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Any plumbing experts? (Immersion heater)

(7 Posts)
Vagndidit Mon 08-Oct-12 13:56:21

Sorry if this sounds a bit idiotic...

I need to know if we should be getting hot water from our immersion tank.

Basically...ancient boiler went bust on Friday (plumber says the unit has literally cracked away from the pipes) and left a massive flood of water in the washroom. Water supplies to boiler had to be turned off (to stop flooding),
Bottom line is we need a new boiler---which landlord will have to arrange and pay for hopefully soon but he's on holiday. Meanwhile we are without heating and hot water in the house.

Immersion tank should help in times when boiler isn't working, but I'm not sure if there's any water flowing into the tank. Would I be an idiot to fiddle around with the knobs to find out?

PigletJohn Mon 08-Oct-12 15:23:45

turn on a hot tap. If anything comes out, it is coming from the hot water cylinder, and the hot water cylinder is being refilled from a cold water tank which is most likely in the loft.

If the hot water cylinder has got at electric immersion heater in it, there will be a round plastic cap on the top of the cylinder, with a rubber flex going to a switch on the wall. Just turn the switch on. It may have an indicating neon light.

Vagndidit Mon 08-Oct-12 16:23:24

There is a tiny bit that comes out from the hot tap...only lukewarm water, just a dribble and then nothing.

I'm fairly certain that the immersion heater is on (ugly round thing in bathroom warming cupboard with a lighted switch), but whether it itself is being supplied with water is what I don't know...

bureni Mon 08-Oct-12 16:27:43

If you are unsure of the water supply then do NOT use the immersion heater, is the heater an internal heater (on top of cylinder) or an external type (willis) which is a small external copper cylinder about 14" long located at low level outside the main cylinder?

Naoko Mon 08-Oct-12 16:41:12

That sounds like no water is in the immersion heater. Turn it off, you don't want it heating any water that's not present - we had one in our previous flat that burned itself out like that.

Vagndidit Mon 08-Oct-12 16:53:06

Switched off. Thanks. Looks like the kettle will be working overtime again until the boiler is replaced.

Crossing fingers that LL will resolve the problem soon. Can't get my head about tenant rights and it being "o.k." to leave a family with kids w/o heat and hot water... Another rant for another day.

PigletJohn Mon 08-Oct-12 23:41:09

it is normally possible to use a hot water cylinder with an immersion heater if the boiler is out of action or even missing. This is very common between an old boiler going wrong and a new one being fitted.

I am guessing that someone has turned lots of stop-cocks off to be on the safe side. A plumber or heating engineer should be able to identify what to turn on without water gushing out of the boiler pipes. Most likely, in the loft, you have a large water tank for the loft, and a small one for the boiler. The boiler one can be turned off or tied up. Ask whoever comes to look at the boiler if they will do it.

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