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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 3
    • mouseclick
    • By mouseclick 8th Oct 17, 5:39 PM
    • 226 Posts
    • 78 Thanks
    mouseclick
    If you're really in doubt, get a second opinion. You are allowed to do this.
    Originally posted by MeterMan
    That's absolutely the best thing I have heard so far, thanks. I have emailed some local engineers, but as I mentioned, they are all extremely busy, no responses from any of them yet. I'll wait.
    Last edited by mouseclick; 08-10-2017 at 5:43 PM.
    • mouseclick
    • By mouseclick 9th Oct 17, 8:58 AM
    • 226 Posts
    • 78 Thanks
    mouseclick
    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.
    Originally posted by MeterMan
    I am going to have to wait. One of the local engineers replied "sorry can't help with that". The other three have not responded, although maybe they need time. I looked up Wilber - I can see this is part if British Gas (I think). But I cannot find contact details.

    I can survive with fan heaters and I have an electric shower. I am a bit concerned that others are not responding because they do not want to go against the actions of the first engineer. I may be wrong, I hope I am.
    • mouseclick
    • By mouseclick 9th Oct 17, 12:30 PM
    • 226 Posts
    • 78 Thanks
    mouseclick
    Good News
    Engineer will visit on Wednesday, and tell me what to do to get the boiler up to current spec. He has a known good local reputation, and is Gas Safe registered. Finally I feel relief
    • mouseclick
    • By mouseclick 13th Oct 17, 6:29 AM
    • 226 Posts
    • 78 Thanks
    mouseclick
    A Glazier is needed
    Hello all. I did get a second opinion. It seems a glazier is needed, to seal an openable window, which is 220mm above the flue, and not 300mm, as is required by the more recent regulations. And THAT is why the boiler was declared "IMMEDIATELY DANGEROUS", even though the window was never used, and always locked. A test was NOT performed for CO entering the building with the window closed.

    The solution is simple, I get a glazier to seal the window, and then the boiler can be serviced tested, as I had requested.

    I am very pleased that the second engineer has provided clarity and a way forward. When the window is sealed, the boiler service will cost £80, and hopefully it will then be OK, as it has been reliable for more than 20 years.

    So my best tip is to try and understand the current regulations BEFORE a Gas Safe Boiler Engineer is called, because they are obliged to do this if they see an appliance that does not comply with this regulation, I am told.

    I will post the result of the boiler test here when I know the result.

    EDIT:
    The laws would be better if the boiler could legally have been serviced, as I had requested, and then I could have been issued with an ID notice and then advised to make the openable window unopenable, in order to remove the ID notice, and have ny gas turned on again. A service would have also reduced CO emissions and made the boiler safer, which is what I wanted.
    Last edited by mouseclick; 13-10-2017 at 6:50 AM. Reason: added comment at end
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 13th Oct 17, 9:33 AM
    • 4,355 Posts
    • 2,560 Thanks
    Hengus
    At post 13, I suggested:

    Quote: He may have been over zealous so the answer is to call in another engineer in to carry out a further safety check. If he is happy, then he will leave everything connected and he will issue a Gas Safety Certificate. At that point, you decide whether you have a case against the original engineer. Unquote

    You may still have issues in future with your window unless it is permanently sealed so that A N Other cannot open it if the property ever changes hands. If you look at professional forums, there is considerable ongoing debate about whether the Regulations apply to the actual door/window openings or the doors and the windows themselves. Clearly, the latest GSR engineer that you are dealing with is satisfied that it is just the window and not the opening. My GSR engineer wasn't so sanguine about it and he advised the fitting of a boiler flue extension even though the window in question hasn't been opened in over 15 years.

    It was a 'no brainer' as the flue extension cost less than sealing the window.

    Edit:

    Have a look at the diagrams in this NHBC document

    http://www.nhbc.co.uk/Builders/Technicaladviceandsupport/TechnicalGuidance/68/filedownload,37239,en.pdf

    Have a look at Figure 5 on page 2 and the notes below the diagrams:

    GAS
    'Opening' means an openable window, door, or an opening such as an air vent/extractor fan outlet. 'Opening' can also refer to an opening in the building fabric as shown in Figure 5.
    Last edited by Hengus; 13-10-2017 at 11:38 AM.
    • MeterMan
    • By MeterMan 13th Oct 17, 6:36 PM
    • 271 Posts
    • 149 Thanks
    MeterMan
    Glad you have a path to follow, and even more so that you came back to update the thread.

    I do find it odd that a CO test wasn't carried out by your engineer.
    • C_Mababejive
    • By C_Mababejive 13th Oct 17, 8:10 PM
    • 10,268 Posts
    • 9,317 Thanks
    C_Mababejive
    Don't trust a gas safe engineer. It is a bought & paid for qualification which may mean nothing other than they had enough cash to pay for it. I won't go into the gas safe engineer who fitted my boiler which then got condemned at its first service under a year later when supposedly under warranty & could have killed us! You don't want to know how much it cost me to get that put right.
    Originally posted by badmemory
    Isnt that the same as dentistry,accountancy and a whole host of other qualified practices?
    Feudal Britain needs land reform. 70% of the land is "owned" by 1 % of the population and at least 50% is unregistered (inherited by landed gentry). Thats why your slave box costs so much..
    • badmemory
    • By badmemory 13th Oct 17, 9:22 PM
    • 798 Posts
    • 781 Thanks
    badmemory
    Isnt that the same as dentistry,accountancy and a whole host of other qualified practices?
    Originally posted by C_Mababejive
    At least a dentist & accountant have had to pass some exams!
    • C_Mababejive
    • By C_Mababejive 14th Oct 17, 5:16 PM
    • 10,268 Posts
    • 9,317 Thanks
    C_Mababejive
    But i know someone who did a core three year apprenticeship to become a gas chap, then did a further 3 or 4 years of further study for more qualifications. He didnt just pay money and get given them.,
    Feudal Britain needs land reform. 70% of the land is "owned" by 1 % of the population and at least 50% is unregistered (inherited by landed gentry). Thats why your slave box costs so much..
    • badmemory
    • By badmemory 14th Oct 17, 10:09 PM
    • 798 Posts
    • 781 Thanks
    badmemory
    But i know someone who did a core three year apprenticeship to become a gas chap, then did a further 3 or 4 years of further study for more qualifications. He didnt just pay money and get given them.,
    Originally posted by C_Mababejive
    Surely that would be in the days of the Corgi qualification, which I agree is quite different from the curent gas safe.
    • MeterMan
    • By MeterMan 15th Oct 17, 8:24 AM
    • 271 Posts
    • 149 Thanks
    MeterMan
    At least a dentist & accountant have had to pass some exams!
    Originally posted by badmemory
    In order to be classed as a competent gas engineer, You need to sit 3 exams and get 100% correct, two of them are open book and one is not. You also then need to pass numerous audits from the gassafe inspectorate.

    Surely that would be in the days of the Corgi qualification, which I agree is quite different from the curent gas safe.
    Originally posted by badmemory
    There doesn't seem to be much difference between Corgi and Gas Safe, both of them did not offer formal training to those new to the business. They are a body to ensure that the qualified and competent people are following the rules and regs.
    Last edited by MeterMan; 15-10-2017 at 8:27 AM.
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