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Boiler/Heating Woes

(5 Posts)
sparklysnowflake Tue 30-Dec-14 08:13:41

Just posting in case anyone has any genius ideas! Okay, the backstory... we bought a 1930's house in August that we knew needed some work doing - the boiler was functioning (and had been serviced in the year prior to us buying it) but just from looking it was pretty evident that it was on its last legs and would probably need replacing within the first year. (Naively we were hoping to get through winter with it, then replace it in the spring as we're still dealing with all the unseen issues the house came with!)

Anyway - we moved in to find that the only way to get hot water for showers etc is to have the heating on. Previous householder had all radiators turned off and had clearly been just turning the heating on to get hot water. We still don't understand this system. Plumber friend who came out was pretty confused by it all (there are 'more pipes than the titanic' in the garage was how my OH's Dad described it, it's really not a simple system! To get us hot water for showers he ended up fitting an immersion heater into the tank in the loft (that has since stopped working...)

We had the problem a couple of times when pressure dropped overnight on particuarly cold nights. Googled it and found that's a fairly common thing which didn't seem particularly worrying. Aside from that we'd been pottering on quite happily - you clicked heating on, heating would come on, hot water would warm in tank upstairs as a result. Since it's winter and we're using the heating, it's really not been a problem

Anyway, the current issue is this...

On Christmas Day we went out to visit family and forgot to click heating off (which is another issue - the programmer doesn't work so we have to manually click on and off) and heating was probably on from 8am until about 10pm at night, the longest we've ever left it on. House was baking hot when we came home - not sure if this constant use might have done something to it.

On Boxing Day the pressure had dropped again so heating wouldn't click on in the morning. OH topped up the pressure. After that, when we put the heating on only the radiators upstairs worked, not the ones downstairs (and randomly, the hot water tank in the loft didn't heat up, despite hot water clearly going upstairs). We googled it and thought it might be the pump failing (boiler seemed quieter to me too). We got a friend who services boilers for a living to come and take a quick look at the pump - he only did a flying visit as it was Boxing Day, but said the pump was fine. He turned the pump up to a higher setting, suggested bleeding radiators and said to keep an eye on it. OH bled radiators which didn't do anything (except snap the radiator key!).

We did figure out that when we turned the upstairs radiators off, the downstairs radiators (and the hot water tank in the loft) would heat up, so we've been getting by with that!

This morning we got up to find pressure had dropped overnight again, and despite topping up hardly any radiators are heating up (bizarrely one that's turned off is getting warm) and no warm water for a shower. Thankfully we have a gas fire in the living room so it's not utterly arctic, and we can get the immersion heater fixed for hot water for showering but obviously we can't carry on like this long-term!

We have someone coming round this morning to take a look at it all - does anyone have any really good ideas of specific things I should ask him to try doing? I still think it's associated with topping up the pressure (both times recently it's got worse) but OH thinks it's something else. We're looking into the Green Deal for a new boiler in the new year, but we reeeeeeally need to get another few months of life out of this system in the meantime... Any ideas would be gratefully received, this is our first house and we're just making it all up as we go along!!!

wowfudge Tue 30-Dec-14 09:03:06

Not sure this is particularly helpful, but I think you need one person who knows their stuff to sort it all out. Instead of piecemeal attempts to address the issues separately.

Hopefully the engineer coming out today will be able to do that for you.

wowfudge Tue 30-Dec-14 09:04:45

You need to tell him everything that has happened and what has been done so far to try to fix it. Just tell him and let him use his knowledge and experience to fix things.

sparklysnowflake Tue 30-Dec-14 09:10:00

Thanks wowfudge - I do understand that, as I say we're just trying to keep it limping through the next few months before we can afford to replace it!

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 30-Dec-14 09:32:54

Flow energy are rolling out a boiler that generates electric when it's burning gas in Jan, it might be worth a google.

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