Plumbing help needed

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by shodan, May 2, 2007.

  1. shodan

    shodan
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    Any plumbers / central heating / home hot water / master DIY'er experts out there?

    I don't know a great deal about this stuff so I'll just give some details and the symptoms as know them...


    The house has a water tank / immersion heater thing (big cylinder thing in a little cupboard) which as far as I can tell handles the hot water for the taps.
    there is also a combi boiler which seems to only jump into life when the central heating is on. Its for that reason that believe the immersion heater does the hot water.

    Anyways due to the hot weather the central heating has been turned completely off from the timer. Well I guess more acurately, the timer is set to not come on at all so the heating doesn't come on.

    But since that, I've not really had an hot water from the taps. Its not freezing cold, as cold as the cold tap water but its not warm and doesn't make for nice showers or shaving. It seems that sometimes the water is hot enough, but its certainly not a case of turn the tap (or shower) on and voila, hot water. It can take ten minutes for the water to warm up sufficiently.

    From the immersion tank was a two way lever, one position is central heating, the opposite is hot water. The lever was set to the middle but now I've moved it to Hot Water, but it doesn't seem to have changed anything....

    From the plumbing from the cylinder is a electric water pump which I think feeds to the combi boiler.

    Thanks in advance folks!!!
     
  2. metropolis

    metropolis
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    are you sure its a combi boiler ? what is the make and model
     
  3. John

    John
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    Combi boilers don't normally have a tank , the idea is that you heat water while you use it . What make and model is it ?

    In the meantime , does the tank have a cable coming from it , somewhere near the top ? if so you could possibly follow it to a switch , which will turn on the electric heating element , But only have it on for as long as necessary , your leccy bill will rocket . Its like boiling a kettle , without the auto turn off

    John
     
  4. shodan

    shodan
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    Yeah it is a bit odd! There is a fused switch in the airing cupboard which has been on for as long as I've lived here (since 21st december last year). There is one cable from it, which goes to the central heating timer. Another two cables from the timer to the water pump and the combi boiler. There doesn't appear to be any cables from the cylinder.

    Must re-iterate the point tha is confusing me most. There was no problem till I stopped using the central heating. Apart from I'm not using that, nothing else has changed or been changed (to my knowledge!).
     
  5. njp

    njp
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    You've presented a lot of conflicting information. If it's a combi-boiler, you wouldn't need a hot water tank. And why does the water warm up after ten minutes?

    If you hadn't said those things, I would have assumed that you have a conventional boiler and the thing with a two way lever is a mid position valve (diverter). This is a motorised valve to control the flow of hot water from the boiler to either the radiators or the hot water cylinder, or both, depending on which system is calling for heat. That in turn depends on thermostats (is there one on the cylinder?) and on the timer controls. Does your controller have a seperate setting for hot water?

    In summary: check cylinder thermostat and timer controls first. If they are in order, you may have a faulty diverter valve.
     
  6. blitzed

    blitzed
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    to me it sound like you have an old servo warm system.
    was the lever thing a manual control (looks like a round cylindrical thing with lever sticking out sometimes has red and yellow on it).?
     
  7. shodan

    shodan
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    yep, thats the one, exactly as you've described!

    njp, I know there is a lot of contradictions there and I know I should have one or the other, would normally by the combi boiler. In the future I'm looking at getting rid of the cylinder to knock the cupboard out as it in the kitchen, taking up a lot of room! Could you explain to me how to check the cylinder thermostat please?
     
  8. njp

    njp
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    I think I'll defer to blitzed's greater knowledge. Manual 3 port valves are beyond my experience!
     
  9. blitzed

    blitzed
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    have u tried moving the lever to hot water only and turning the timer on?
    this will divert hot water from boiler flow and return circuit to the h/w cylinder only
    ed
     
  10. shodan

    shodan
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    I've had a fight with it and managed to move it over to hot water only (it was stuck though, not been moved for ages).

    When you say turn the timer on do you mean activate the central heating for a while? Its cold upstairs so I could do that now for 30 mins or so. I'm not sure I understand your last sentence, but then I don't understand how a lot of thins wrk, I'm just happy when they do!
     
  11. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    Spot on that sounds just like what he's got, we had one when we moved into our last house 17 years ago and it didn't work properly then, exactly the same symptoms Shodan has. I stripped out all the Servowarm manual rubbish (that was much touted as being reliable :rolleyes: ) and put in a proper electrically controlled valve and thermostat for the house and cylinder. It was still working fine when we left 10 years later.

    It sounds to me as if someone who thought they knew what they were doing has fiddled with it to try and improve/mend it without knowing what they were doing. As such you may have inherited a nightmare Shodan. Can you post any photos of wiring etc?

    Dave
     
  12. shodan

    shodan
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    what wiring? There really isn't any! the only wires in the cupboard are the one's I've mentioned above. Got me worried now in case there is other wires that I can't see or that are missing!!!!!
     
  13. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    If you cranked it over to hot water you shouldn't heat any radiators at all, and if you do it's broke :(


    Yes, turn the boiler on (manual overide the timer?) and just see if the pump vibrates at all and if any pipes in the airing cupboard get warm.

    Dave
     
  14. shodan

    shodan
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    will do, stand by!
     
  15. shodan

    shodan
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    ok, the valve selector is set to hot water. the central heating timer is set to 24hours. When I did this, I heard the combi burst into life. The pipes FROM the cylinder are hot to the touch, to and from the valve selector are hot too. Hot water from the tap is warmer than it was, but not hot and still not shower tempreture. Do you think it'll get hotter if I give it some time? Can the system be left in this configuration?
     
  16. blitzed

    blitzed
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    yeh will take at least 20 mins all rads should stay cold.
    you need to get that system updated with either a y plan system or s plan system
    ed
    if your planning to update the system though a combi boiler will replace all this.
    your boiler at moment is conventional
     
  17. shodan

    shodan
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    Ah yes, the good old Y plan system... (did I sound like I knew what I was tlaking about? Hee hee hee!). The combi does look old to me so could probably do with being changed...
    Do you have any idea's on how much it would cost to get rid of the cylinder and upgrade the combi and some of the tattier looing pipes? Is it one days work? I know someone who could do it for me (I'd be helping, or attempting to) so its just the cost of the supplies...
     
  18. blitzed

    blitzed
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    No disrespect but all work relating to changing boiler etc should only be carried out by Corgi reg'd engineer and it's notifiable to local council(building regs)
    but you'd be looking at least 2 days work £800 min
    ed
     
  19. shodan

    shodan
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    Ah, good shout! I forgot about that! Well, family member is a proper plumber.. I'm sure I could chat him up to do it for me if I got the parts...
    So what do you think is the problem then and is it safe to leave the system as it is? Or should I turn off the timer after a little while (as the combi is in full swing) and it'll all be ok from now on? Or until winter...

    Sorry for all the questions, but whilst I've got your attention... ;-)
     
  20. blitzed

    blitzed
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    Theres really nothing wrong with the system as such , its just you've have no control over the system every thing has to be done manually,
    easiest thing to do would be to get your mate to remove the manual valve and install a mid position valve with room stat and cylinder stat to control your heating and hot water as you need it.

    Honeywell do an easy fit system replacing the all the controls.

    With regards to leaving the boiler(timer) running id only leave it for 45mins to an hour tops. boiler should cut out on its thermostat when it reaches a set temp but not seeing the system i couldnt comment that well on it.

    That manual valve is designed to be moved treat it like a simple summer - winter switch(summer = hot water only, Winter hot water and heating)
     
  21. shodan

    shodan
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    Blitzed, you are a genius and a legend! Thank you so much for your help and advice today! I now have bloody hot water! Do you think it'll be fine from now on? I'll defo take your advice about the easy fit control system replacement. Well, I'll google for it and try to find one!!!!
     
  22. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    We seem to have a good tag team going Blitzed :)
    Only Shodan didn't seem to notice :rotfl:
     
  23. shodan

    shodan
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    Sorry mate, you are absolutely right!! I apologise and massive thanks to you too! Sorry, I've been running all over the place trying to get it sorted! Cheers IronGiant and blitzed!
     
  24. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    No worries Shodan :thumbsup:

    Your hot water will be fine for the summer, but it's not the cheapest way to do it. get your cousin in ASAP. Or blizted, because he may be a professional, and I'm not :)

    Dave
     
  25. njp

    njp
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    I'm glad the thread has achieved a resolution. But can someone please explain how, given that the boiler was (apparently) switched off, this can be true:

    Or was the warmth just wishful thinking on Shodan's part? Could be a real money-saver!
     
  26. shodan

    shodan
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    The water was definately luke warm. I'm comparing it to how cold the cold water comes out and it was several degree's above that. Well I managed to shower in it without giving myself brain freeze or hyperthermia!!!
     
  27. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    Those servowarm systems were completely dependent on the thermostat in the boiler for controlling the temperature of the hot water, so if the manual valve was faulty/stuck and hardly any water was circulating through the cistern the boiler would shut down when it got to temperature, but before the water in the cistern got more than luke warm. So the answer is the boiler must have been on but was rarely switching on once it wasn't circulating hot water to the radiators. Circulating water to the radiators would have kept the temperature down at the boiler allowing it to run long enough to also heat the water up.
     
  28. njp

    njp
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    Perhaps you should just unlag your hot water cylinder so that the water reaches room temperature more quickly. Think of the money you'll save!
     
  29. blitzed

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  30. shodan

    shodan
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    Once again blitzed, thank you very very much! That link is excellent and incredibly usefull. I shall do some googling and try to learn as much about this stuff as i can...
     

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