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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:27 pm 
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I have an old boiler that just won't fire up. I flick the switch and can hear the sound of the repeated attempts to ignite, but it's just not firing up. I've had a heat engineer look at it. The gas valve is new, the pcb is working fine and it's all been cleaned out. It just still isn't lighting up. The heat engineer suggested that it could well be something to do with the burner. I'm thinking about getting the part to replace it. Just wondered if anyone had any thoughts about the possible cause and, if I buy a part, do I go for the pilot burner assembly, the main burner assembly or the main burner. Looking at the prices, I've seen a pilot burner assy for about £30, main burner assy for just over £40 and the main burner itself for just over £70. Any thoughts?


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:07 pm 
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The forum cannot guide you on this issue as the work is on the gas side and should only be undertaken by a qualified gas engineer. If you were directed by a forum member to take a certain course of action and there was an explosion or other catastrophe then there would be a liability issue for the forum owners.

Sorry not to be able to help. I think it is time for a new boiler :thumbright:

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:53 pm 
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I'm not doing the work myself. A gas engineer is doing the work. He's already replaced the gas valve and the pcb and isn't sure why it's not working. He suggested that it could be worth changing the burner. I just wondered if anyone else had any idea of why it wasn't firing up (given that the gas engineer is a bit baffled) and also whether it is worth getting the pilot burner and/or the main burner.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:55 pm 
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What’s not lighting, the pilot or main burner?

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:01 pm 
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Sorry, I misunderstood. I hope you get it sorted. :thumbright:

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:21 pm 
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cleanprophet wrote:
I have an old boiler that just won't fire up. I flick the switch and can hear the sound of the repeated attempts to ignite, but it's just not firing up. I've had a heat engineer look at it. The gas valve is new, the pcb is working fine and it's all been cleaned out. It just still isn't lighting up. The heat engineer suggested that it could well be something to do with the burner. I'm thinking about getting the part to replace it. Just wondered if anyone had any thoughts about the possible cause and, if I buy a part, do I go for the pilot burner assembly, the main burner assembly or the main burner. Looking at the prices, I've seen a pilot burner assy for about £30, main burner assy for just over £40 and the main burner itself for just over £70. Any thoughts?


This is a wind-up surely?

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:43 pm 
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gas4you wrote:
What’s not lighting, the pilot or main burner?


Neither are lighting. I flick the switch and it responds, initially, as normal but then just doesn't fire up, so neither the main burner or the pilot are lighting. It sounds like it's just not igniting. The engineer said he was baffled why it wasn't working. But I don't think he's actually had the burner out and inspected it (same with the pilot burner).

Dickie wrote:
This is a wind-up surely?


I wish it was.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:07 pm 
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Can you hear/see it sparking through the inspection glass?

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:08 pm 
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Won’t be anything to do with the main burner then

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:30 pm 
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gas4you wrote:
Can you hear/see it sparking through the inspection glass?


I haven't looked through the inspection glass, but I can hear it clicking away like it is trying to ignite.

Obviously it's an old boiler and I do need to replace it soon with one that is much more efficient. I'd just like to get it through this winter, if possible.

Does it sound like it is a pilot burner problem or maybe something to do with the ignition (ignition electrode maybe)?


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:29 pm 
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If it’s definitely sparking at the spark electrode then it’s gas related so needs your chap back in to diagnose why it’s failing.

Can’t understand why he’s struggling with it. A few basic checks should diagnose it rather than chucking expensive parts at it.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 12:34 am 
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Yeah, I'm a bit concerned that he's not able to diagnose the issue. It's not like it's completely unresponsive and he knows the gas valve and pcb are in full working order. It's just a case of it not sparking up. I suppose the alarm bells should have started ringing when, after his first visit, he said "it's either the gas valve or the pcb". I'd have thought that a gas engineer would have been able to find out whether the gas valve needed replacing or whether the pcb had shorted.

I mean, he was suggesting going with a main burner replacement or a pilot burner replacement. That's why I had to come on here because I didn't know whether I should buy a main burner, a pilot burner or even maybe try a different engineer. By the way, he said his supplier didn't stock the parts for the boiler and that's why I'm having to source the parts myself. Not ideal.

I can pick up a pilot burner for about £30. Is it worth getting that and having it fitted or would you recommend trying a different engineer?


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 8:17 am 
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I'm a complete novice with boilers (that's why I've come here), so I know next to nothing about how they work. Am I right in thinking that when you switch the boiler on, the pcb will ensure that there's a spark delivered to the ignition electrode, which then fires up the pilot burner, which then opens the valve and fires up the main burner? So if it is sparking at the electrodude but the pilot burner is not igniting, there's probably an issue with the pilot burner?


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:24 am 
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When the boiler gets a demand for heat, the boiler thermostat will check that the boiler needs turning on, then instruct the pcb to do so.

The pcb will initiate the spark, then open the first gas valve solenoid for the pilot to light. The pcb will check the pilot is alight, then operate the second solenoid on the gas valve to let gas pass to the main burner.

Your chap needs to be using a multi-meter to check and diagnose where the process is failing, rather than guessing, as you have made it sound. I am not going to judge him as we only have your version of events to go by.

I also don't understand why you are buying the parts either. Most, if not all parts are available next day to our suppliers, well mine anyway and why would I want the customer to supply the part and lose out on my mark up on the parts?

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:46 am 
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Thanks. That explains things nicely.

I'm getting the feeling that the engineer I've got in is a bit of a jack of all trades. For me, that initial visit that ended with him saying that "it is either the gas valve or the pcb" tells it all I think. As you say, he should be able to diagnose it to the specific area of fault. To say that it is either the gas valve or the pcb is beyond vague and guesswork. He told me that his supplier does not stock parts for this boiler anymore. That left it to me to source the parts for him. He is quite keen to simply replace the boiler and has quoted £2130 to replace it (inc £600 labour and £230 for the flush).

I've spent over £200 already on a gas valve and a refurbed pcb that looks like a waste of money because both parts were probably working fine.

It seems to me that the issue is the opening of that first gas valve solenoid for the pilot to light. I know that the solenoids are fine because it's a new gas valve. There's a reaction when I switch it on and I can hear the sound of the attempt to ignite. That seems to suggest that the thermostat is fine and the issue is possibly with the electrode and/or the pilot burner/injector. I'm sure that the second solenoid and main burner are not engaged at all.

I remember that last year, when I first put the boiler on after a few months of inactivity, it took a few attempts for the pilot burner and then the main burner to fire up. I could hear it clicking and attempting to fire up the pilot and it eventually did fire up. This time, it just keeps clicking away and not firing up the pilot.


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