Britain's Eco-Boilers Freeze Over

Britain's Eco-Boilers Freeze Over

PostBy: JJLL On: Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:56 am

I saw this article today and thought some of you might find it interesting. Good luck to those of you across the pond.


http://www.thegwpf.org/uk-news/2124-green-shambles-britains-eco-boilers-freeze-over.html
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.


Green Shambles: Britain's Eco-Boilers Freeze Over
Thursday, 30 December 2010 19:46 Michael Hanlon, Daily Mail
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The recent cold snap has revealed a major problem with [green boilers]. Tens of thousands of people found themselves shivering as their shiny new boilers cut out without warning. In cold weather, the pipe that takes waste water from the back of the condensing boiler freezes solid, shutting down the system and in many cases causing permanent damage.

Five years ago, New Labour heralded them as the modern, clean and green way to heat your house. As a result, today there are already eight million ‘condensing boilers’ in homes across Britain. In fact, since 2005 it is illegal to fit any other kind.

At the time, John Prescott claimed they would massively reduce your carbon footprint and slash your fuel bills. As a result, every year some 1.2 million old-style ‘dirty’ boilers are scrapped in Britain and replaced by this wondrous new variety.

However, the recent cold snap has revealed a major problem with them. Tens of thousands of people found themselves shivering as their shiny new boilers cut out without warning.

British Gas is understood to have had 60,000 call-outs in Yorkshire alone. And the cost to call out a plumber? It can be between £200 to £300 on a bank holiday. And don’t forget about VAT.

‘We’ve had double the number of call-outs as in the same period last year,’ says Charlie Mullins, MD of Pimlico Plumbers in London, the country’s largest ­independent plumbing company.

‘It is a massive problem. Some customers were ready to move out because their condensing boilers broke. If I had a choice, I’d put in a non-condensing boiler every time.’

It’s all the more infuriating because the problem causing these breakdowns is so simple. In cold weather, the pipe that takes waste water from the back of the condensing boiler - which isn’t there in a normal boiler - freezes solid, shutting down the system and in many cases causing permanent damage.

But this problem is just one of many that have plagued this boiler design since they became popular in the Nineties. Many plumbers consider them to be little more than a multi-billion-pound con-trick.

In a regular boiler, the hot gases produced when the ­methane fuel is burned heat water for your ­radiators, dishwasher, taps and so on. But about 25 per cent of the heat vents out of the exhaust pipe in the form of hot steam and CO2.

In a condensing boiler, a condenser claws back much of the lost heat because as steam condenses into water, it feeds heat back into the system.

This can increase overall efficiency from 75 per cent to as much as 93 per cent, and reduce CO2 emissions - and your bills - by a commensurate amount. That, anyway, is the theory boiler-makers and ­politicians want you to believe.

In 2005, the then-deputy PM John Prescott drew up a masterplan to help Britain meet its CO2 emissions targets, as dictated by the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. This involved a new law ordering that all new and replacement boilers fitted to British homes - some 1.4m annually - must from that date be of the condensing type.
JJLL
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Harman SF-360 Boiler

Re: Britain's Eco-Boilers Freeze Over

PostBy: europachris On: Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:04 am

Nothing wrong with the technology as fundamentally it's the same as high efficiency gas (condensing) furnaces. It is actually the fault of the plumbers/installers of the "new" technology by not routing or insulating the condensate discharge lines to where they won't freeze up.

Granted, it usually doesn't get that cold in the UK (or Western Europe) in general, but obviously this is Mother Nature giving a big Image to the global warming theory. :P
europachris
 
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM 350/Iron Fireman
Stove/Furnace Model: Custom bituminous burner

Re: Britain's Eco-Boilers Freeze Over

PostBy: Sting On: Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:26 pm

The pulse engine in my cottage air scorcher, builds a HUGE ice dam in front of it. the colder it gets - the bigger the edifice of ice.

You go out there and clear it once in a while -- Daaaaa! :mad:
Sting
 
Other Heating: BurnHAM=NG-gas


Re: Britain's Eco-Boilers Freeze Over

PostBy: titleist1 On: Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:39 pm

My high efficiency condensing propane furnace doesn't have that problem in cold weather.....IT NEVER RUNS 'cause of my coal stove....bwahahahahaha! Besides, the condensate pipe is inside the basement. :D :D
titleist1
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite

Re: Britain's Eco-Boilers Freeze Over

PostBy: steamup On: Thu Jan 06, 2011 1:13 pm

In real estate it is location, location, location.

In HVAC, it is application, application, application.

Anyone in our climate quickly learns that condensate must be disposed of in a "warm" location.
steamup
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman-Anderson AA-130, Keystoker K-6
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: HS Tarm 502 Wood/Coal/Oil
Coal Size/Type: pea, buck, rice

Re: Britain's Eco-Boilers Freeze Over

PostBy: whistlenut On: Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:32 pm

...as you all have said: It ain't rocket science.....and if you live in a climate that freezes in the winter, you must protect ANYTHING susceptible to freezing. You can't change stupid, but you can try to regulate it!

PS: Digging in a roadway today and saw over 4 feet of frost. Hard diggin' too. 325 Cat with a 24" bucket.....sparks and rough on the teeth, and the machine... Water line below, no blasting, or hammering......

The same kind of thing we experienced 20 years ago with pump septic systems.
Plans called for a check valve in the pump pit. The shallowest point in the pressure system was where it entered the distribution box ( about 8" of cover). Hundreds of callouts in Jan and Feb....simple solution still done today: drill a 1/4" hole in the discharge pipe in the pump pit above the check and let it bleed back to the tank. Sure pump time is increased, but how many $500.00 service calls do you want to pay for? Engineers still don't address this in the design phase, but anyone experienced knows the procedure. :idea: :idea: :idea: :idea:
whistlenut
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA130's,260's, AHS130&260's,EFM900,GJ&VanWert
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Franks Boiler,Itasca415,NYer130,Van Wert
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Yellow Flame
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska-4,Keystoker-2,
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska,Gibraltor,Keystone,Vc Vigilant 2
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Van Wert, NYer's, Ford,Jensen.
Coal Size/Type: Rice,Buck,Pea,Nut&Stove
Other Heating: Oil HWBB

Re: Britain's Eco-Boilers Freeze Over

PostBy: carbonhagen On: Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:09 pm

The first web site will come up, just add www to the front of the url. Had trouble getting it to display properly in this response.

ukboilerquotes.com/boiler-scrappage-scheme-england/
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/news ... fears.html

http://www.suite101.com/content/uk-government-announces-boiler-scrappage-scheme-a179225
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.

http://www.buildersmerchantsnews.co.uk/ ... light.html

http://gatewaypundit.rightnetwork.com/2010/12/green-disaster-new-condensing-boilers-cant-take-the-cold-thousands-freeze-up-in-uk/
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/bargains-a ... age_id=510

Sounds like the problem is as much an installation issue as it is a lack of
understanding of cold weather maintenance, although the notion of forcing
everyone to get one of these boilers is absolutely ridiculous.


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#24 December 29, 2010 at 12:56 pm
Mannie commented:
A big part of the problem is British plumbing practice. You can see it in the picture. The drain line runs on the outside of the house. That’s why it freezes. When I lived in the UK, frozen drains were commonplace during cold winters. Many people ran hot water all night to keep the drains from freezing.
There’s nothing wrong with stealing all the heat from your fire and using it to warm you. I paid good money for that heat. But, like everything else, you need to do the technology bits right.
I live in Chicagoland. It gets colder than the UK. Our drains don’t freeze, because they’re inside or buried.
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#38 December 29, 2010 at 2:42 pm
marc in calgary commented:
Mannie #24 gets it.
The problem is the British plumbing code, we’ve got these same type of boilers here, and our plumbing code mandates they are drained into a floor drain inside the house, where it doesn’t freeze. It gets considerably colder here or in Chicago than in Britain and although this is purely a guess, I bet those folks in Finland and related areas don’t make the same stupid, (yes, Stupid) mistake.
Having the plumbing code in Britain changed will likely only take a “Royal Commission” as they call them… and something equivalent to an ObamaCare sized upgrade to their plumbing code.
Good luck with that.
Here’s a photo of one of those boilers, the white tube on the bottom of the boiler feeds to a neutralizer solution (because the condensate is quite acidic and loves to “eat” copper pipe) before draining into the floor drain.
I’d bet this unit would function normally down to at least – 40 without any problems.
I’m a plumber, although this isn’t my work in the photo.
http://i676.photobucket.com/albums/vv12 ... 112624.jpg
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The next nightmare
http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/news/artic ... _page_id=2
carbonhagen