Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Old versus New in Boiler Debate; If You Were Left without Heating in the Snow, It Might Not Be the Fault of Your Modern Boiler, Says Peter Fall.: House Doctor with Peter Fall of Clear Building Survey

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Old versus New in Boiler Debate; If You Were Left without Heating in the Snow, It Might Not Be the Fault of Your Modern Boiler, Says Peter Fall.: House Doctor with Peter Fall of Clear Building Survey

Article excerpt

Byline: Peter Fall

IT was bound to happen. In the week the Government launches its boiler scrappage scheme, the papers and radios are full of consumer comments that compared to the old boilers, "these modern boilers are rubbish".

So what brought this on? It appears that in the recent very cold weather, some of the modern boilers packed in. Investigations found that the culprit boilers were all modern, Class A condensing boilers. These are very efficient because they not only burn less gas to gain the same heat but they also take far more of the heat out of the flue gasses.

The downside is when you burn gas in air it generates a fair amount of steam, so if you take the heat out of the flue gas, some of the steam will condense and collect as water droplets. Normally this would flow out of the chimney and into the atmosphere, hence the generic title for the modern units as condensing boilers.

The recent problem was the condensation water trickled down its escape tube as normal but where the pipe was in the outside air the water froze into a block of ice, closing off its escape. Eventually, the condensate backed up the pipe and snuffed the boiler out. This wasn''t necessarily the boiler's fault. The condensate tube should be run inside as far as possible, with the end discharging in a protected position rather than the pipe being run along the outside wall, exposed to the coldest of weather. Some condensate tubes are connected to a waste pipe inside the house but I''m not comfortable with that - wastes block up far more frequently that a condensate tube freezes.

So, providing your condensate tube is correctly fitted and doesn''t freeze over, your boiler will give many years of trouble-free service. Well, maybe not. New boilers are far more sophisticated than the old boilers, which were basically a gas fire under a cast iron tubular box. …

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