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where can I find a plumbing expert who understands old systems without just wanting to rip them out?

(17 Posts)
WilfSell Mon 18-Aug-08 23:17:42

Because I have a tricky plumbing problem to solve without replacing EVERYTHING in our heating system.

Anyone got a DH (or indeed yerself if you're really modern) working in central UK who knows about a wide bore steel one pipe system that we don't want to replace (just fit a new boiler to)? Think council and public sector plumbing circa 1950s and you/he will have the idea...

Will be very grateful and even consider paying travelling expenses for someone who really isn't an amateur 'rip it all out and put in a cheap combi' kind of guy...

cthea Mon 18-Aug-08 23:30:52

Just curious why you're so attached to those pipes.

WilfSell Mon 18-Aug-08 23:43:11

1. cost! of replacement
2. because they run in the rooms themselves (above/next to the floor/skirting) and because they're steel they hold the heat well, thus acting like mahoosive radiators themselves.
3. Aesthetics. The old radiators are lovely. I quite like the big fat pipes too.

figroll Tue 19-Aug-08 12:07:20

Sounds just like our system - gravity fed with one pipe above the skirting board - very untidy looking, but it works okay.

We had a plumber quote for a sealed boiler(?), just replacing the old and leaving the tank etc up in the loft. So it can be done (- we haven't had it replaced because the old boiler seems fine now.)

(In Birmingham)

WilfSell Tue 19-Aug-08 16:30:00

figroll, do you mind telling me a few more details (CAT me if you want or email wilfsell at gmail dot com if you don't want to post on here)?

Id be really grateful to know what sort of boiler (brand? type?) he suggested, how much he quoted and even - if you rate him - his phone number (Birmingham not too far away)

charleymouse Tue 19-Aug-08 16:46:47

Hi Wilf
FIL has just been told he needs a new boiler(he does) but he will have to have new pipes as well to accomodate this, not exactly sure why. It is to meet current regulations that you have to have a combi boiler fitted now. It may not just be your plumber wanting to 'rip it all out and put in a cheap combi' . FWIW FIL plumber is a friend he was at school with he is 65. grin
Can you not find a combi boiler that will match up to your mahoosive pipes?

WilfSell Tue 19-Aug-08 16:51:47

No sorry - you don't have to have a combi boiler, you do have to have one that meets new efficiency regs, usually a 'condensing' boiler which is a different thing

And you can't fit a combi to wide bore pipes unless it is a very very powerful one because a combi is a pressurised system so it either wouldn't work or you'd need a massive internal pressure to get the heated water round the system.

FAQ Tue 19-Aug-08 16:53:49

Where abouts in Central UK - the guy that does out boiler checks (who is the bloke that our elderly neighbour has been using for years - corgi registered I hasten to add) is very good.

Ours is old - no where near as old as yours - when we first moved in British Gas came and looked at it and told us it either needed replacing or needed a long list of things doing to it..........this bloke came along, serviced it, tweaked a few things and it's stilll going strong (and safe) 4yrs on

islandofsodor Tue 19-Aug-08 16:55:32

Whereabouts are you Wilfsell?

I'd be willing to bet the people in the firm I work for understand the system, it will just be sourcing things that may prove problematic.


lilymolly Tue 19-Aug-08 16:55:43

Hi DP is CORGI Reg plumber and he is about to shout down some answers whilst plumbing my new bathroom suite in grin

Do you mean 15 and 22mm pipe?
If you are asking for a boiler swap- personal advice from dp would be that they can be converted onto a newer boiler but, on a lot of one pipe systems, they could have originally installed a bathroom heat sink radiator which would need to be connected onto the new system but unfortunatly would be impossible to install.
1st thing is to ascertain if this bathroom heat sink radiator is installed

DP says if it was his house he would install the new 2 pipe system- increased efficience and they can be powerflushed (washed out)

I can assure you he is not the "rip it out and install new" type of plumber wink

He is based in Durham unfortunatley but contact a decent plumber for some advice and re post with more questions should you have any.

lilymolly Tue 19-Aug-08 16:57:45

Oh and keep away from British gas they are mega expensive grin

WilfSell Tue 19-Aug-08 17:00:09

sodor, aha, I am in Staffordshire too... Do you want to CAT or email me?

WilfSell Tue 19-Aug-08 21:02:29

BTW lilly molly, pipes are more like 40mm steel!

They were council issue in the 1950s...

islandofsodor Tue 19-Aug-08 21:11:20

I dpn't have CAT so I'll email you.

We are not "cheap" by which I mean not British Gas territory but the one man band plumbers outdo us every time on small domestic jobs but then again they don't have the knowhow for the more specialised/larger jobs stuff do. (This is a royal we by the way I know nothing about plumbing myself but the engineers do!!)

We do a lot of work for councils, schools and hospitals so are reputable.

WilfSell Tue 19-Aug-08 21:13:36

email further down the thread sodor... would be very grateful to hear about your company...

lilymolly Tue 19-Aug-08 21:27:12

DP says not a chance for a condensing boiler because the heat exchange is made of alluminium and this will pick up shards of steel from system and corrode it over a few years.

Again DP says rip it out.

Gas is getting more expensive and you need to have an efficient system. grin

You can get some lovely old fashioned rads btw, they are very expensive but look really nice.
We have them in the living room

charleymouse Wed 20-Aug-08 00:26:59

Sorry Wilfsell I have just had a discussion with DH and I meant "condensing" boiler not combi (my fault not paying attention as dashing off from work to fetch kids). DOH blush However he reckons you do not have to have a condensing boiler but can have an assesment done and you have to meet certain criteria, but he can't remember what they are.

Sorry for confusion.

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