DIY Doctor

gas backboiler-have i been conned?

Postby dawny » Wed Sep 12, 2007 4:39 pm

hi, this is my first post. can anyone please help?
yesterday, we had our baxi 552 backboiler serviced. it is about 20 years old and this was its first service for two years (oops). it has been suffering from 'cholesterol' in the pipes so every time the hot water thing starts up, we get a lovely banging noise. i asked the guy if a 'powerflush' would solve this problem and he told me it was unlikely as the boiler was so old and the only way to cure the problem for good would be to get a new boiler AND powerflush the system. first question is, is this true or is he trying to con me into buying a new boiler?
secondly, i put the heating on this morning and there was a smell of gas coming from the fire. i switched the heating back off and rang the firm who did our service for us yesterday. they came out today and diagnosed a faulty valve and replaced it with a honeywell compact gas control thing (sorry- that's all it says on the box!). the problem of a leaky valve was not picked up at the service and has not presented us with a problem prior to yesterday's service. when i queried this with the boiler guy, he said that very often with a boiler this age, switching the gas off and then back on can screw-up the valve. so, he fitted a new valve and charged me £143.75. does this scenario seem reasonable to those of you in the know? my husband has come home from work and is disgusted with me for paying the bill and thinks the firm is trying to pull a fast one (i.e. they broke the valve yesterday and are charging us for the repair). i don't know what to think...

does anyone have any pearls of wisdom or any experience that can help? have we been conned or does this all sound very reasonable and we are just being ignorant? please help!!

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Postby htg engineer » Thu Sep 13, 2007 12:51 pm

If it was serviced correctly he should of picked up on the gas escape, and a callback should not have been necessary - But you are allowed 4MB gas escapes on appliances, as long as there's no smell of gas.

If the gas escape was already there and under 4MB and you didn't smell it, then he hasn't broken any rules - but, if you've never smelt gas before and it has just been since the service was carried out, you need to ask the company why ? for a gas valve to start leaking the day after the service is carried out is rather suspicious.

As for the heating system, limescale builds up in older boilers which causes a banging and rumbling noise known as kettling. Adding descaler to the heating system can quieten the boiler down (depending on how bad it is) it is worth a try.

Your boiler is getting to a canny age now, and a replacement would probably be best within the next few years for efficiency and fuel costs. But if the boiler is working and passes it's yearly services then it is entirely up to you.

It is better to replace your boiler when you can afford and not waiting for it to pack in - as it could pack in at anytime and may not be repairable, and who knows what financial situation you may be in at that point.
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Postby AndyB » Thu Sep 13, 2007 10:49 pm

another point to be made is that you wouldn't be able to swop boiler for another back boiler under new regs
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Postby dawny » Tue Sep 25, 2007 9:53 am

thank you both for your replies. been away so haven't been able to get on here until now.
my husband rang the company and spoke to the manager who suggested that if we were unhappy we should take the old valve (which was left with us) to an independant plumber who would check it over. she said ''we haven't made a success of our business for the last 50 years by ripping people off''. unfortunately, i put the valve on the garden table in thits box and it rained almost immediately. can't see any point in getting it checked now so i suppose we will have to let it drop...
how do i go about getting descaler for the system? do i have to get a plumber in to do that or can i buy it and add it myself? if it's a DIY, where can i get the stuff and where do i put it? is this likely to be expensive?
we will def. be switching to a new boiler but money is tight at the moment so it will have to wait until the spring. we have been quoted £2000 for a new boiler, the fitting and a system flush. the guy said they used 'top end' boilers, whatever that's supposed to mean... we will have to figure out what to do with the hole that will be left following the removal of the nasty gas fire (although a big gapping hole might just be an improvement on the monstrosity of a fire place). we will probably just brick it up and cover it over. any ideas how we would vent it? are those vent brick things suitable or would we need something else? i expect i will end up doing it as my husband is not keen on the old DIY...
aanyway, many thanks to you both for taking the time to reply. hopefully, you will be to help me with my new questions above ;-)

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Postby humperdink » Tue Sep 25, 2007 10:36 pm

you can buy desludger from diy stores - probably any will do fernox. sentinal brands are pretty good.
the hard part may be adding it (and later removing it) depending on how technically minded you are.
if you ask maybe at your local plumbcentre or such for one that you can inject straight into a radiator bleed point that wil be nice and simple which is what everyone wants


ps remember & read the instructions
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