What's reasonable to expect re boiler?

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    What's reasonable to expect re boiler?

    I've been renting a 19th century cottage for about 6 months now. In the last couple of months, the bath taps have gone from intermittently providing hot water to providing only lukewarm water for a couple of minutes then going to cold. I can get hot water out of the kitchen sink and bathroom basin taps fine, so have been filling the bath with buckets from the sink, but obviously it's not ideal. Heating works fine. I contacted the landlord about this a month ago, they do most repairs themselves so came out to have a look and agreed with me the hot water situation wasn't good enough. They thought they probably needed a new boiler. So 3 plumbers have come out to quote and it turns out it's going to be a very expensive job that will involve lifting floorboards to improve the gas supply, not sure quite how. The problem seems to be the gas pressure coming into the boiler is not high enough but there are also issues with the flue being too close to the window or something like that. Landlord has gone very quiet for 2 weeks so I guess is figuring out what to do. Will they do work involving lifting floorboards (in my bedroom) with us living here, or will I have to temporarily move out? If they can't afford the expense, where do I stand? Is it reasonable to have to fill a bath with buckets from the kitchen sink long term? Could I ask for a power shower or would that not help?

    #2
    Seems like a strange issue where the bath taps by the sounds of it has an issue, does the bath have a thermostatic valve or cartridge, as I would suspect this is the real issue and not with the boiler if the rest of the taps have hot water. Surprising the plumbers didn't pick up on it. What type of boiler (combi?).

    You should contact the LL and ask for an update and time frame on when the works will be carried out. Having open communication is always a good way. You can also suggest having a electric shower installed as a compromise, but doesn't avoid the underlying issue (if it's with the boiler etc).

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      #3
      It's a combi boiler, a Baxi, about 10 years old. I had assumed a bath taps issue when I called the landlord but he seemed pretty certain it was the boiler. The plumbers who came in only quoted for replacing the boiler and didn't look at the taps, as far as I know.

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        #4
        A combi boiler, would not discriminate between a bathroom tap and a bathroom sink as to which temperature they would require, if there is a problem with the boiler, it would affect all taps in the same way.

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          #5
          If the intended replacement is a high-output combi it may require a 22mm supply pipe (they burn a lot of gas!), and floors may need to be lifted to replace old 1/2" pipes. My plumber insisted on fitting 22mm pipe from the meter to the branch between the boiler and gas cooker, even though the supply to the meter is only 1/2" (15mm).

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            #6
            Originally posted by ash72 View Post
            A combi boiler, would not discriminate between a bathroom tap and a bathroom sink as to which temperature they would require, if there is a problem with the boiler, it would affect all taps in the same way.
            The problem might be water pressure, rather than gas pressure. If there is only limited pressure from the main, and the bath tap is piped on 3/4" pipe, there may be insufficient pressure in the boiler, which cuts out when the bath tap is fully open. Running a bath slowly would establish whether that is the issue.

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              #7
              I understood the issue to be temperature related not flow rate/ pressure.

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                #8
                I suspect that the problem has been misdiagnosed and it would be worth asking a plumber to look at the actual problem (why no hot water is coming out of one tap) not to quote for the "solution" (a new boiler).
                When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

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                  #9
                  I agree with the above
                  • I presume it has been satisfactory previously
                  • hot water out of some taps but not others suggests it is a problem with the bath plumbing, not the boiler (but it is possible that the bath flow is different to the other taps and some boiler fault has developed).
                  • If there is a thermostatic tap on the bath, then it is likely to be this (possibly scale is causing a problem; my thermostatic valve instructions say to descale once a year).
                  • It is silly to tell plumbers what the solution is rather than what the problem is.

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                    #10
                    Lots of water comes out of a bath tap. Not so much water comes out of a sink tap. The water gets heated in the boiler and goes to the taps. The fast flow out of the bath tap means the water is spending less time getting heated so is cooler than the sink tap water which has a slower flow. You might need to run the bath tap slower.

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                      #11
                      As an ex plumber, try this first:-
                      1 reduce the hot fill flow to the bath, if that's ok then it could be the boiler is under sized or No 4 or No 5 below. You can purchase a WATER FLOW CUP
                      quite cheap and test the flow rate, then check against the boiler manufactures data


                      2 If the taps are very old and is a mixer tap, then there could be a washer / jumper problem. Take the top of the tap off (turn the water off first) and re-washer the taps.
                      3 If its the temperature sensor in the boiler, they are very cheap and very easy to change. But be aware you should have it done by an appropriate qualified person.
                      4 It is not unknown that when a boiler has been installed the gas pipe has been under sized, Generally the pipe should be 22mm with only about the last 2m being 15mm
                      5 Also the meter may be under performing due to dirt inside. That's the gas company's job
                      Best of luck

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by banner257 View Post
                        As an ex plumber,
                        is there such a thing .....

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by MisterB View Post

                          is there such a thing .....
                          Yes that's me! I still have my original certificate for the Worshipful Company Plumbers and my registered Plumber certificate, even took my Advanced City of Guilds. and was A Fellow member of the IOP. Please no age jokes.

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                            #14
                            The boiler has worked in the past so while the gas pipes may be undersized that is not the cause of the current problem. I have seen these symptoms on several boilers and it has always been the secondary heat exchanger that was at fault. Many plumbers do not have the knowledge of how to test if it is the heat exchanger and if they see it's an older boiler will just say a new one is needed.

                            New high output boilers can require larger gas pipes depending on the length of the run and the number of bends. Replacing the gas pipes under floorboards should only take a few hours so you shouldn't have to move out while it is done.

                            If you are happy with a power shower it may save the landlord money in the short term but a heavy duty electrical supply would need to be run from the consumer unit and it probably a matter of time before the hot water output at the sink and basin become unusable and the boiler problem needs to be addressed.

                            If I was your LL I would contact Baxi about a fixed price one off repair, but that isn't your problem and a new boiler will probably be cheaper for you to run and give a faster water delivery to the bath.

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                              #15
                              I've had a similar problem with quotes for replacing an old boiler - very expensive quote because I'm told the regulations now require a new 22mm pipe to the boiler. The boiler still works so it wont be done yet.

                              Not expert enough to suggest a fault but you did say " taps" so presumably not a thermostatic mixer.

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