Doing our bit for the planet

We had a new gas boiler installed today. The old Vulcan it replaced was simple and reliable but it sent a lot of heat up the flue (more on the flue later). It also heated up the cellar which did at least give us a laundry drying room.

The hot water storage cylinder in the loft also got replaced – with one encased in foam lagging so we no longer have to have a pile of old blankets and duvets on top of it.

The flue was attached to the back of the house and ran right up beyond the eaves. Being made of asbestos, a specialist team was needed to take it down safely. On Monday they took one look at it and refused to go up on a ladder. So a team came yesterday and spent several hours putting up scaffolding, although they couldn’t see why the job could not have been done from a ladder.

I felt the same, but the contractor was paying the extra cost so it didn’t make much difference to me. However, I was annoyed to find that the scaffolders took it upon themselves to partially dismantle the asbestos flue in order to avoid having to build a higher scaffold. So,

  • they did not do what they were paid for, and
  • decided they could do a job for which a professional asbestos removal firm had been specified by the surveyor.

They cheerfully declared that they had found an asbsetos warning label when they pulled off the cowl and top section.

The asbestos men returned this morning and had the lot down and in the back of their van within an hour. The plumbers cracked on too, and by 2.00 pm the new boiler (a Baxi Solo 24 HE) was running. The first thing I noticed was that the flue (now only about 40 cm from the ground) sent out plumes of warm steam. “That’s normal.” I was told. So much for efficiency! The old one didn’t do that.

The other counter-intuitive thing was that they replaced the thermostatic radiator valve in the hall with a non-thermostatic one. The logic is (according to the Regulations) that all parts of the system must be under thermostatic control. So the boiler itself is controlled overall, based on the air temperature in the room which has the most air changes (ie the hall). A wireless hall thermostat is to be fitted on Monday when the electrician arrives.

People always quote the efficiency of condensing boilers as 95%-plus, but I have read that it all depends on whether condensing is actually occurring. As I understand it, if the water circulating around the radiators returns to the boiler too warm, then the water vapour in the exhaust gases cannot condense. This would occur if the boiler output is too high for the requirements of the house, or if it is a mild day, or if most of the radiators are calling for little or no heat.

Anyway, we shall see. Our gas bills were quite high and I am hoping that the cavity wall insulation, extra loft lagging and new boiler we have had installed this year will bring them right down – and maybe save a polar bear or two.

One thought on “Doing our bit for the planet

  1. The hall radiator was belting out heat yesterday, so I decided to turn it down. It was then I discovered that the thermostatic radiator valve has been replaced with a fixed cap. You cannot turn it down!

    I don’t beleeeve it!!

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