I am an elderly woman, recently widowed. My Central heating is gas fired, boiler about 12 years old, in garage. hot water tank in spare bedroom, all rads except hall have thermostatic valves, room stat in hall and programmer in kitchen. My understanding is pumped/gravity system i.e. can only have ch when water on. On sunday night/Monday morning found I had no central heating and called out an engineer from local advertising. He charged £65 for 1st hour then £30 per half hour (plus VAT). Said 3 port valve had corroded did not have a new one, took cover off and did something so we had to have both heating and hot water pending replacement. Came back Wednesday replaced 3 port valve then said problem in boiler button to ignite pilot was jammed needed new gas control valve. Said someone (probably bloke who put our bath room in) had "fiddled about to get it going". He blew electrics twice and told me electrics to hot water tank were all wired up wrong. Told me to put a plug on a wire on top of hot water tank to get immersion heater going, which i did successfully. Came back today and replaced gas control valve in boiler. After he had been gone an hour checked boiler and tank and still have no central heating or hot water. He left me another bill and time I have paid it I have paid him over £400 including about £130 for parts, and I am no further forward. Does anyone think he is a cowboy? He keeps saying "I dont understand this" but surely that is what I am paying him for! I do not understand these things my husband always sorted out that sort of stuff.
I am really sorry for you, from your description it sounds as though your tradesman really does not know what he is doing and is taking you for a ride.
Try talking to friends and neighbours and see if they can recommend someone else.
Well if he didn't leave his horse tied up in the in the street he certainly (from your account) doesn't appear to have the faintest idea what he is doing and is just replacing parts willy nilly in the hope that he finds a cure.
All that palava and you STILL don't have a working system.
Everything you say points to someone who should NOT be working on peoples property and certainly not on gas and electrics. Do not let him back in your front door again.
I feel your local trading standards office might have something to say about him - but there are always two sides to a story.
While you are talking to trading standards ask them about finding a reputable contractor locally who does know what he is doing.
Does he have a CORGI registration number? If not he was worked illegaly on your boiler for payment (replacing gas valve) and should probably be reported to CORGI.
Does he have a VAT registration number? It should be on his invoice. If not he should not be charging you VAT.
Sorry to hear of your plight :(
Proper RGIs are not like this, so please do not call him again.
Can you not ask for a recomendation from friends/neighbours/relatives.
Or give us an idea of where you are from and we may be able to recomend.
"My understanding is pumped/gravity system i.e. can only have ch when water on"
This would indicate to me that you will not have a three port valve. If you have then you should be able to have HW only CH only or CH and HW on. So is there a three port valve ? did he point it out to you ?
Thanks, chaps! Yes there is a 3 port valve and I have seen it and I saw the inside of it and it was indeed corroded. He said it had been leaking and fair do's it certainly looked like it. My brother in law popped in today and he is a qualified electrician and he talked me through what the valve does. He feels either a faulty valve has been installed as it is shutting itself down after about 5 minutes and/or he thinks this other bloke has tinkered about with this box (junction box or circuit box in the tank cupboard which has loads of wiring in it) without being sure what he was doing. I understand the programmer has to send a message to the valve to either open one pipe for hot water or both pipes for heating and hot water or shut off altogether and when we tried and pushed the 3 pt valve lever over to manual, everything starts up then shuts down after about 5 minutes. Like the wrong electric signal being sent. Also we set the programmer to hot water only and all the rads started warming up! I still owe the CH Engineer money for the last visit, so I am going to phone him 2morrow and say it still not working and my bro-in-law says tell him to come Wednesday and he will be here and talk to him. this engineer criticised every aspect of my CH installation including the way the programmer had been installed and what I did not tell him was my bro-in-law put it in when it had to be changed about 4 years ago, and he is the most precise and careful worker you can imagine, and very experienced. I dont like to keep bothering family for favours, but when you get treated like this by paid tradespeople what choice is there? I will not pay him till all sorted out. And it has been cold today!!
htng engineer sorry, I was not clear I understood only a fully pumped system could separate the heating and hot water and that is not what I have got. I could only ever have the heating on if the hot water on too, the programmer (Horst) automatically switches on hot water if you push the heating boost or advance buttsons. I thought my hot water was gravity and in further response to my previous response, my bro-in-law sd when he temporarily got everything going that the pump was coming on when the programmer was set to hot water only! I could hear it. My bro-in-law is getting wiring diagrams from his daughter's husband who has just got his Gas Registration and is a qualified plumber (Central heating seems to be a multi tasking discipline do you all have to qualify in all 3, or do you work in pairs or what?) My bro in law is going to trace the wiring circuits to see where it has gone wrong. He is meticulous. He plans to leave the country when he retires, God help me!
Don't pay him at all and unless he has good explanations for his conduct on Wednesday I'd be looking for the money back you have already paid him. I still think you should take him to trading standards (or at least threaten to). That should ensure you get your money back.
"Sorry, but i'm lost with this post. A gravity hot water system will not have a 3 port valve."
But it may be a terminology issue 'twixt you and the OP?
"If your system has a 3 port valve, you will be able to have CH and HW on independantly and the pump WILL run for both."
Didn't some of the older Potterton programmers have a mechanical interlock on the sliding switches so that although it was possible to have HW and CH independently with a 3 port valve the programmer wouln't actually select CH unless HW was also on?
I am very puzzled now. I have a Horstman Channelplus programmer. It says in the handbook "Remember - if you have a GRAVITY TYPE system the heating will not function without the water being heated as well" and certainly if Boost or Advance has ever been used and you push the heating button , then the hot water has automatically come on with it. So we have always assumed the hot water was gravity fed. I have never been told that the pump is for the hot water too. The 3 pt valve is at the junction of 3 pipes in a horizontal "T" which are behind it on a horizontal plane. The right hand one connects to the hw tank the "long arm" of the "T" disappears under the floor boards and so does the left hand one. bro-in-law said there are two electrical leads into the valve and should only be on. There has always been a valve on the system. this new 1 is "Tower Mid position Valve VAL322MP" and there is an arm on the lh side which you can push down to put it into the manual position -no one has ever explained to me under what circumstances this should be engaged although one engineer told me several years ago that using the manual override could damage the valve, and this chap causing the problem now says that is nonsense. Chaps I am extremely grateful for your helpful advice and I will not be alone if he comes on Wednesday I will have bro-in-law and daughter with me and we can all discuss the options. I will let you know the outcome. Tnx.
'But it may be a terminology issue 'twixt you and the OP?'
Well it is a problem with the posts, (not getting at anyone, as it seems that the programmer has not been set correctly therefore most people would think it was a gravity system) if someone says they have a gravity HW system, then say the three port valve has been changed what do you think ?
it's not a gravity system, if it has a three port valve ?
they're mistaking the pump/or something else for the motorised valve ?
the three post valve is actually a two port valve to give more control to HW temperature. Hence 'How many pipes are connected to the 3 port valve ?'
As Rosebery has said, the programmer has probably never been set up correctly, therefore you have been using it in the mode meant for gravity HW systems.
Anyway will watch to find out what the outcome is.
I think I understand that last post. I just have to say that my computer has to go in for repair under warranty so I will not be on line now for about 2 weeks but will let you know the outcome of the visit on Wednesday when I am able to. thank you all for your useful and friendly advice in the meantime. Nanjay
My brother in law spent a lot of time with his friend also a qualified electrician, without success, trying to find the electrical fault in my system wiring and eventually called a friend of his who has a C.H. company. He uses a sub-contracted electrician who only ever does the electrics for C.H. systems. He came in with his assistant, and in just under an hour stripped down and completely reassembled the electrics in my C.H. and everything is back working properly, hallelujah! He said it is quicker not to look for faults, just to do the whole damn thing right from scratch. thank all you chaps for "listening" to my problems and your helpful advice. I am quite a bit more clued up now from several angles. Also, where I originally described myself as "an elderly widow" I am still a widow but feel younger now mu bones feel warmer. 61 isn't that old, after all. lol. cheers, all. - Nanjay
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