independent who will take the thing apart and put it back together, i.e. just try and fix the boiler?

    See if I can find a Gas SAFE engineer who will replace just the boiler but not the ancillaries (I understand that the issue are not safety-related)?

    Just get on with it and hand over a large sum of cash to the nice guy from British Gas for a new boiler and all the rest?


    [​IMG]


    Your thoughts appreciated!
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2011
  2. Charles Morgan

    Charles Morgan MB Enthusiast

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    Get a second opinion.

    If the second doesn't agree with the first, choose the cheaper option.

    Taking something off the wall, dismantling it, etc etc is going to be expensive. Something shaking itself apart is not a good thing. 10 years is pretty decent anyway.
     
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  3. corned

    corned MB Enthusiast

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    It's potentially a £0.00 fix, and diy to boot. Depends on how diy you are?

    The vibration is most likely caused by the fan which extracts the exhaust gases and ejects them out of the flue. It is very simple to take the front/top cover off the boiler and you will then see the fan on the top of the boiler assembly itself. This will be making the noise. You don't even have to switch the boiler off or otherwise isolate it.

    It could be coming loose, or have damaged a fan blade, or it may have a few years' accumulated crud causing the imbalance which will be the root cause of the vibration.

    The worst case is that you have to procure a new fan for it. But to condemn the whole boiler for the sake of a fan seems a bit extreme.
     
  4. OP
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    markjay

    markjay MB Club Veteran

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    Interesting... I'll try to have a look. :thumb:
     
  5. grober

    grober MB Master

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    Posting the VAILANT boiler model number might help? The older boilers tend to be simpler=less things to go wrong= cheaper to repair [ Where have I heard that before?;)] but they are slightly less efficient. No Doubt British gas will try to sell you a pressured system with instant hot water etc= more things to go wrong!!! By all means replace the boiler but keep your gravity fed + hot water tank system if you can would be my advice.
    ps get them to put a Magna clean filter into the system while they are at it!
    [YOUTUBE]sBwKsvXj1JY&feature=related[/YOUTUBE]
     
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  6. StevenN

    StevenN Active Member

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    Can you give me the model number so I can get you advise from a Vaillant engineer?
     
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  7. OP
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    markjay

    markjay MB Club Veteran

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    Thanks for all your advice.

    The boiler is installed in an awkward position, and the bits of it that I can easily access have no identifying labels.

    The manual provided with it says:

    'Vaillant THERMOcompact VU 142/1 E, 182/1 E, 242/1 E, 282/1 E'

    - so it could be any one of those.



    British Gas Proposed 'British gas 330+ wall mounted condensing conventional boiler'. The boiler itself costs just shy of £700, and they now have a 'scarappage' offer shaving off another £200 from this price (I suppose summer is not the best time for boiler installers, so they are keen).

    I must say I am quite taken by the compact design of their unit, this will work nicely in our confined boiler space.

    The standard fitting is around £1.5k, but the additional customisation to meet current regulations adds yet another £1.1k to the total cost, which comes to just over £3k. Now it's the extra 1.1k that I am not at all sure that I really need, if it wasn't for that I would have probably gone for it already..
     
  8. artyman

    artyman MB Enthusiast

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    I had my old Valiant boiler (25yrs I think) replaced in 2007 with a Gloworm Ultracom 18hxi. Mine is a gravity hot water tank system and apart from the boiler it only needed a new controller. The total bill was £1650 from my local heating guy that did the original installation.

    I agree with the suggestions that look and attempt to solve the noise problem isn't going to leave you any worse off. At best it's fixed and if not you would need a new boiler to sort it anyway.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2011
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  9. Martyn_n

    Martyn_n Active Member

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    If you are planning to do this work yourself please bear in mind that by doing so you will be breaking the law (I am assuming you are not registered). Having said that I replaced the flue fan on mine and saved a pretty penny without the gas police knocking down my front door!
     
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    markjay

    markjay MB Club Veteran

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    Getting another quote on Tuesday - from a local firm that carried-out some plumbing work for us in the past (their business card has the yellow Gas SAFE logo with a registration number).
     
  11. OP
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    markjay

    markjay MB Club Veteran

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    I am not - the boiler is in such a position that it requires youth and agility to work around it - and I posses neither... :( :D
     
  12. grober

    grober MB Master

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  13. Dryce

    Dryce MB Enthusiast

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    AIUI it's not that simple and clear cut if doing the job as genuine DIY.

    Question is whether you are competent to do the work. And that question doesn't have a clear cut answer.

    Gas Safe (nee Corgi) registration has simply become an accepted means of demonstrating 'competence'.
     
  14. Rory

    Rory MB Enthusiast

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    If it's on a maint contract I'd get BG to fix it. Or are they refusing? If so, what's the point of the contract - you'll have spent well more than the price of the boiler on the contract?

    The newer boilers don't seem to last 5 mins.
     
  15. OP
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    markjay

    markjay MB Club Veteran

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    The BG contract excludes situations where the boiler is beyond economical repair, in which case they simply offer you a new boiler.

    I am not defending BG.... some 15 years ago I had a rented flat, and the landlord had just renewed the BG service contract, but when the old bolier failed a BG engineer simply disconnected it declaring it both unsafe and beyond economical repair.

    The landlord had a go at BG - saying why did sell me a contract for a boiler that is too old to fix in the first place etc etc, but eventually had to succumb and bought a new boiler from BG.

    But... in this case, as I said, I can understand why BG can't do much about it - the thing is otherwise working 100% fine, and they can't figure out where the noise is coming from. I personally think that it is reasonable from their point of view to refuse to take apart a 10-years old boiler and then put it back together while looking for the rattle...

    As I said before I would have been happy to pay someone to fix it, but also for me I am not sure it makes sense to submit a 10-years old boiler to this.
     
  16. Rory

    Rory MB Enthusiast

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    Is it going to cost another £3500 to change it again in 10 years time? That's a lot per year, even assuming it last that long - some people are changing boilers at 7yrs old.

    I don't know, but it's hard to imagine it's anything other than the fan, and they're a serviceable item.
     
  17. StevenN

    StevenN Active Member

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    Can I ask what work is needed b4 BG will instal?
    What boiler they are offering?
    and did they check your circulating pump?
    A good engineer would be able to locate the noise.
     
  18. stevesey

    stevesey MB Enthusiast

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    Definately get a second options - AFAIK a boiler replacement does not have to meet current building regs. So depending what the issue is some not trying to create work may have a different opinion form BG.

    Although you still need some common sense of course - we have a 30+ years old Thorn Apollo (heat exchanger, big flame , no electronics or fan). Flue 1m from the boundary and 2m for the neighbours gable-end. It's against building regs to put a condensing boiler there because of the possible condensate plume from the flue going over the boundary. We it finally goes we could put a replacement there but if the neighbour complained about the plume going over the fence and wetting the wall we'd be in a pretty difficult situation (so we won't - even though we currently have no other sensible location - but currently thinking about some serious knocking about that will solve the problem as a by product).

    That said I there is and extension on the main road near us where the gable end moved out adjacent to the pavement and the flue itself actually overhangs the pavement as well as the surface mounted gas meter box. How sure how they got away with that.
     
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  19. StevenN

    StevenN Active Member

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    You could get away with a vertical flue or a plume management kit. As long as the flue is not blasting directly at next door you shouldn't have an issue
     
  20. stevesey

    stevesey MB Enthusiast

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    Ugly though.

    I have considered a Keston - then the outlet could run a fair way down the Garage.

    For the time being our old Apollo keeps chugging away, nothing really to go wrong - got though it's second thermocouple this winter. I have pondered the idea of looking out for a spare gas value while they are still available.
     
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