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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 5:54 pm 
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I had a condensing boiler installed six years ago. It has run without a fault since then and has been serviced annually by the installer. This winter, water was seen dripping from the condensate trap on to the kitchen work surface. I contacted the installer who said it was due to freezing in the external condensate pipe and told me to use hot water to clear the blockage. This seemed to do the trick.

Yesterday I had the boiler serviced - not by the installer, but by another engineer I had used in the past. Everything was going well until he came to check the combustion, which was miles out. One figure (I think it was CO) was up in the thousands. The engineer though it was due to a dirty hex, so he stripped it down, cleaned and reassembled. This had no effect. He thought he could see signs of water damage so he spoke to the manufacturer's tech support, who agreed with his conclusions. The result is that I am faced with a bill around £1000 to repair the boiler, or more if it cannot be repaired.

That's the background; now for my questions.

The condensate pipe is external and piped as shown in the left hand diagram. This would appear to be wrong as it does not leave an air gap between the 22mm pipe through the wall and the 32mm pipe connecting to the drain. The correct way would seem to be is as shown in the diagram on the right.

1. Is this correct?
2. Do I have a claim against the installer for the cost of repair/replacement?

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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 6:49 pm 
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What is the pipe that it drains into, where does that go? I don't see why you would need/want an air gap.


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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 7:28 pm 
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Rorschach wrote:
What is the pipe that it drains into, where does that go? I don't see why you would need/want an air gap.

1. It's a 32mm plastic pipe which goes into the same external drain as the kitchen sink.
2. The Installation Instructions recommends an air break to prevent freezing.


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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 8:25 pm 
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I know you are quite well versed with your heating/boiler so apologies in advance if any questions seem too basic!

The existing condensate pipe and diagram, could you confirm if the overflow is just dropped into the 32mm or connected/sealed with a fitting?

Also, I can’t remember, what make is your boiler?

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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 9:58 pm 
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I can't see how an air gap will stop freezing, if anything it will let more cold air blow up the condensate pipe and start the freeze further up.


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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 9:35 am 
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gas4you wrote:
I know you are quite well versed with your heating/boiler so apologies in advance if any questions seem too basic!

The existing condensate pipe and diagram, could you confirm if the overflow is just dropped into the 32mm or connected/sealed with a fitting?

Also, I can’t remember, what make is your boiler?


It's just dropped in - about 5mm.

It's a Remeha Avanta open vented. Last year's service shows 8.8%, 50ppm and 0.0005 so I'm really p'd off that this has happened. I do wonder if the installer knows he made a mistake, which is why he didn't reply to my phone calls about having the boiler serviced.


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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 4:30 pm 
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The second way is definitely wrong as the wind chill over the end of the pipe will cause freezing. Remehas are quite prone to this as they drip rather than store it up and release in one go as some boilers do and they also condense quite a lot as they are efficient.

It depends what is in the Manufacturers Instructions that came with the boiler as to whether it's incorrectly terminated or not, personally I upgrade the pipe before it goes through the wall.

After 6 years I wouldn't bother to pursue a claim against the installer just put it down to life!

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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 5:23 pm 
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Then the first one has an air gap. Cant see nothing wrong that way. If it freezes below in the 32mm then the condensate can still get out by spilling over.

My Remeha installs just have a tundish, well an upturned R16 actually, straight under the condensate outlet under the boiler. The condensate trap on these is do big you will never get POC out if it.

I would get a fixed price repair from Baxi to sort it. Around £350 IIRC

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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 7:26 pm 
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Razor wrote:
After 6 years I wouldn't bother to pursue a claim against the installer just put it down to life!

That's what I would expect an installer to say.

gas4You wrote:
I would get a fixed price repair from Baxi to sort it. Around £350 IIRC

Thanks for that excellent suggestion; I phoned them immediately. It's going to cost £381, spread over 12 months. We'll have to wait a week, which is acceptable as some of the delay is due to our unavailability.


The cheapest price I could find online for the hex is £540 inc VAT.



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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 8:06 pm 
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I am often moaned about for recommending fixed price repairs for customers, but I work on the principle of being honest with the customer and tbh most come back to me for further servicing etc afterwards.

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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 11:57 am 
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The Baxi scheme is a really an insurance policy normally costing about £20 per month, with an additional premium for repairing the existing fault. So I must thank all the policy holders who haven't made any claims on their insurance for contributing to the repair of my boiler!

When I lived in Croydon my heating system was covered by a plan provided by a local firm of heating engineers. They still provide the same service for £20 per month. Why don't other engineers do the same - even sole traders?


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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 1:34 pm 
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D Hailsham wrote:
Razor wrote:
After 6 years I wouldn't bother to pursue a claim against the installer just put it down to life!

That's what I would expect an installer to say.




Actually I'm the lead breakdown engineer for a boiler manufacturer not an installer.

Still your comment is exactly what I'd expect a t*at to say :thumbright:

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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 7:02 pm 
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D Hailsham wrote:
The Baxi scheme is a really an insurance policy normally costing about £20 per month, with an additional premium for repairing the existing fault. So I must thank all the policy holders who haven't made any claims on their insurance for contributing to the repair of my boiler!

When I lived in Croydon my heating system was covered by a plan provided by a local firm of heating engineers. They still provide the same service for £20 per month. Why don't other engineers do the same - even sole traders?



Its a numbers game.

If I could get 1000 customers paying £20+ per month I would. Even with 50% for parts you would still make a good living.

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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 6:46 pm 
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Update

The Baxi engineer turned up today. He checked the combustion and found the CO was extremely high. So he decided the first thing to do was change the gas valve. He did that, then checked again. CO almost back to normal. He spent a few minutes adjusting the gas valve to get the correct numbers for High and Low. Job done. Didn't bother to change the hex.

I've probably spend more on the insurance than the actual cost of replacing the gas valve, but it's less than the independent engineer wanted to change both valve and hex; and I'm still covered if the hex goes in the next year.


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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 8:05 pm 
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You’re not too much out of pocket.

I would charge around £220+vat to replace a gas valve on your boiler if local to me and you would only get a warranty on the new part

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