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Discuss Second opinion on plumbing methodology to fix our boiler in the Plumbing Forum area at UKPlumbersForums.co.uk.

  1. GoatKarma

    GoatKarma New Member

    Hello everyone, I hope you can help..I'm a total dunce when it comes to all things plumbing, apologies if posted in the incorrect forum too! Sorry this post is going to be quite long/descriptive but I was just hoping to get a second opinion on the methodology the plumber used to fix our boiler, and the final costs. Rest assured, I am absolutely not looking to wriggle out of paying any costs, but just to want piece of mind that everything was "justified".

    We moved into our first bought house in March, with a boiler that may have not been treated very well (an ideal combi 35, doesn’t look like its been serviced for a while). The problems I reported to plumber were:
    • Leak from inside boiler,dripping out of bottom of case (causing a wee bit rust at the side of the casing)
    • Pressure loss
    • Bit of water dripping often from the outside valve/overflow
    • Loud noise when hot tap on (not every time though)
    Here's the timeline of events since then:
    W/B 25/03/19
    • Plumber visited, I asked him to give quote for above problems to be fixed
    • Plumber noticed something wasn’t sitting correctly inside boiler that would be causing leak, and that the boiler needs new expansion vessel to fix pressure loss
    • Following the “sitting correctly” fix, the boiler was still leaking though.
    W/B 01/04/19
    • Plumber visited to install the new vessel but ordered wrong one. Whilst there, he found source of the leaking problem : a leak from the sump. He said he will check with manufacturer (Ideal) to see if he needs a new seal. He will also order correct vessel and return the following week.
    • Following this I googled and saw that a cracked sump is common with this model and notified plumber that it’s probably the entire sump that needs replaced.
    W/B 08/04/19
    • Plumber returns to install new vessel and sump, but had ordered wrong sump, so only installed vessel. He confirmed though the current sump is cracked.
    • The following evening, the pressure dropped much quicker – from 1.5 to 0.5 in under 12 hours. I notified the plumber, who was going to return the next day anyway to install the correct sump. He says it needs a new pressure released valve which he will get from merchant.
    • The plumber visits the next day, installs the correct sump and performs a service. The pressure release valve hadn’t arrived so will need to return the following Monday to install.
    • Plumber explains that the boiler still isn’t healthy following a service (the readings took a while to be "ok"?), and that I should just contact Ideal to arrange for them to come out to fix the rest.
    • He offered to cancel the order for the pressure release valve, and just leave that for Ideal too.
    • He says the noise for hot water could come from a number of sources in the boiler and he isn’t sure where, and to leave it to Ideal.
    • He also mentioned whilst servicing, an air valve(?) was faulty so he just closed it, and to leave for Ideal.
    • Decide to continue with the installation of the PRV as there has been so many changes so far, I don’t want to have to pay for all this, and then start again with another plumber on top.

    W/B 15/04/19
    • Pressure release valve is installed on 15/04/19
    • Notice on the 16/04/19 that there is a new leak on the joint/valve for the pipe that re-fills the boiler/pressure (it was not leaking previously). Plumber confirms he needs to now change that valve.
    W/B 22/04/19
    • Chase up Plumber on 22nd, asked if the new joint/valve has arrived, and he confirms he will visit on 23rd.
    • Plumber installs the new joint/valve on the 23rd.
    • Pressure still dropping
    • Notice the next joint/valve along is now leaking, on 24th, contact Plumber who confirms this wouldn’t affect pressure but needs replaced.
    • On the 24th, I check boiler again and see another new leak location in the joint/valve with the pressure gauge on it (not leaking previously), contact Plumber.
    • On 25th, I then note the magnaclean is also leaking too from the top bolt too (not previously leaking), contact Plumber
    • Plumber responds on 25th saying he will replace other leaking joint/valve, and look at magnaclean.
    • So that's 3 new leaks: 2 valves/joints(to be replaced), and magnaclean.
    W/B 29/04/19
    • Plumber arranges to replace the leaking gauge/valves on 02/05/19
    • I bought a o-ring magnaclean service kit for Plumber to check the magnaclean too, as I was trying to expedite completion - I did not want him to say he needed new o-rings, then we would have to wait longer again!
    • Following Plumber fixing the above, I note pressure is dropping much slower, but there is a leak from the joint/valve that connects to the back of the magnaclean (not present previously)
    • Plumber pops back 03/05/19 to tighten the leak above
    W/B 13/05/19
    • Pressure still dropping, but not as badly – although have heating on less, probably now 0.5bar in a few weeks (estimated..see below).
    • Also note the new pressure gauge installed with the new valve on 02/05/19 is reading incorrectly – it does not match the boiler pressure by about 0.5bar.
    • Plumber says just to note the discrepancy and keep using, no offer to check/fix.

    Total bill : £600 for all above, which includes the following parts:
    • CH inlet valves
    • Cold valve
    • Heat exchanger sump
    • Expansion vessel
    • Pressure relief valve

    So my question before I pay this bill : does the above seem like the ‘standard’ way an experienced plumber would tackle this issue, or should I be concerned with his methodology to end up at the point we are at now, where it is still losing pressure and I’m about to be £600 poorer?

    Would it be normal for one valve to start leaking, following the replacement/repair of another one near it, in an almost chain-reaction!

    I do not think there’s any foul-play or malice at all, but just want reassurances that this is pretty standard fare, and it’s always good to have a second opinion!

  2. Rob Foster

    Rob Foster Top Contributor!!

    Modern condensing combi boilers of the cheaper variety
    are prone to all the above. Ideal are the best selling boiler manu in uk but NOT the best by miles. If your ...plumber..should be GSR has carried out all this work then
    why withhold payment. Maybe with hindsight you should have thrown the thing away and put a decent replacement in. You took the house on board with full knowledge the boiler had been not
    serviced etc. Your chosen engineer has not made a fortune out of you
    just pay him and maybe he will
    return when something else goes ..Rob Foster aka centralheatking
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  3. ShaunCorbs

    ShaunCorbs S. Mod Trusted Plumber GSR Top Contributor!!

    Sounds like he’s inexperienced with ideal boilers as it’s the first thing you check (the sump)

    Also guess he didn’t take the gc number for the boiler hence the wrong items ordered

    It’s one of them
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. GoatKarma

    GoatKarma New Member

    Thank you both for your input, it's really appreciated. Just to reiterate what I mentioned in the original post: this is not an attempt to withhold payment at all. I want to understand whether the timeline seemed 'expected' . If what occurred was due to engineer inexperience, I chalk that up to my inexperience in not checking if the engineer had worked on Ideal boilers before. All a learning exercise :)
    • Like Like x 3
  5. Craig Watson

    Craig Watson Plumber GSR Top Contributor!!

    You would expect a decent engineer to be able to diagnose on one visit. Repair on the second visit and as one fault can lead to another, it's not unexpected for another visit after that. So you can take from this that 3 visits max should be all that's required. Any more visits than this and it then becomes cheaper to have a fixed price repair from the manufacturer. Your plumbers multiple visits were down to his own incompetence and having you expect to pay for all those visits is perhaps a little unfair in my opinion.
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  6. galaxy_plumbing

    galaxy_plumbing Plumber GSR

    once you start repairing older boiler which havent been serviced annually you will start having problems. Sump used to be problem on older Ideals. Fix price repair from Ideal would be cheaper.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Rob Foster

    Rob Foster Top Contributor!!

    It costs most outfits like BG etc
    £65.00 per visit...so success on the 1st visit is their aim but maybe the second is acceptable.
    Often non syndicated outfits ie
    one only operations do not have to perform to this criteria so this is why most fellas concentrate on new fits, there is really no profit in remedial work but if you have a good reliable fitter then cherish them
    because they are often working at a loss even if they dont know it....centralheatking
  8. Millsy 82

    Millsy 82 Plumber GSR Top Contributor!!

    Sometimes some engineers have a nightmare. Sometimes you touch one thing and then something else goes wrong shortly after.

    The sumps are fairly common but maybe he hasn't worked on loads of ideals no big deal I worked on a main the other day and hardly ever come across them. I do tend to always replace the prv if I'm replacing the expansion vessel.

    Some filling loops are shocking and if you use them they start leaking. The woseley ones seemed to be the worst.

    A £600 bill isn't uncommon you have probably had about £300 worth of parts minimum then they will put their mark up on it and then labour on top.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. OffshoreGas

    OffshoreGas Active Member

    It doesn’t sound like you’ve had the best experience with your plumber.

    If he’s young or new to the game try and stick with him as he will no doubt improve with time.

    It’s always difficult because you generally struggle to get the good guys to turn up because they are generally flat out.
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