Electric Powered Hot Water Cylinder - Clock Broken

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Electric Powered Hot Water Cylinder - Clock Broken

Post by briss » Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:04 pm

I have a hot water tank supplying just one bathroom. It's separate to the boiler and hot water tank which serves the rest of the house. It's a very old property (see picture showing vintage clock timer!).

The tank has recently stopped heating water.

British Gas came out because we have Homecare, but they said it's not in their remit as it's electric (even though we have the all bells and whistles cover including electric).

They changed the fuse which had blown on the switch and reckoned it was the clock which had stopped working (and probably blown the fuse when it broke). The clock had sparks coming off it when he tried to test it!

The heating engineer mentioned that it does have a thermal cut out, so maybe doesn't need a timer clock at all?

What is my best option for getting this tank working again? It's far from the rest of the system, so putting it on the main boiler connected hot water tank isn't an option.

Therefore it needs to stay electric. Is there an energy efficient way to heat this tank for just one bathroom, without spending a fortune?

Thanks
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Electric powered hot water cylinder with very vintage (and now broken) clock timer.
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Re: Electric Powered Hot Water Cylinder - Clock Broken

Post by wine~o » Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:07 pm

Immersion heaters are normally fed from a 16 Amp radial direct from the consumer unit (15A if an old wired board) You seem to have a Fused unit supplying the clock then on to the immersion heater itself.

Can you confirm that the immersion is on its own radial for starters ?
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Re: Electric Powered Hot Water Cylinder - Clock Broken

Post by someone-else » Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:28 pm

That is a sangamo timeswitch you have there, one of the best makes ever. I would suspect the heating element has failed, not the time switch.

If you feel confident you could disconnect the immersion heater, change the fuse (again) and leave the timer running and see does its time change?
If you look around the edge you will see a small arrow pointing inward with the word TIME on it, this is used to set the correct time. If the timer is working it will move (very slowly) past this point
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Re: Electric Powered Hot Water Cylinder - Clock Broken

Post by arco_iris » Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:44 pm

That is a Sangamo mechanical timeswitch - probably dating from the 1980's, probably an S254 - and amazingly, they are still available, manufactured in Britain. It is known as an RPTS, Round Pattern Time Switch, see their website!

Spares may be available in the unlikely event that you wanted to keep it, no solid-state electronics in there!

But there are more modern alternatives (that won't last as long as this one has). As for energy efficiency, that is determined by the element and thermostat in the tank, not this switch. The only way a switch could help is by using it to restrict the times that the element is operational.

Answer wine~o's question first.

For once in his life, s-e typed faster than me, but I was watching tv at the same time!
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Re: Electric Powered Hot Water Cylinder - Clock Broken

Post by someone-else » Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:33 pm

arco_iris wrote:For once in his life, s-e typed faster than me, but I was watching tv at the same time!
:lol:
Fret not, a forum is a collection of opinions. Above, are mine.

Which is correct? Metre or Meter? Click the link to find out more.

Working on anything electrical? have you got a multi meter? why not? Would you hit a nail with a shoe?

If gloom had a voice, it would be me. :mrgreen:

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Re: Electric Powered Hot Water Cylinder - Clock Broken

Post by briss » Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:00 pm

wine~o wrote: Can you confirm that the immersion is on its own radial for starters ?
Do you mean if it's on it's own circuit/switch on the fuse board?

I can check next week when I'm there.

It's actually my mum's place.

1980s... so it could be older than me! Don't make em like they used to I guess :lol:
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Re: Electric Powered Hot Water Cylinder - Clock Broken

Post by briss » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:44 am

Is this the sort of thing that would be a direct replacement for the timer?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/masterplug-Dig ... 074277H2Z/

What sort of money are we talking to get an electrician to replace it?
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Re: Electric Powered Hot Water Cylinder - Clock Broken

Post by wine~o » Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:08 pm

Yes that will be a suitable replacement, from the sound of it the actual immersion heater element needs replacing as well, a decent handyman will be able to sort both, as would a plumber.

As to how much ???? depends

If it were me locally, I'd be looking at £50-60 labour plus parts (alloy immersion element around £20/25,) I'd also want to replace the cable from the timer to the immersion as that looks iffy.


EDIT. as you have Homeserve they should be doing the work. Give customer services a call coz so far they have fobbed you off.
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Re: Electric Powered Hot Water Cylinder - Clock Broken

Post by ericmark » Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:09 pm

It is very unlikely that time switch would cause a short circuit, the winding wires for the clock are thinner than the wires in the fuse so it would likely burn open circuit well before it would blow a fuse.

Also simply turning is around the contacts will still make and break so even if faulty you can still turn the immersion heater on, I would guess the sparking you can see is from the contacts as they break.

The thermal cut out is for when the thermostat fails, it is to prevent the water boiling. With some they are re-settable others once they fail they need replacing, if only the immersion to heat water then non-re-settable is used, if there is a second source of heating then re-settable type is used, and a non thermal plastic header tank.

I think most likely is the immersion heater has failed. Specially if you live in a hard water area. However normally the RCD trips before the fuse ruptures, I would have expected British Gas HomeCare guy to have tested that, as it is potentially dangerous if any earth gets disconnected.
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Re: Electric Powered Hot Water Cylinder - Clock Broken

Post by briss » Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:14 pm

wine~o wrote:Yes that will be a suitable replacement, from the sound of it the actual immersion heater element needs replacing as well, a decent handyman will be able to sort both, as would a plumber.

As to how much ???? depends

If it were me locally, I'd be looking at £50-60 labour plus parts (alloy immersion element around £20/25,) I'd also want to replace the cable from the timer to the immersion as that looks iffy.


EDIT. as you have Homeserve they should be doing the work. Give customer services a call coz so far they have fobbed you off.
Thanks for the info.

I'm guessing you're not local (South East). I don't think I've ever managed to get someone to come round to do anything for less than £100 labour (even if it's less than an hour job).

Homecare say it's not covered because it's a "second cylinder" and they only cover one. Their excess to come out is £60 per fault anyway.

Does it all need to be drained if the element needs changing?
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Re: Electric Powered Hot Water Cylinder - Clock Broken

Post by wine~o » Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:26 pm

You'll need to drain down to just below the boss (the part where the immersion element screws in) You should find there is a gate valve on the supply from the cold water storage tank (the supply pipe goes to the bottom of the cylinder) there should be a drain off cock a te bottom of the cylinder, about a bucketful should be enough.
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Re: Electric Powered Hot Water Cylinder - Clock Broken

Post by briss » Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:58 am

As usual it's proving impossible to find anyone to do this work. I've contacted all the nearby electricians on Checkatrade. The ones I get a response from are too busy. The one that did show an interest said "will need a plumber to remove existing immersion as he will need to use a blow torch to remove the old one, otherwise it could split the cylinder". I can't see myself getting change out of £400 even if I do find someone willing to do the work.

That's pretty standard round here, for decades all the kids have been sent to uni to do media studies, so the few trades that do exist are always booked up for months ahead.

Is it true that I'll need a plumber and an electrician for this job? If it involves a blow torch and possible cracked cylinder in the process, then I'm certain no one is gonna want this job.
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Re: Electric Powered Hot Water Cylinder - Clock Broken

Post by arco_iris » Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:10 pm

Whilst a qualified electrician tradesman only does electrics, not plumbing, and a plumber tradesman won't touch them, I'm sure there are plenty of handymen, on this forum (as you can tell) & more out there, who would tackle this job. Including me, I don't do it for a living but have over 40 years DIY experience & maintain my own property portfolio.

Forget checkatrade (except maybe to look for 'handy man") and look in the classified adverts section of your local newspaper for a general handyman (or woman, these days) and speak to them. They'll be cheaper than a dedicated tradesperson, more readily available & just as capable, a good one will be able to give you a reference to somebody they've done a similar job for.

The one thing arising on this thread that you should discuss with them is how they intend to remove the immersion heater and what is going to happen if they split the tank. Be prepared to have them replace the tank at your expense if necessary (but it really shouldn't be).

What part of the south east are you in, where all the kids get sent to uni?
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Re: Electric Powered Hot Water Cylinder - Clock Broken

Post by briss » Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:05 pm

Suburbs of Greater London, near Caterham.

Thanks for the advice. Won't I need an electrical certificate for when it's sold? (it's my mums property and I'm hoping she will downsize in the not too distant future, so I need to ensure I get all the right paperwork for things I get done now).
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Re: Electric Powered Hot Water Cylinder - Clock Broken

Post by wine~o » Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:22 pm

No need for any kind of certificate as it's basically a "like for like" replacement, cert only needed if extending/altering a circuit or adding a new one.

Your electrician obviously doesn't fancy the job, I've done 50 + immersion replacements and never had to use heat or had a split cylinder ( handy tip, crack open the joint before any draining down, the water in the tank helps stop the very thin copper tank from splitting)

Arco is about right, however most plumbers I've known are more than capable of wiring in a timer, after all there are only 3 cores going in (live. neutral earth) and 3 out... (switched live, neutral earth)

Get a quote from a couple of plumbers (note gas safe heating engineers will be double the price for labour) and a couple of quotes from Handymen/women. If the price seems too low then it probably is.

Given your location I would expect any local guy to be double the price of what I charge in rural Dorset.

Finally if you really can't find some-one come back, we can talk you through the job, you'll need to buy a few tools but they won't be hugely expensive.
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