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  • FIRST POST
    • mouseclick
    • By mouseclick 5th Oct 17, 12:31 AM
    • 226Posts
    • 78Thanks
    mouseclick
    Gas meter capped when I was on holiday - help!
    • #1
    • 5th Oct 17, 12:31 AM
    Gas meter capped when I was on holiday - help! 5th Oct 17 at 12:31 AM
    Hello.

    I own my own house, and I have a gas fire and a boiler. I thought to take on a lodger to save money, and I thought it prudent to get a "Landlord's certificate", even though I don't think I legally need one for a lodger, because the house belonged to my parents, and I had no idea when the old but extremely reliable boiler was last serviced. I knew the living room fire smelled, so I did not use it. I thought this could be disconnected, if it was faulty.

    I phoned a gas engineer in my local newspaper. He failed to turn up on the agreed day of the appointment, because he said his bank account was hacked, and he had to deal with the problem. So we arranged that a neighbour would be present when I was away for a week, as this was the only time he could make it. I was to be charged £50, and, without telling the engineer, I left a further £50 with the neighbour in case work was needed. Any more and I was to be phoned to authorise. That was what I said to my neighbour.

    On the day the test was due, there were no phone calls, so I assumed all was OK. Several days later I phoned my neighbour, who told me that "everything was wrong". Then, about a week later the engineer phoned me, thinking I was home. He claimed he had saved my life. He said he would give me the details when I return.

    So, return I did, at 02:30am on Tuesday morning, after 12 hours travelling. My house was cold, so I went to turn on the heating. The pump had been left on, I could hear it, but all was icy cold. There were "do not use" notices on the boiler and gas fire. The gas fire was also partly disassembled, with the pipe underneath removed, the electric cable to the igniter removed, and the heat switch removed. Other parts were not screwed up, and the covers were loose.

    In the kitchen, the boiler cover was removed, and there was no pilot light. I tried to light it, but it wouldn't start.

    Then I saw the gas meter was off. I thought to turn it on would be dangerous, as the pipe to the fire was removed. I did try it instantaneously, preparing to turn it off, but I heard no gas. So, it stayed off.

    The next morning, still tired, very cold, and by now quite upset, I phoned the engineer to ask what is going on. He said he had to "cap" the meter because both appliances were dangerous. So, I was left with no gas, and a cold house, instead of a serviced boiler (I was told it would get a clean for the £50).

    It was suggested that I would have to have a new boiler because of the proximity of the flue to the window, unless the window was "hermetically sealed", I was also told that the fire was the most dangerous he had seen, and he had put pictures on Facebook. However, he had not contacted me, even though I had given him my email address.

    He said he had made two attempts to contact me and failed, but I had no missed calls, and my phone was in a strong signal area at all times.

    I said I didn't have the money. He said he was obliged to cap the gas meter, because both appliances were dangerous. The boiler, because it was installed under the old regs, and the balanced flue is now too close to a window, which he says was not sealing or closing fully. The fire, because the backplate was fixed with duct tape, which had burned, and also because he found a hairline crack in the burner.

    The notices were marked "responsible person not present" and signed by the engineer. There was no address for the gas engineer, and no receipt or invoice was left, or any description of work done. I checked the engineer's advert, no address on that, just a mobile number. Even the gassaferegister.co.uk website does not have an address, when I enter the registration number. It has just the business name, and the areas of work covered.

    I am at a loss as what to do. A potential source of income has turned into a financial nightmare. I accept there are problems, but the engineer is now non responsive.

    As it was disconnected, I removed the gas fire from the wall, and I saw the cracked burner, and I priced a new one online - £55. Fixing this would be OK for me, and the tape and backplate are easy to fix. Or, B&Q have new gas fires for £148, less my Diamond Club discount. But I am getting no response from the engineer, perhaps because I cannot afford to invest in a new boiler?

    I have tentatively asked other fitters to look at it, but they are not interested, because it is a busy time of the year. Ideally, it would be good if the original engineer would quote me to have the fire fixed. This would then "take the heat" off fixing the boiler (pardon the pun).

    Fortunately, I have a fan heater, and right now, an electric blanket.

    Can anyone suggest a course of action please? My main concern is to get heat into the house for the winter.

    Thanks in anticipation
    Last edited by mouseclick; 05-10-2017 at 12:51 AM.
Page 2
    • Michaelw
    • By Michaelw 6th Oct 17, 9:52 PM
    • 54 Posts
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    Michaelw
    I had this with a boiler a few years back.The engineer turned up stuck a dangling warning triangle on the boiler and threatened to have the road dug up outside if I didnt let have access to the pipe and insert a cap.

    It needs a Corgi qualified engineer to inspect the the boiler and they are able to remove the gas stop disk.Once the system has been serviced and checked then its fine.
    • badmemory
    • By badmemory 7th Oct 17, 5:49 AM
    • 805 Posts
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    badmemory
    With Corgi you had to be qualified, unfortunately they are gone, with gas safe all you have to do is turn up & pay. That was my big mistake, assuming that gas safe was just another name for Corgi. Speak to someone who used to be Corgi registered & is now "gas safe" they think it is a joke that they have to pay for to still get work.
    • mouseclick
    • By mouseclick 7th Oct 17, 11:32 AM
    • 226 Posts
    • 78 Thanks
    mouseclick
    With Corgi you had to be qualified, unfortunately they are gone, with gas safe all you have to do is turn up & pay. That was my big mistake, assuming that gas safe was just another name for Corgi. Speak to someone who used to be Corgi registered & is now "gas safe" they think it is a joke that they have to pay for to still get work.
    Originally posted by badmemory
    Is this really true? Surely not. I recall something similar with another trade organisation when I was in Trading Standards. I pretended I was a person in that field, phoned them up asking about membership, and they more or less said "pay up and you can use the logo". But surely gas engineers need some qualifications and training?

    Just checked
    https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/help-and-advice/becoming-registered/the-path-to-gas-safe-registration/
    It costs a few hundred a year. There is a 3 month probationary period, so perhaps in theory, someone could pay, join. and be there for 3 months without being checked.
    Last edited by mouseclick; 07-10-2017 at 11:37 AM. Reason: added end bit
    • mouseclick
    • By mouseclick 7th Oct 17, 12:34 PM
    • 226 Posts
    • 78 Thanks
    mouseclick
    Regulation 34. b) With the permission of the gas user/responsible person...
    ...You obviously have the right to question the engineer about his actions.
    Originally posted by Hengus
    By the way thanks Hengus. He's coming back to give me a quote on Monday. If I had been there I would have NOT given permission, and a responsible person WAS present, and I left instructions to phone me if problems, but on the form it said "responsible person not present".

    And it's true, I made a mistake, I can't turn the clock back, but for the benefit of all here, I have a CO meter on the wall right beside the boiler and just inside from the Flue and it has never gone above zero. I understand the CO test was carried out by the engineer with the window wide open and the boiler on full blast, so of course CO will be detected right near the open window, because the boiler had not been cleaned, as was part of the agreement.

    So let's see what happens on Monday
    • MeterMan
    • By MeterMan 7th Oct 17, 1:09 PM
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    MeterMan
    I dont really understand what all the commotion is about on this thread.

    Your gas was cut off because the fire had a crack in it and the boiler flue is too close to an openable window?

    Is there any other issues at present here, because why would he not just disconnect the fire, because a flue being too close to an openable window does not constitute an immediately dangerous situation.
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 7th Oct 17, 1:10 PM
    • 4,373 Posts
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    Hengus
    By the way thanks Hengus. He's coming back to give me a quote on Monday. If I had been there I would have NOT given permission, and a responsible person WAS present, and I left instructions to phone me if problems, but on the form it said "responsible person not present".
    Originally posted by mouseclick
    It would have made no difference to the outcome UNLESS you or your neighbour agreed to the remedial work and had it carried out at the time of the Gas Safety Inspection. If the engineer wasn't able to carry out the work - he may not have the bits and pieces needed on his van - then your system would have been capped whether you were there or not. The rules on gas safety do not vary between home owners and landlords as you seem to imply. A GSR engineer is not permitted to leave a property without taking affirmative action to make the property gas safe. He/she would be negligent if they left without doing so.

    If you are hoping that you can persuade the GSR engineer to revert to the status quo ante because you are a homeowner without lodgers then I sense that you might be disappointed. The key point is that you requested a safety inspection and your property failed to meet the safety standards. This fact is now on record.

    Finally, before your chat to the GSR engineer, you might wish to look up the definition of 'responsible person' which is contained in The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. (SI 1998/2451)
    • Mr.Generous
    • By Mr.Generous 7th Oct 17, 1:48 PM
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    Mr.Generous
    Inside the boiler there is a plate with model number etc on it. Get the boilers GC number from the plate. Most (not all) boilers can have a plume kit fitted to the flue to take the exhaust away from opening windows. Ring any heating supplies merchant and give them the GC number to see if a plume kit is available and how much it costs. This is a very simple fix. Failing that seal the window.
    Consider an electric fire, much safer if you don't use it much. We never fit or leave a gas fire in any property that requires a gas safety cert for simplicity.

    Plume kit
    • mouseclick
    • By mouseclick 7th Oct 17, 3:18 PM
    • 226 Posts
    • 78 Thanks
    mouseclick
    Finally, before your chat to the GSR engineer, you might wish to look up the definition of 'responsible person' which is contained in The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. (SI 1998/2451)
    Originally posted by Hengus
    Thanks again
    "the occupier of the premises or, where there is no occupier or the occupier is away, the owner of the premises or any person with authority for the time being to take appropriate action in relation to any gas fitting therein"

    The mistake I made was to allow the engineer to attend when I was away, after he failed to turn up for the original appointment. He told me all would be fine. It was a huge mistake.

    The neighbour was instructed to phone me and authorise remedial work, and money was left, but too late now
    • mouseclick
    • By mouseclick 7th Oct 17, 3:24 PM
    • 226 Posts
    • 78 Thanks
    mouseclick
    Inside the boiler there is a plate with model number etc on it. Get the boilers GC number from the plate. Most (not all) boilers can have a plume kit fitted to the flue to take the exhaust away from opening windows. Ring any heating supplies merchant and give them the GC number to see if a plume kit is available and how much it costs. This is a very simple fix. Failing that seal the window.
    Consider an electric fire, much safer if you don't use it much. We never fit or leave a gas fire in any property that requires a gas safety cert for simplicity.

    Plume kit
    Originally posted by Mr.Generous
    Sounds good. Sealing the window is also possible. It never gets opened anyway. The flue was installed under the old regs when the distance was OK. I work in a maintenance department occasionally, the gas engineer who I work with said it would pass the test, provided it was the only problem. My biggest disappointment is that he did not service the boiler before the test, as agreed and instructed. He told the test fee I paid would cover that.

    The plume kit looks good too, this is a brilliant suggestion. But I can't see one online for this particular model. It's a GSR 41-415-25. I will, however, ring some suppliers, they seem to be about £70. I can afford that. And it will be a good permanent solution, for a reasonable price.
    Last edited by mouseclick; 07-10-2017 at 3:39 PM. Reason: added comments about plume kit
    • Mr.Generous
    • By Mr.Generous 7th Oct 17, 5:07 PM
    • 1,659 Posts
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    Mr.Generous
    Ahhh ... is it the Ideal Mexico super RS 40/60 by any chance?
    • mouseclick
    • By mouseclick 7th Oct 17, 6:36 PM
    • 226 Posts
    • 78 Thanks
    mouseclick
    Ahhh ... is it the Ideal Mexico super RS 40/60 by any chance?
    Originally posted by Mr.Generous
    Yes! Beautiful boiler. It has gone on for years and years and years, without any problem. So I will be happy if I can resolve this with blocking a window, or fitting a plume kit. Then a service, and recommissioning.

    I knew about the window proximity problem, they changed the rules and made them more strict shortly after we had it fitted. That's why I kept it locked. I only wish I had hidden the key, but I keep it nearby as a precaution, in case there is a fire. But I will be really happy if blocking the window fixes it.
    Last edited by mouseclick; 07-10-2017 at 6:39 PM.
    • rtho782
    • By rtho782 7th Oct 17, 8:32 PM
    • 1,008 Posts
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    rtho782
    What a horribly inefficient boiler you're burning gas with and creating NO2/CO2 etc with that harms all of us.

    Tragedy of the commons I guess.
    Deposit Saved since 01/12/15: £13,000 / £15,000 House Bought!

    Debt Cleared since 01/12/15: £6,000 / £7,500
    • mouseclick
    • By mouseclick 7th Oct 17, 9:06 PM
    • 226 Posts
    • 78 Thanks
    mouseclick
    What a horribly inefficient boiler you're burning gas with and creating NO2/CO2 etc with that harms all of us.

    Tragedy of the commons I guess.
    Originally posted by rtho782
    We are not all privileged with enough money to buy the latest and newest equipment, rho792. So apologies if I do not meet up to your high standards. However, at least the Ideal Mexico goes on and on and on, without breaking down, so I guess there are some savings in the respect of the equipment having to be replaced less often. But you can rejoice, as it is now out of action, and it seems as if it will be for the winter.
    • mouseclick
    • By mouseclick 7th Oct 17, 11:25 PM
    • 226 Posts
    • 78 Thanks
    mouseclick
    Thanks to everyone's help, especially Hengus, MrGenerous, House Martin, and Norman Castle. I had a chat with a friend, and I think it's best I cancel the appointment on Monday with the original engineer, and wait until I have some money. I don't want a lodger now, because I don't want someone I don't know inside my property, and I realise it was a bad mistake I made to get this test, I was a bit naive. I believe I can also now stop paying the standing charge on the gas, that will save some money. It will be fixed at a future date. Thanks again
    • POPPYOSCAR
    • By POPPYOSCAR 7th Oct 17, 11:43 PM
    • 10,630 Posts
    • 22,110 Thanks
    POPPYOSCAR
    Thanks to everyone's help, especially Hengus, MrGenerous, House Martin, and Norman Castle. I had a chat with a friend, and I think it's best I cancel the appointment on Monday with the original engineer, and wait until I have some money. I don't want a lodger now, because I don't want someone I don't know inside my property, and I realise it was a bad mistake I made to get this test, I was a bit naive. I believe I can also now stop paying the standing charge on the gas, that will save some money. It will be fixed at a future date. Thanks again
    Originally posted by mouseclick

    Is the meter still there?


    Our daughter had to have the meter taken out in order to stop paying the standing charge.

    You will need to check with your supplier they may insist you do the same.
    • mouseclick
    • By mouseclick 7th Oct 17, 11:56 PM
    • 226 Posts
    • 78 Thanks
    mouseclick
    No CO in building when window closed
    I dont really understand what all the commotion is about on this thread.

    Your gas was cut off because the fire had a crack in it and the boiler flue is too close to an openable window?

    Is there any other issues at present here, because why would he not just disconnect the fire, because a flue being too close to an openable window does not constitute an immediately dangerous situation.
    Originally posted by MeterMan
    Ah, MeterMan, I just noticed this. No, there are no other issues present at all. I am told the inside CO test was only done with the window wide open, the boiler on full. There was no seepage when the window was closed.

    Is there anywhere where I can get what you said in writing?

    All I can find is this https://www.emergencyplumber.uk.com/plumbing/fanned-flue-too-close-openable-window/ but it seems to relate to fanned flues only.

    I will recap the story, again:

    The original telephone agreement was that he would disconnect the gas fire if there were any problems at all, because I knew this had a faulty backplate, and I said I did not want it to fail on that. Then I asked him to service the boiler, he said this could be done with the £50 test fee.

    He did not turn up on the day due, so my neighbour had to stand in for me.

    But he went straight to the boiler, and took pictures of my kitchen window, and put these on Facebook. He said there were fumes coming in, but there weren't. I had a CO meter inside that did not go off zero.

    So he opened the window wide, put the boiler on full, and put the CO meter just inside the window. Of course, CO registered. But I don't know how much, I just have to take his word. He then said I could be killed if I washed dishes in the sink, and ran the hot water. On the DO NOT USE document, it said exactly this: "FLUE TO CLOSE TO OPENING. SPILLING INTO BUILDING"

    Then he tested the fire in the living room, and condemned this too. Then he capped the meter, but he didn't tell my neighbour he did that, or me. He told my neighbour he would phone me, but he didn't, and when I got home after 12 hours travelling, I was confused, cold and angry.

    So that's the reason, in capitals, and the sequence of events, according to my neighbour.

    I have asked for a receipt etc, but not given and no address on the newspaper advert or even in the Gas Safe Register. Just a company name, no phone number. And only a mobile number in the advert, which seems to be registered to several different addresses. The one nearest to me is a disused house. I think he lives quite far away.

    I am kicking myself for not using a local engineer, but I thought he was, because it was a local paper
    Last edited by mouseclick; 08-10-2017 at 2:12 AM. Reason: corrected error
    • MeterMan
    • By MeterMan 8th Oct 17, 8:37 AM
    • 271 Posts
    • 149 Thanks
    MeterMan
    Well unfortunately Products of Combustion or CO coming back through the window(to give the fear factor a bump) would constitute an immediately dangerous situation.

    Your best bet is to get a second opinion before forking out for a new boiler. If you can't find anyone locally to have a look. You'll be able to get one of the Wilbur team to take a look within a short space of time, but they charge a premium for that.

    As for the capping without permission being given, You weren't there to give permission. If permission had not been given, your gas engineer would have had to contact national grid, who would turn up and either cap the meter with permission, or dig the road up and disconnect your gas in the street and then charged a re-connection fee. This process exists to stop gas engineers from saying you need a new boiler when you don't (not saying you do or dont need a new one)
    • mouseclick
    • By mouseclick 8th Oct 17, 11:27 AM
    • 226 Posts
    • 78 Thanks
    mouseclick
    Well unfortunately Products of Combustion or CO coming back through the window(to give the fear factor a bump) would constitute an immediately dangerous situation.

    Your best bet is to get a second opinion before forking out for a new boiler. If you can't find anyone locally to have a look. You'll be able to get one of the Wilbur team to take a look within a short space of time, but they charge a premium for that.

    As for the capping without permission being given, You weren't there to give permission. If permission had not been given, your gas engineer would have had to contact national grid, who would turn up and either cap the meter with permission, or dig the road up and disconnect your gas in the street and then charged a re-connection fee. This process exists to stop gas engineers from saying you need a new boiler when you don't (not saying you do or dont need a new one)
    Originally posted by MeterMan
    Yes, I understand, thanks. I have emailed the Gas Safety Register, and will await their response. I presume you realise that the "spilling" seems to have been measured with the openable window fully open, the boiler full on and the meter sticking outside the window? In other words, it was an outside measurement, for all intents and purposes. So, I think I will wait to see what the Gas Safety Register says. I am sure that even a modern flue would fail this test, with a 600mm gap, if the probe were placed in the updraft

    As for buying a new boiler, this is impossible, I cannot afford it. I will have to live with a gas fire. To install a new boiler would mean tearing out the kitchen. The house is up for sale, but I cannot move out for 6 months to a year, and whoever moves in will renovate the kitchen anyway. So, if I cannot get the old boiler repaired, I have to suffer for a year or so. I needed some income from a lodger to pay off debts.
    Last edited by mouseclick; 08-10-2017 at 1:31 PM. Reason: buying new boiler mentioned
    • FreeBear
    • By FreeBear 8th Oct 17, 12:02 PM
    • 1,303 Posts
    • 1,860 Thanks
    FreeBear
    I believe I can also now stop paying the standing charge on the gas, that will save some money.
    Originally posted by mouseclick
    Unless the meter is removed, the only way to avoid the standing charge is to switch to another supplier - Ebico do a zero standing charge tariff which would be ideal for you. You'd only pay for the gas used (all be it at a higher unit cost), and there are no exit fees should you wish to change to another supplier.
    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
    • MeterMan
    • By MeterMan 8th Oct 17, 5:30 PM
    • 271 Posts
    • 149 Thanks
    MeterMan
    Yes, I understand, thanks. I have emailed the Gas Safety Register, and will await their response. I presume you realise that the "spilling" seems to have been measured with the openable window fully open, the boiler full on and the meter sticking outside the window? In other words, it was an outside measurement, for all intents and purposes. So, I think I will wait to see what the Gas Safety Register says. I am sure that even a modern flue would fail this test, with a 600mm gap, if the probe were placed in the updraft

    As for buying a new boiler, this is impossible, I cannot afford it. I will have to live with a gas fire. To install a new boiler would mean tearing out the kitchen. The house is up for sale, but I cannot move out for 6 months to a year, and whoever moves in will renovate the kitchen anyway. So, if I cannot get the old boiler repaired, I have to suffer for a year or so. I needed some income from a lodger to pay off debts.
    Originally posted by mouseclick

    If you're really in doubt, get a second opinion. You are allowed to do this.
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