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Few questions concerning central heating installation

Postby brucephipps » Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:26 pm

I have recently had a new central heating system fitted and have a few questions about the installation (my apologies if any of these have been covered before).

Firstly, is it ok to embed 15mm copper pipe into a wall and if so, should the pipe be plastic coated? Should it be further protected before being plastered over?

Secondly, what are the regulations for protecting a copper pipe that’s routed through a wall? I’ve noticed that the 22mm pipes for the central heating, have a 28mm copper pipe sleeve fitted over them but normal water pipes that lead through an outside wall, don’t. Is this additional sleeving only required for internal walls?

Thirdly, is there some organisation somewhere that regulates plumbing standards? The reason I ask is because when I started looking through the work that had been done, a few things didn't seem quite right. For instance, I've found some pipes bent with a kink (spring not been used?), pipes caught up in electrical cables and pipes obstructing spotlights because they're too close. I've also discovered several minor leaks, which I've been told could be due to the pipes have been soldered at an angle to the fittings - they're not "in-line so the solder may not have flowed properly". I don't know if this is true or not. Would this be considered poor workmanship or am I making too much out of it?

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Simply Build It

Postby mugsy » Sat Jun 21, 2008 1:36 pm

Firstly wrap the pipes with gauze tape it will protect the pipes from damage from the plaster.
secondly always use a sleeve through any walls
thirdly it sounds like shoddy workmanship regards
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Postby kironman » Sat Jun 21, 2008 6:18 pm

hi bruce

sleeving of pipe through a wall (internal or external) is good practice, cement can corode copper (given two hundred years), also sleeving can work as a fail safe if a leak should spring it won't fill the gavity.

If you are to hide pipe work in walls then it should be wrapped in duck tape or denso tape to protect it from cement etc..........corrosion again 200 years......

there is no excuse for sloppy standards, your right pipe work shouldn't be kinked, it should flow round a bend, failing that elbows can be used. trading standards could take up your case, but to be honest the culprits probably long gone by now.

Connections do leak from time to time for different reasons, but most plumbers wouldn't leave until everythings water tested. even if it means staying till late.

hope this helps

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Postby brucephipps » Mon Jun 23, 2008 10:19 pm

Thanks Mugsy and Kev,

The embedded pipes had a strip of duck tape fitted over them, before they were plastered over, but not wrapped round. If plaster affects copper over time, could something else be used for sleeving a pipe? Also is it ok to feed pipes through the holes in an air brick?

I’ve already spoken to Trading Standards about the central heating and they said that if I was considering compensation, I would need to allow the plumber back to fix what he’d done. This I really don’t want to do as I’m not sure his repairs would be any better. I also don't know what future guarantees I would have, if I then found further problems.

Unfortunately, the central heating was only half the story as he was also responsible for fitting my bathroom suite and installing a gas pipe. Again, there were issues with this, such as the enamel on the bath being chipped, the mixer taps not being straight and the chrome plating on the shower valve being scuffed & scratched. The chrome on most of the radiator valve nuts had been stripped off, at the edges, too. All of this, I've now had sorted out, but it shouldn't have been necessary.

When the gas pipe was installed, there was a leak in the downstairs toilet, which turned out to be due to an unsoldered fitting. By the time the plumber arrived the next day, I’d already switched the gas off and opened the windows but when I told him, he said couldn’t smell anything and didn’t check his work – and this is someone who is Corgi-registered. I had to arrange for another plumber to fix the leak as he’d left by then. I’ve never had a certificate from him, though at the time, Corgi weren’t even aware he’d done the installation. They’ve since carried out an inspection and found that there’s still a slight leak somewhere but above safety standards, so the meter has been capped. I received a long report from them, stating they'd identified several faults but no defects so this plumber is still registered with them. He also smokes like a chimney, so possibly his career in plumbing maybe a short one.
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Postby htg engineer » Thu Jun 26, 2008 3:31 pm

Allow him to come back and put his work right - not ideal but you employed him twice. Once for the central heating and once for the bathroom. Employing him once should be enough to determine what the quality of his work is like.

I wouldn't have paid him.

Give him the chance to put his work right, by the sounds of it - not much short of re-piping the whole system. Tell him this is what you want doing, re-piping with proper unkinked bends, sound square fittings and pipework, pipework wrapped and sleeved.

Tell him you have been onto trading standards, they said you have to get him back - any trouble tell him the next step will be a small claims court.

Also smoking in the workplace is illegal, he can smoke outside but not in your home, the garden is your property so he should ask for permission although abit petty.

The pipes have to be plastic coated or wrapped before being plastered over.

Pipes and fittings not lined up - no wonder they leak.

When you found the gas leak you should have phoned 0800 111 999, they wouldn't repair the leak - but if you told them it was a new installation, the installer would have been reported.

Some people think it's abit harsh - but it's dangerous, leaving a water leak is one thing but you can't be too careful with gas. CORGI will get a report, if they already had reports and complaints about him he could be removed from the register. Making it illegal for him to carry out gas work.

What pipes lead through an outside wall ? again should be sleeved and wrapped in a protective coating.

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Postby brucephipps » Mon Jul 07, 2008 10:52 pm

Thanks for your comments, htg engineer.

Unfortunately, the bathroom suite, central heating and gas pipe were all done as one job, with the gas being the last thing. Upto that point, the only issue I’d had was with the bath taps not being straight and when I mentioned this, my plumber said he would look at it once he’d finished everything else. However, after the incident with the gas and the fact that I wasn’t happy about it and didn’t pay him in full, he left and it never got done. The state of the central heating I only discovered by chance with taking up a few floorboards for some DIY, and noticing one of the pipes was wet, decided to check everything else.

I am well aware now that getting another plumber in to fix the gas pipe was not the best idea, particularly with making a complaint to Corgi, as they initially stated that since I’d had the problem repaired, there was nothing for them to check so they wouldn’t be carrying out an inspection. It was only when I mentioned I hadn’t received a certificate, that they decided otherwise. They also told me they were informing my plumber of what was happening, and would be inviting him to my house, to demonstrate how he did his inspection and test. Suffice to say, he never showed.

In hindsight, I wish I’d been more vigilant though I believed, perhaps naively, that someone with Corgi registration must be of a certain standard to have achieved that and consequently, their workmanship would be up to scratch. Having now seen the state of some of the pipes, and the leaks I’ve have found, I’m at a loss as to how he could possibly be allowed to install gas. When I got talking to the plumber who came to fix the gas leak, he’d told me he’d heard about this bloke before, and he too, couldn’t understand how he managed to get Corgi registered.

Regards taking further action with Trading Standards, I can see this turning into something of a battle as my plumber is one of those people who seems to think there is absolutely nothing wrong with his work, is very defensive, has an answer for everything and believes he is unable to do his job properly because no one else can do theirs. I quite agree the whole installation needs to be re-done, but I certainly wouldn’t want him to do it. I can't help thinking that when the number of faults becomes a list, something’s got to be very wrong somewhere.

The pipes that go through the wall are the hot and cold for the basin and bath (my plumber didn’t do this). At some point my house had a side extension built, and the pipework was routed through the extension roof, feeding through what was once the outside wall, into the bathroom. None of these pipes however are sleeved.

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Postby Skids » Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:05 pm

Hi brucephipps

Look up BS 6700

its a good night time read, however you may find what you are looking for regarding standards.

Find out if he is on the 'water industry approved plumbers scheme' ~ get hold of your 'Water Supplier’ (water undertaker) (phone numbers on your water bill) and ask for one of their inspectors to come out to look at the work, because if it is not IAW they can also prosecute the plumber for not working to BS6700 and the Water Reg’s


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Postby brucephipps » Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:15 pm

Hi Skids, thanks for that. I'll see what I can find out.

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