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Discuss Servicing/ maintenance ground source, air source units & ecocent. in the Renewable Energy area at

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  1. Bunker

    Bunker Plumber

    For those of you that dont know me, Im an OFTEC oil engineer specialising mainly on service/ repair. Ive been asked by a few customers if I can service ground source and air source units including Ecocent cylinders (I have G3 for regular unvented).
    I know nothing about this stuff and I wont touch anything I dont understand.

    One customer (with alot of properties) had a quote from their installers for £180 for the Ecocent and £150 for the air source unit, plus parts plus VAT.

    Most of the properties are rented so the checks that are required annually must be done by an engineer.

    Question is, do I need a ticket for this stuff? I would of course get the appropriate training if its out there, there doesnt seem to be many people round here doing it, if any?

  2. Worcester

    Worcester Plumber

    Those sound very reasonable prices for maintenance of the specialist equipment and expertise needed, an annual service / inspection isn't a one hour job

    You will need a ticket, or at least prove competence, depending upon the ashp you may even need f-gas qualifications, on GSHP it includes checking of the collector circuits and antifreeze levels etc etc, there is a lot to do on both systems and you really do need to get at least the logic qualifications as a minimum.

    So invest about a grand and a week of your time (minimum to find out just what you don;t know!), plus then about 3 grand for the ashp equipment and another grand for the gshp equipment, then go on each of the individual installers courses because the equipment controls are all different..

    Welcome to our world of high investment :)
    • Like Like x 1
  3. lame plumber

    lame plumber Guest

    1 was paying around £200 a unit to service aircon units over15 years ago so that seems cheap to me being as they use similar principles
  4. gassafe

    gassafe Plumber GSR

    With the high service costs & astronomical price of future repairs they will wish they kept there gas or oil boiler!
  5. Ermintrude

    Ermintrude Plumber GSR

    Yeh cos oils cheap and service and repairs are buttons?
    • Like Like x 2
  6. gassafe

    gassafe Plumber GSR

    Compared to replacing a compressor and re-gassing by a refrigeration engineer then yes, buttons!
  7. Ermintrude

    Ermintrude Plumber GSR

    You don't charge enough / replace hoses nozzles clean flue?
    • Like Like x 1
  8. gassafe

    gassafe Plumber GSR

    I don't do oil lol...
  9. Bunker

    Bunker Plumber

    Well all that sounds alright if a basic service on 2 units will nett £320 for a mornings work. Amazing how renewable guys think only their trade is specialist and requires expertise.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Worcester

    Worcester Plumber

    You can't do two properly in a morning, our trade is specialist isn't oil?

    We don't and won't touch oil, there again perhaps I should send one of my guys on a couple of days course, and get oftec certified so I don't pay a good day rate to the opftec guys when we rip an old inefficient non-condensing boiler out and put in a high efficiency ground source heat pump... lo and behold we'd cut you out completely, and then when we do bi-valent we won't need you for the servicing either..

    That was never my plan, I respect your specialism.

    [RANT]Do you even have a clue what the costs are to become MCS acredited in the various technologies. - Don't knock what you don't know. - that is the TRUE meaning of ignorance[/RANT]

    1. lacking in knowledge or training; unlearned: an ignorant man.
    2. lacking knowledge or information as to a particular subject or fact: ignorant of quantum physics.
    3. uninformed; unaware.
    4. due to or showing lack of knowledge or training: an ignorant statement.

    Come on @Bunker, your better than that, all trades have their worth, and the renewables sector needs competent people with multiple skills.

    I don't knock the oilies, don't knock us.
    • Like Like x 1
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2014
  11. Bunker

    Bunker Plumber

    That was where I got my goat, that alone suggested that my trade didnt involve maintenance of specialist equipment and expertise. Thank you for clarifying that you do respect our speciality, that sentiment didnt come across in your original reply.

    You dont need an OFTEC qualified guy to rip out an oil boiler. Oh and to get your OFTEC will cost about £3k all in plus, believe it or not, we also have specialist equipment.

    I invite you re-read my op and extract the true sentiment from it, where I show respect to your trade and acknowledge that I wont be robbing anyone of work:

    My understanding of the service procedure was based on a quote from the installers who quoted half a day for one guy to do both.

    So, now lets give each other our goats back and stand back with a polite nod to each other with no offence meant, merely advice sought. I certainly didnt knock you atall.
  12. Worcester

    Worcester Plumber

    @Bunker, thanks, no offence taken or meant.

    - I've started a new thread to continue some thoughts you've triggered for me - your help appreciated.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Worcester

    Worcester Plumber

    Just completed a round of servicing on heat pumps installed by other installers, seems like they aren't interested in the maintenance.

    Over 2/3 where improperly configured and when we got there it was not a 'simple service' they needed complete analysis of the heating systems and also reconfiguration of the parameters - for example one was producing high pressure errors whenever hot water was needed, another had been set at 55° flow with underfloor heating on a Code 4 built house with no TMV's or TBV's, another was having communication faults beacuse the installer had used Cat5 instead if 3 core 0.75mm2 shielded cable. Another had a faulty DHW expansion vessel (dripping tundish, membrane ruptured..)

    We have yet to find another installers system without some faults showing on the heatpumps error logs...

    Each job ended up taking over 6 hours..

    We charged: £35/hour plus materials - seems fair to me..
    • Like Like x 1
  14. lame plumber

    lame plumber Guest

    to cheap if your a specialist imho, my cousin specialized in air con 15-20 years back and thats what he charged then! now I hate to think, but he no longer does more than 1 day a week at work, rest is on the golf course or on his boat. Amazing how millionaires live :)
  15. Worcester

    Worcester Plumber

    It's a balance - we want these new customers for a long time as to be compliant their systems have to be serviced annually, (no service records, no RHI payments :) ) plus being domestic consumers they aren't used to having hefty 'aircon' bills. Doing it right for them now means a guaranteed income for us for 7 + years - they aren't one off jobs. It also means that we get to do more - one of these has already asked us to quote for Solar PV and MVHR :) - Treat them right and they come back.
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