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Broken Boiler

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
9 replies 1.1K views
Alison_BAlison_B Forumite
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Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker I've been Money Tipped!
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Energy
We changed our boiler 3 years ago for a combi boiler. The one that was in the house previously had been there for 30 years with no problems at all. The only reason it was changed was because I wanted instant hot water.

Anyway, we have been having an intermittent fault for a couple of months where the water wouldn't come hot and you had to run the water for about 15 minutes before getting any heat. Just before christmas the heating starting playing up also. We have got somebody to come out and take a look at it (a family friend who fitted the boiler) and he has checked several things and cannot find the fault. We believe that he has caused even more problems because now when you try to fire the boiler it keeps on blowing fuses. He has suggested that we get in touch with the manufacturer and ask for one of their engineers to come down and take a look at it - this will save us having to buy the spares if they are not needed.

He has told us that it will cost approximately £90 call out fee, plus parts and labour. This could become quite a large bill - especially if the friend has damaged more components.

The question I have is - we have seen advertisements for maintenance that you pay each month and they will fix any problems. Do they come out and check the boiler before accepting you or can you just do it over the phone and then phone them up in a couple of days time and say a problem has occurred?

Thanks

Alison

Replies

  • MarkyMarkDMarkyMarkD Forumite
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    We changed our boiler 3 years ago for a combi boiler.  The one that was in the house previously had been there for 30 years with no problems at all.  The only reason it was changed was because I wanted instant hot water.

    ... but at a far higher cost than just replacing your existing boiler with a new equivalent one.

    And with a major loss of hot water pressure compared to a tank-fed system.

    My parents switched from tank-fed to combi and regret it with a vengeance. Rather than instant hot water, they now have erratic hot water as the boiler doesn't fire up reliably when they switch the taps on.

    We have a non-combi system and we never, ever, ever don't have ample hot water from our tank-fed system. As for the cost savings from "only heating the water you use", I suppose they must exist - but they can't be that huge as our gas bills are very moderate despite our 20+ year old boiler.


    Anyway, to the point. Most companies carry out an initial inspection when you take out this sort of plan. So don't think you can take one out when the system is already broken as a form of scam.
  • I would have thought boilers are fairly simple devices and therefore relatively easy to repair. Something turns on the flames (burner) which heats the water, which is then fed round the system under its own inertia or with the aid of a pump. Think about how it works logically, and you should be able to find the problem. Override any unnecessarily complex parts of the system in the short term for test purposes, e.g. if you force the flames (burner) to come on, is everything beyond that point working fine? Do you get hot water? If not, it sounds like the problem is with the plumbing (water circulation).

    If everything is fine once the flames come on, then perhaps the problem is with the thermostat, electronics or whatever it is that tells the burner (flames) to fire up.

    I'm not talking about touching the gas part of the system, so I assume you don't need a CORGI registered engineer. In any event, I think I'm right in saying you can repair your own gas devices quite legally as long as you are reasonably confident and competent.

    Regards
    George
  • Alison_BAlison_B Forumite
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    Thanks for the replies. After having the engineer out and him not knowing what the problem was, we decided it would be cheaper to replace the boiler and get a guarantee with it rather than go down the line of him trying various parts and charging us for them.

    Will wait until the guarantee is out of date, then take up a contract with a company (just in case). I am annoyed that it has had to be replaced after only 3 years though.

    Alison
  • Alison_B wrote:
    ...After having the engineer out and him not knowing what the problem was, we decided it would be cheaper to replace the boiler and get a guarantee

    This seems such a shame. Whatever the problem was, I'll bet it was simple if only your engineer had the ability to diagnose it correctly.

    My 20 year old fridge stopped working recently. It's a good job it's winter. I'm sure 90% of people would have said: "It's 20 years old. Let's get a replacement." That might have cost £150. Another 9% would have called out an engineer and spent perhaps £80 on labour and over-priced parts.

    I ascertained it was a broken thermostat, by over-ridding the themostat and proving that the compressor (pump) still worked and the fridge could still get cold. Then I ordered the required part over the Internet.

    My total cost was £10 plus an hour of my time.

    Regards
    George
  • pattycakepattycake Forumite
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    George, What a handy chap you are to have around.

    A bit off topic, but my fridge packed up shortly before Christmas. Only about 3 years old. I guessed it was the thermostat as I had the same problem on a regular basis with my old fridge. Anyway, called the engineer, 20mins in the house (and he had a cup of coffee!), £12 for the part, total bill £45.

    Scandalous.
  • pattycake wrote:
    ...called the engineer, 20mins in the house (and he had a cup of coffee!), £12 for the part, total bill £45.Scandalous.

    pattycake

    If the part was the thermostat, at least he doesn't appear to have cheated you too badly, though. I was quoted £25 for a genuine Zanussi thermostat, or £10 for the aftermarket one which I bought. I bet they are both made in the same factory. Anyway the £10 one works perfectly, whereas I suspect many fitters would insist on using the £25 version, or even just charged £25 for the £10 one. Actually my thermostat was £8 before p&p. So was yours probably, plus 50% markup equals the £12 you were charged. Just a guess. No getting around high labour charges, though.

    Regards
    George
  • Alison_B wrote:
    Thanks for the replies. After having the engineer out and him not knowing what the problem was, we decided it would be cheaper to replace the boiler and get a guarantee with it rather than go down the line of him trying various parts and charging us for them.

    Hells Bells! Is a central heating boiler, replacement cost about £2000, really in the 'cheaper to replace than fix' bracket? If it is, then the world is truly going mad.

    SJB
  • robowenrobowen Forumite
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    everything is fixable, you just need a plumber who knows what he is doing.
    Even calling the manufacturer out to replace the part must be cheaper than a new boiler..surely.

    and as for the repairman who charged £33 per hour, This will be a fixed hourly charge. dont forget, he may have to fix 5 or 6 fridges a day to earn an average wage for a tradesman and they won't be in the same street. travelling back and forth kills time in the day as well.

    This sounds like an honest decent bloke here, £45 to fix a fridge is a bargain.
    If only everything in life was as reliable...AS ME !!
    robowen 5/6/2005©

    ''Never take an idiot anywhere with you. You'll always find one when you get there.''
  • I agree £45 to come out and fix your fridge sounds a very reasonable amount..I think people have to accept that the days of someone getting in their van, driving to you, fiddling around for a bit and charging you £10 whatever the problem are long gone...Have you seen the price of houses recently???!!!
    The Early bird may catch the worm ...but its the second mouse that gets all the cheese!
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