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Building regs and thermostats and duff boilers - were we taken for a ride?

(9 Posts)
Gentleness Mon 01-Oct-12 21:29:32

Sorry so long - spot the anxiety!

We really liked our builder - did a pretty good job of building an extension for a new kitchen at a pretty good cost and was helpful and clear almost always. But some of the people he worked with might have taken advantage and I'd like some advice before approaching them to question what they did.

The plumber/heating engineer tried to move our boiler (a very basic combi) and it died on him. Queue some anxiety on our part - we'd gone over budget on several areas already and a boiler size extra cost was scary. So he found one (an Ideal) for us on offer, "good price, good little boiler," - you know the routine! We were staying with friends while the work was ongoing, I was in early pregnancy and it wasn't looking good (lost it a few days later) and VERY unusually, I didn't research the make & model to the nth degree - just glad that he found something for £700 when we'd thought it might be £1k. We didn't get a room thermostat fitted as we'd gone over budget so much already. This was 2 years ago. The boiler has been a little temperamental and just over the last 3 weeks, it has starting switching the central heating on all by itself. the radiators get super hot despite their thermostat setting and the hot water is dangerously hot when this happens, regardless of the temperature setting on the boiler itself. It's a bit frightening with toddlers and I've been wondering whether that level of heat generation is safe!

We got a heating engineer out to check it out, fix it and to price up getting a room thermostat instead of the individual radiator ones. He has told us that a) the boiler is rubbish - cheaply made, the circuit board (I know this is the wrong word!) is likely to go over the next year or so and will cost £2-300 and we'd be best getting a contract service plan to maintain something of this low quality from a big company (so doing himself out of a job). And b) that building regs say there should be a room thermostat already, fitted at the same time as the new boiler. I don't recall any mention of this (but accept I was rather distracted at the time) and we don't have one, and building regs were signed off by the plumber.

Given that it'll cost £2-300 to get the extra part that stops the pre-heat function on our current boiler, which is what this heating engineer says is causing the strange switch on of central heating, and then another big cost in maybe another year, we're pretty fed up. We thought we were avoiding future outlay and upheaval by replacing the boiler when we did. So dh is wondering if we should just replace this boiler with something better fit for purpose anyway. We're planning to be here another 5ish years, so it may be worth it.

Anyone with any know-how or advice?

tricot39 Mon 01-Oct-12 22:40:45

You should get in touch with the builder (if he was the one you paid for the plumbing) and report the problem. See what he says and how it matches with the report you have had. Make retrospective notes about past events and the plumber's visit. Make good notes of future visits and phone calls.

You should have had a thermostat for building regs.

You should expect a boiler to last more than 2 years. If you are lucky the manufacturer's warranty might cover it...

PigletJohn Tue 02-Oct-12 01:00:00

I agree a room stat is a very good thing to have, and is very simple to connect. You can get a basic one for about £15 but may have a complicated route for the cable it will need into your main living room.

A better, programmable stat, or a wireless one, might cost £80-£100 plus fitting.

However, heating engineers tell me that TRVs on all rads plus a bypass on the boiler meet the energy-saving requirements. There are different opinions on the best method of controls.

From what you say I suspect the boiler thermostat has failed and it is going over its heat setting. That should not be a complicated fix.

When you say We didn't get a room thermostat fitted as we'd gone over budget so much already. do you mean that you, the customer, decided not to have one?

Gentleness Tue 02-Oct-12 09:26:04


We asked how much it would cost to fit one (wireless as we'd just had replastering done) and decided as it was an avoidable cost, we'd avoid it. If we'd had to have it, we would have.

Would the thermostat be responsible for turning the heating on in the first place or just how hot it gets?

PigletJohn Tue 02-Oct-12 09:44:27

as there is no room stat, the heating will switch on whenever the timer tells it to.

You have got a timer, haven't you?

Gentleness Tue 02-Oct-12 10:25:37

Yes, but the heating is permanently off right now. We won't be putting on timer while it's still warm enough to manage without. I just put it on manually for a couple of hours if it is a really cold evening. We're so frugal with it that it is pretty irritating to come home from a day out and find the heating belting out top temperatures and we don't know how low long for.

PigletJohn Tue 02-Oct-12 11:18:03

you haven't got a hot-water cylinder, have you?

Gentleness Tue 02-Oct-12 11:37:50

Nope - just the condensing boiler.

Gentleness Tue 02-Oct-12 11:39:23

It does this pre-heat function mainly for the hot water from what I can tell and we can do what seemed to be entirely different settings for CH and HW.

(Thanks btw!)

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