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    • Hopetobedebtfree
    • By Hopetobedebtfree 7th Jun 17, 12:01 AM
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    Hopetobedebtfree
    Boiler question - Losing deposit
    • #1
    • 7th Jun 17, 12:01 AM
    Boiler question - Losing deposit 7th Jun 17 at 12:01 AM
    Hi, I'm in desperate need of some advice. My partner and I have just bought our first home- moved from a rental property. We are waiting for our 2k deposit back from our previous landlord. He has told us that he needs to deduct 1k if a boiler repair. The boiler is not tested in the check out report however he claims we switched it off at the mains before leaving. We absolutely did not however pictures from the check out report show that there was no light at the mains indicating it was indeed switched off. This leaves it being either our end of tenancy cleaners or the check our agent (unsurprisingly both are denying this). The landlord claims that a heating engineer has confirmed that the switching off at the mains caused the pump to seize! This doesn't seem right to me. We simply can't afford to lose this money! Any plumbers (or anyone) got any advice on this? The deposit is protected and in terms of timescales etc the landlord has been above board- that is, he informed us within the requisite period. I feel aggrieved that the act of switching off a boiler at the mains would cause this to happen! Surely that's not right?
Page 3
    • Hopetobedebtfree
    • By Hopetobedebtfree 8th Jun 17, 5:58 PM
    • 25 Posts
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    Hopetobedebtfree
    update - wondered if anyone had any thoughts? We got a copy of the invoice today which contained the following overview of the cause and work needed to repair

    Boiler issue: Boiler has been turned off previously allowing any debris to settle and set. And on turning back on has blown/shorted overheat ssors and ignition sensor. Following works have to be carried out in order to get the boiler working again:

    Isolate water and gas drain down boiler. Remove boiler from property and bring to merchants for full strip down clear out and flushout as pump, plate heat exchanger and primary heat exchanger are faulty due to sludge. 
Parts replaced: Ch Pump, Aav, Plate heat exchanger, Overheat sensor, ignition sensor, Divertor Valve service and complete strip down of all internal water carrying pipework and primary heat exchanger.
    Reassemble boiler and powerflush and inhibitor.
    This has had to be done OFF SITE because of the magnitude of 



    Last edited by Hopetobedebtfree; 08-06-2017 at 5:58 PM. Reason: Typo
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 8th Jun 17, 6:07 PM
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    EachPenny
    update - wondered if anyone had any thoughts? We got a copy of the invoice today which contained the following overview of the cause and work needed to repair...

    Originally posted by Hopetobedebtfree
    A seized pump, fair enough. All of that work... is taking the proverbial!

    The important bit is whether it is reasonable for you to be held liable for any of it.
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • ComicGeek
    • By ComicGeek 8th Jun 17, 6:30 PM
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    ComicGeek
    I'm not sure this is the precise model the OP has, but it seems close -
    https://www.worcester-bosch.co.uk/professional/support/documents/greenstar-cdi-classic-combi-operating-instructions

    Page 17 -
    If you isolate the power to the boiler then the anti-seizure system cannot operate. Leave the boiler isolated long enough then the pump will seize. If it would take months to happen WB would have designed the system to only do an anti-seize run once a week or so. They've designed it to run every 24 hours. You can conclude that a few days, maybe a week of not running the anti-seize protection due to power isolation could be enough for the pump to seize.

    It's not rubbish or nonsense - it is a fact. The claim is plausible.

    If the OP's model is the same or similar to the one above, then the claim is also supported by information in the manufacturer's instructions.
    Originally posted by EachPenny
    No, it's every 24 hrs because that's a simple timer function - trying to do it once a month would require a more complicated timer function which would be more liable to fail.

    The issue is leaving a pump not running for months, not a few weeks. Your conclusion is wrong, it's not fact.
    • jbainbridge
    • By jbainbridge 8th Jun 17, 6:31 PM
    • 1,674 Posts
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    jbainbridge
    Was the deposit protected in a scheme?

    Is there a valid gas certificate?
    • Hopetobedebtfree
    • By Hopetobedebtfree 8th Jun 17, 6:55 PM
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    Hopetobedebtfree
    Was the deposit protected in a scheme?

    Is there a valid gas certificate?
    Originally posted by jbainbridge
    It is protected and there is a valid gas certificate
    Last edited by Hopetobedebtfree; 08-06-2017 at 7:00 PM.
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 8th Jun 17, 7:02 PM
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    EachPenny
    No, it's every 24 hrs because that's a simple timer function - trying to do it once a month would require a more complicated timer function which would be more liable to fail.

    The issue is leaving a pump not running for months, not a few weeks. Your conclusion is wrong, it's not fact.
    Originally posted by ComicGeek
    A firmware program that triggers an event once a week is more likely to fail than one triggering every day? Are you serious?

    A boiler's control logic has far more complex things to worry about in comparison to remembering to do something once a week... that is a trivial function to implement.

    But it is simple - the boiler was presumably fitted with an anti-seize system, it doesn't work if the power is switched off. In the same way that frost protection wouldn't work if there was no power to the system. If the OP was told not to switch the boiler off, or if the instructions made it clear this was an unsafe thing to do then there might be some liability for damage to the pump... but there are lots of 'ifs' involved in that.
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • Clairabella
    • By Clairabella 8th Jun 17, 7:18 PM
    • 130 Posts
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    Clairabella
    I fail to see how it matters whether the power being turned off caused the boiler fault or not.

    The OP was expecting a cleaner after they had vacated the property. The cleaner would need electricity for vacuum etc so I'm sure that OP would not have turned off the power. I find it hard to believe a cleaner would bother to turn it off. So, the last person in the property was the letting agent. Presumably they were not expecting new tenants immediately, so, possibly thinking they were doing the correct thing to protect the property may have turned off the power. I think that the OP should simply refuse to accept responsibility for the power being switched off and let the landlord try to prove that it was them.
    • Hopetobedebtfree
    • By Hopetobedebtfree 8th Jun 17, 7:23 PM
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    Hopetobedebtfree
    A firmware program that triggers an event once a week is more likely to fail than one triggering every day? Are you serious?

    A boiler's control logic has far more complex things to worry about in comparison to remembering to do something once a week... that is a trivial function to implement.

    But it is simple - the boiler was presumably fitted with an anti-seize system, it doesn't work if the power is switched off. In the same way that frost protection wouldn't work if there was no power to the system. If the OP was told not to switch the boiler off, or if the instructions made it clear this was an unsafe thing to do then there might be some liability for damage to the pump... but there are lots of 'ifs' involved in that.
    Originally posted by EachPenny
    Thank you both for your input. Despite the issue being blamed on a seized pump initially it appears from the invoice that at least part of the issue was a failed ignition sensor. I don't believe that this could have been foreseen and there is def nothing regarding this in the instruction manual. Mind you we were never provided with one nor where we told not to turn the switch off
    • Hopetobedebtfree
    • By Hopetobedebtfree 8th Jun 17, 7:25 PM
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    Hopetobedebtfree
    I fail to see how it matters whether the power being turned off caused the boiler fault or not.

    The OP was expecting a cleaner after they had vacated the property. The cleaner would need electricity for vacuum etc so I'm sure that OP would not have turned off the power. I find it hard to believe a cleaner would bother to turn it off. So, the last person in the property was the letting agent. Presumably they were not expecting new tenants immediately, so, possibly thinking they were doing the correct thing to protect the property may have turned off the power. I think that the OP should simply refuse to accept responsibility for the power being switched off and let the landlord try to prove that it was them.
    Originally posted by Clairabella
    Thanks clarabel. We did consider this but as the pictures on the check out report show that the boiler was switched off at check out (and up until this point we were still responsible for the property) it was a jon starter. We chose not to attend the check out - although we would never have thought to check the boiler switch so that's probably a moot point
    • molerat
    • By molerat 8th Jun 17, 7:49 PM
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    molerat
    update - wondered if anyone had any thoughts? We got a copy of the invoice today which contained the following overview of the cause and work needed to repair

    Boiler issue: Boiler has been turned off previously allowing any debris to settle and set. And on turning back on has blown/shorted overheat ssors and ignition sensor. Following works have to be carried out in order to get the boiler working again:

    Isolate water and gas drain down boiler. Remove boiler from property and bring to merchants for full strip down clear out and flushout as pump, plate heat exchanger and primary heat exchanger are faulty due to sludge. 
Parts replaced: Ch Pump, Aav, Plate heat exchanger, Overheat sensor, ignition sensor, Divertor Valve service and complete strip down of all internal water carrying pipework and primary heat exchanger.
    Reassemble boiler and powerflush and inhibitor.
    This has had to be done OFF SITE because of the magnitude of 



    Originally posted by Hopetobedebtfree
    It looks to me that the LL has shot himself in the foot by sending you the invoice. The system has not been properly maintained and is sludged up causing the failure.
    www.helpforheroes.org.uk/donations.html
    • Hopetobedebtfree
    • By Hopetobedebtfree 8th Jun 17, 7:54 PM
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    Hopetobedebtfree
    It looks to me that the LL has shot himself in the foot by sending you the invoice. The system has not been properly maintained and is sludged up causing the failure.
    Originally posted by molerat

    Do you know how long sludge takes to build up? Could it be argued that it happened in the few days that the power was off?
    • molerat
    • By molerat 8th Jun 17, 8:05 PM
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    molerat
    Sludge builds up over a period of years. Turning the boiler off probably did cause the failure by allowing the sludge in the badly maintained system to settle, it was a failure waiting to happen. Leaving it off for a few days should not have caused the failure, an extended period maybe but not a few days.

    As for the invoice. If a powerflush was required it was because the system was dirty not because of the failure. A powerflush is usually several hundred pounds so the LL is getting his dirty system maintained at no cost to himself.
    Last edited by molerat; 08-06-2017 at 8:09 PM.
    www.helpforheroes.org.uk/donations.html
    • badmemory
    • By badmemory 8th Jun 17, 8:14 PM
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    badmemory
    Just wondering here as I really know nothing about such things, but my boiler often doesn't come on for weeks in summer. Does that mean, that because I don't turn my thermostat up to 25 deg & force it to come on, that it is at risk?
    • ComicGeek
    • By ComicGeek 8th Jun 17, 8:29 PM
    • 144 Posts
    • 97 Thanks
    ComicGeek
    A firmware program that triggers an event once a week is more likely to fail than one triggering every day? Are you serious?

    A boiler's control logic has far more complex things to worry about in comparison to remembering to do something once a week... that is a trivial function to implement.
    Originally posted by EachPenny
    Anyone involved with complicated Building Management Systems for large heating, ventilation and air conditioning will absolutely know this - and domestic boilers are really basic in comparison, they don't have the ability to do things one a week, or once a month.

    My understanding from working on the 42CDi before is that the time control for the pump antiseize does not have an 7 day timeclock controlling it, or any other calendar function. The plug and play controls are optional extras, and therefore the antiseize operation cannot rely on these being present. It just counts on 24 hrs from when it was first switched on, this is pretty much the same on all modern system boilers with integral pumps - my Vaillant boiler started doing it at 5am the other week because of a power cut the night before, so I had to reset the boiler to prevent it waking me up every day at 5am...

    Now just because it is set up to run every 24 hrs doesn't mean that it will cause problems if it actually ran less frequently - that daily run of 5 secs was just a simple control strategy agreed by the boiler designers within the limits of its time keeping abilities.

    The OP states a possible 5 days from moving out to end of tenancy, so if it actually has seized due to build of crap in the system this probably would have happened at some point soon anyway, regardless whether the OP turned off the boiler or not.
    • ComicGeek
    • By ComicGeek 8th Jun 17, 8:30 PM
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    ComicGeek
    Sludge builds up over a period of years. Turning the boiler off probably did cause the failure by allowing the sludge in the badly maintained system to settle, it was a failure waiting to happen. Leaving it off for a few days should not have caused the failure, an extended period maybe but not a few days.

    As for the invoice. If a powerflush was required it was because the system was dirty not because of the failure. A powerflush is usually several hundred pounds so the LL is getting his dirty system maintained at no cost to himself.
    Originally posted by molerat

    Absolutely agree with this, spot on.
    • ComicGeek
    • By ComicGeek 8th Jun 17, 8:37 PM
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    ComicGeek
    A seized pump, fair enough. All of that work... is taking the proverbial!
    Originally posted by EachPenny

    I wouldn't even accept a bill for a seized pump. It's purely due to build up of crap in the system - assumingly at some point the landlord fitted a new boiler and did it on the cheap without power flushing the system. Now that's come back to bite them. Nothing to do with the OP, and nothing to do with turning the boiler off.
    • molerat
    • By molerat 8th Jun 17, 8:46 PM
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    molerat
    Just wondering here as I really know nothing about such things, but my boiler often doesn't come on for weeks in summer. Does that mean, that because I don't turn my thermostat up to 25 deg & force it to come on, that it is at risk?
    Originally posted by badmemory
    Some more modern boilers switch themselves on for a short period once a day, irrespective of any call for heat, just to keep them from seizing. If your boiler is not designed to do this then it is not a problem turning it off.
    www.helpforheroes.org.uk/donations.html
    • Hopetobedebtfree
    • By Hopetobedebtfree 9th Jun 17, 8:26 AM
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    Hopetobedebtfree
    Thanks all. At the very least we will be arguing against the amount...
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 9th Jun 17, 9:41 AM
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    EachPenny
    At the very least we will be arguing against the amount...
    Originally posted by Hopetobedebtfree
    You should be able to do a lot better than that. With this kind of thing you need to take a step-by-step approach.

    The first step is whether the claim is plausible. On the basis of a seized pump alone then it was, but with all the work detailed on the invoice then as molerat says, the LL has well and truly shot themselves in the foot. It could be argued that switching the boiler off allowed the sludge in the system to settle, but it would only be a (small) contributing factor to the outcome - the real issue is the state of the heating system overall.

    So you might have some liability, but only a small contribution.

    The second step is whether you have responsibility - the instruction manual may not be helpful to you, but as the one I saw online doesn't specifically warn you not to turn the power off and if the LL or agent didn't give you this instruction, then it would come down to whether someone could be reasonably expected to know not to do something. That could go either way - turning the boiler off in winter and causing pipes to burst might be something you'd be expected to know. But turning off the boiler and having sludge settle causing damage?

    If he tried taking you to court I think the LL would have a very hard time proving you should have known not to turn the boiler off. The invoice which covers work you can really have no liability for (which he expected you to pay in full?) would also work against him.

    So the LL would be rather unwise to take this to court - but you need to have a think about the risks and effects of refusing to pay anything and whether that makes sense for you.
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • Hopetobedebtfree
    • By Hopetobedebtfree 9th Jun 17, 10:46 AM
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    Hopetobedebtfree
    Thanks each penny. I'd hope that deposit scheme dispute would be the way this goes rather than court.
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