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Anyone knowledgeable about older boilers?

(26 Posts)
Pepperwand Thu 12-Nov-20 19:18:54

I'll preface this with the fact I know nothing about central heating and have only ever bought a new build house with a combi boiler before.

We asked the owner of the house we're buying when their boiler was last serviced and they've come back with this reply

"The boiler was last serviced in February 2018. The circuit board within the boiler was replaced in December 2019 and the pump and Myson Control Valve (in the airing cupboard) were replaced in January this year. Information was provided to my solicitor on this work earlier this year.
The boiler is still the original (1993) and I firmly believe that always having run the heating system with either Fernox/Sentinel inhibitor has helped to keep it going!"

To me that says.... old boiler but they've maintained it ok. Is there anything I'm missing or should know about before I reply to the estate agent?

OP’s posts: |
Beebumble2 Thu 12-Nov-20 22:34:24

I would insist on a service before exchange. Boilers should be serviced annually for safety, let alone repair. That is a very old boiler and probably very inefficient.

Lightsabre Thu 12-Nov-20 22:40:15

You need @Pigletjohn

Eng123 Thu 12-Nov-20 22:52:36

Book a service after you move in. Usually when you can get the board it needs setting up and they would have measured the nox levels when completed in dec 2019. Overall old but looks ok.

PigletJohn Thu 12-Nov-20 23:09:04

It probably has a cast-iron heat exchanger. Some boilers are very durable and can be in good order after 30 years. Potterton Profile, for example.

If the house has one, and a service person who knows how to look after it, there may be no economic benefit in changing it until the time when it breaks down and is beyond economic repair.

I presume there is a red-jacketed or yellow hot water cylinder.

You can reasonably expect that a 30-year old house will need ongoing repairs, maintenance and renewal. This should be allowed for in the purchase price. It should not be a surprise to you.

If you happen to know the make and model of the boiler that might be useful. When you have it serviced or inspected, look for a local person familiar with that model.

TheVanguardSix Thu 12-Nov-20 23:10:22

We just replaced our 30-year-old boiler, OP. It was serviced two years ago. When we went to have it serviced recently, it had to be shut off and labelled dangerous.

Be prepared to put aside £3k to have a new system installed soonish. Just because of its age alone, it will pack up soon.
The thing is, if it needs repairing, the parts won't be there. And you can bet it won't be energy efficient and your bills will be higher because of this.

If you do install a new system, I highly recommend going through the 'Which?' site to find an installer. You can find this under the Which? best boiler recommedations.

TheVanguardSix Thu 12-Nov-20 23:12:25

It probably has a cast-iron heat exchanger. Some boilers are very durable and can be in good order after 30 years. Potterton Profile, for example.

That was actually the boiler we replaced. We got a lot of compliments on it from our plumbers over the years. grin

PickAChew Thu 12-Nov-20 23:23:21

Our old boulder in our last house was in great condition apart from some simple contacts which had eroded and needed taping in place. We replaced it when the hot water tank in our loft decided to soak our bed, one morning.

youkiddingme Thu 12-Nov-20 23:41:44

Our boiler is 15 years old, and every time we have it serviced the heating engineer advises us against changing it. He says that it was built to last, is cheap to maintain, and though slightly less efficient than a new one what we would save in running costs would be more than eaten up by the cost of replacing it. He says modern boilers are cheaper to run but to wrong more and cost more to repair, and won't last as long.

youkiddingme Thu 12-Nov-20 23:42:41

* go wrong more

SnowmanDrinkingSnowballs Thu 12-Nov-20 23:50:50

PickAChew

Our old boulder in our last house was in great condition apart from some simple contacts which had eroded and needed taping in place. We replaced it when the hot water tank in our loft decided to soak our bed, one morning.

Why didn’t you just replace the tank? Surely that was the thing that failed not the boiler.
I have a similar vintage boiler, very efficient if serviced regularly and the people who have serviced it over the years have all said not to replace it as it is a cracking boiler, built to last etc

Anordinarymum Thu 12-Nov-20 23:55:12

I'm an old boiler. What do you want to know ?

thelegohooverer Thu 12-Nov-20 23:59:54

youkiddingme

Our boiler is 15 years old, and every time we have it serviced the heating engineer advises us against changing it. He says that it was built to last, is cheap to maintain, and though slightly less efficient than a new one what we would save in running costs would be more than eaten up by the cost of replacing it. He says modern boilers are cheaper to run but to wrong more and cost more to repair, and won't last as long.

This is exactly what I’ve been told too. Ours is 25 years old.

PigletJohn Fri 13-Nov-20 00:02:16

PickAChew

Our old boulder in our last house was in great condition apart from some simple contacts which had eroded and needed taping in place. We replaced it when the hot water tank in our loft decided to soak our bed, one morning.

that's a dangerous fault, but more likely to be caused by a plumbing fault than the boiler.

PigletJohn Fri 13-Nov-20 00:03:43

Anordinarymum

I'm an old boiler. What do you want to know ?

Do you ever fail to warm up when needed?

Do you need much servicing?

PickAChew Fri 13-Nov-20 00:14:37

@pigletjohn the eroded contacts were in the ignition, which was the weak link. The water tank probably predated the boiler.

BobsKnobs Fri 13-Nov-20 06:33:00

Our boiler was >40 years old when we finally got round to replacing it with a combi. There was nothing really wrong with it, more the shoddy plumbing bodges that were in the loft. So the whole lot was removed.

Pepperwand Fri 13-Nov-20 08:12:36

Thanks everyone, this is helpful. The house does need a lot of work and we were pleased with the purchase price, but will be another thing to add to the list of what repairs etc may need doing.

OP’s posts: |
Pepperwand Fri 13-Nov-20 08:26:19

@PigletJohn do you know what the Fernox/Sentinel inhibitor means? It's another language to me!

OP’s posts: |
Bwlch Fri 13-Nov-20 08:31:17

It probably has a cast-iron heat exchanger. Some boilers are very durable and can be in good order after 30 years. Potterton Profile, for example

Ours is a Potterton. It's nearly 50 years old.

Reedwarbler Fri 13-Nov-20 16:02:10

We had a 40 year old boiler replaced 5 years ago. It was a big old beast but solid and reliable. I felt very disloyal when it was disconnected and chucked out of the door. Modern boilers have none of this longevity (although the one we've got now is a damn sight quieter!)

PigletJohn Fri 13-Nov-20 16:38:57

Pepperwand

*@PigletJohn* do you know what the Fernox/Sentinel inhibitor means? It's another language to me!

he means corrosion inhibitors. Chemicals that are added to the circulating water. They are particularly useful in vented (unpressurised) boilers with a feed and expansion tank in the loft. They reduce the amount of corrosion in the radiators (steel + water + dissolved air) which leaves iron oxide (usually black) that can cause sludge sediment and blockages. When it combines with hard water scale it can go very hard and difficult to remove.

Modern mafnetic system filters are very useful for trapping circulating particles before they can build up into a blockage, but the chemicals that prevent corrosion are also important. They get "used up" over years so it is worthwhile topping up from time to time. A heatingh engineer may be able to test the water to see if it needs additional treatment.

Certain plumbing faults can cause oxygenation of the water which accelerates corrosion, and in these cases, as well as fixing the faults, it is wise to have at least a chemical clean and a magnetic filter to remove the sludge. If neglected, a powerflush may be required which is much more expensive.

Pepperwand Fri 13-Nov-20 19:36:50

Thank you @PigletJohn.

OP’s posts: |
Pepperwand Sun 22-Nov-20 12:30:24

We've found out the make, it is a potterton.

OP’s posts: |
XingMing Sun 22-Nov-20 17:39:00

We moved in here 25 years ago and had our central heating installed. Boilers have changed a lot since then and we have periodically asked our plumbers whether the time is right to replace our Bosch Worcester boiler for something more energy efficient. Every few years we've asked the question, the response has been the same. It's not as efficient as a modern boiler, but by the time you've bought a new boiler and done the installation, it will take a minimum of 6 years before you save any money, so wait until something goes wrong and it cannot be fixed.

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