Powerflushing a BoilerMateIII system

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Powerflushing a BoilerMateIII system

Post  dchanlok on Sat Feb 05, 2011 7:44 am

Hi

We have a BoilerMate III system in our house; it is about 11 years old. It has been working well, but before Christmas some of the radiators downstairs weren’t working and the expansion tank in the loft was overflowing. After investigation we found that the water in the expansion tank was boiling hot and that the ball valve was broken and the tank was overfilling. We had a company come in to fix the problem and they also replaced a pump that was working intermittently, which was why some of the radiators weren’t working properly. They left after putting cleaning agents in the expansion tank so that they could ‘clean’ the system.

They came back yesterday to drain down and refill the system to get rid of the cleaning agents. When it came to refilling they couldn’t do it. They said that there were many airlocks/blockages so they backfilled it but the system wasn’t working correctly, but we did have hot water. They recommended that the system be powerflushed. We agreed after making sure that it was safe to do this on our system, and as we have concrete flooring both upstairs and downstairs we were worried about leaks. They assured us it was ok.

They carried out the powerflush, refilled the system, and told us that everything was working ok, but for one radiator in the kitchen which was cold, but they said that it was the thermostatic valve and it may start working, and to see how it goes over the weekend. We presumed that they had tested the hot water as we would expect them to. They left, and within 5 minutes we found out that we had no hot water. Some of the radiators that were working went cold. I put on the immersion heater so that we had hot water last night and today, but still not hot water.

They came back this morning. We were informed that there was an airlock in the main cylinder and that it wasn’t filling to capacity so the hot water couldn’t be used by the taps etc. They pumped out the air, told us that the air valve on the top of the BoilerMate III was blocked (we presume this was caused by the powerflush as before this happened we had hot water so presumably the cylinder was filling to capacity). They then filled the cylinder and unfortunately it started leaking. It is only a small leak but we had water through our kitchen ceiling, and as we have concrete floors it must have been leaking overnight which again gives us reason to believe that they cylinder was filled to the top. They removed part of the outer casing of the cylinder to see if they could find the leak. Eventually they took off the cover and about 10” down from the top there was a crack. They told us that in their opinion the cylinder had never filled to the top, that the crack could have been there for a while and it had nothing to do with them.

We think that the powerflushing and has caused this problem. What is your opinion? We would really appreciate your feedback as we have a meeting with the company tomorrow morning to try to resolve this issue.

Thanks

Debbie

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Re: Powerflushing a BoilerMateIII system

Post  mike on Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:47 am

It says in the book for all thermal stores NOT to power flush the unit.
To disconnect it if you want to power flush the rest.
Where are you in the uk?
Mike
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Norfolk

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BoilerMateIII

Post  dchanlok on Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:33 am

Hi Mike

Thank you so much for answering my questions so quickly. We had the company back this morning. They are now saying that the powerflush had nothing to do with the cracking of the cylinder, this was caused by the fact that the air valve that goes back to the F&E tank at the top of the unit was blocked (not by them carrying out the powerflush, although everything was ok before they did it!) and the cylinder didn't ever completely empty. They didn't check that the cylinder was empty. So when they then started to drain down and fill up the system (which they did a quite a few times) it created a vacuum so the copper expanded and contracted and caused the cylinder to split. If you were draining down this system would you use the drain at the bottom of the BoilerMate III? They didn't they drained it from a radiator downstairs in the hallway. We also have microbore piping on our heating system, and someone said that it would take quite a long time to drain down (the cylinder holds 190l of water) and wouldn't they have known if the cylinder was draining because the water draining out would have been hot? Is there a way of checking if the cylinder is empty or not? And before draining down/filling up should they have checked that the air valves etc were clear? In your feedback you said that these systems should not be powerflushed unless the BoilerMate III has been disconnected. Should someone who is supposedly an 'expert' and knowledgable about the system know this? What do you think they should have done?

I would really appreciate more information and thank you in advance as I believe that they didn't really know what they were doing and I have to meet with them again tomorrow.

Thanks again and I live in Surrey.

Debbie

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Re: Powerflushing a BoilerMateIII system

Post  mike on Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:57 am

This has happened before and will again.
The book does say NOT to power flush.
Being 11 years old your trouble goes back to most likely when it was installed.
Not enough treatment was put in.
You need a minimum of 1 litre to every 100 litres.
This includes the unit and the heating system / boiler.
Sometimes 5 litres in some!
Have you had your boiler serviced regular?
Mike
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Norwich
Norfolk

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Re: Powerflushing a BoilerMateIII system

Post  dchanlok on Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:37 am

Hi Mike

Thanks again for answering so quickly. Our system was working really well after they put in a new pump, the problems only started after they put cleaner in the system and then came back to drain out the cleaner and refill the system. They obviously don't know the system that well or they would have disconnected the BoilerMate before powerflushing. When speaking to the representative earlier today, he really didn't have a clue that this should have happened. I have no doubt that he went off to find out some information. Wish he had done that before recommending the powerflush!

Does the information about not powerflushing come from the manufacturers manual? I can't find my original one, can I download one from the Internet?

Thanks again for your help. This forum is a great idea and hopefully anything that I've posted here will help someone else. If you are thinking of powerflushing your system with a BoilerMate III on it, make sure that your contractor disconnects first and knows what he is doing. We have had three days now without hot water or central heating. The lack of heating we can live with, we just put on more clothes, but no hot water is a real problem!!

Debbie

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Re: Powerflushing a BoilerMateIII system

Post  mike on Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:50 am

The cold feed and possibly the vent was blocked.
And IF the over flow goes out under the floor and NOT much fall then there could have been water in it.
ALWAYS remove the white plastic lid to the header tank.
If not when draining THE UNIT CAN BE SUCKED INWARDS / IMPLODE.
Yes you can down load the book for FREE from GLEDHILL website.
Perhaps it may be better for you to call the Gledhill technical line which is 60p per minute.
Tell them your story and confirm my answers.
If you record your call you can then play it to that representative.
You need a new unit if Gledhill a Boilermate BP. Or a Torrent cylinder.
Both units involve pipe work changes and DO NOT come with the pump and 2 way or 3 way valves etc.
Albion does the Mains flow unit which may be better to fit in some cases. But again there would be changes to make.
At a guess with out seeing the location and sizes etc I would say the cost would be at least £2000.
There is nothing which will go straight in.
If you change to a combi the water pressure will be nothing to what you have had.
Speak to Gledhill.
Who was the firm you had? Was it a big company?
Mike
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Norfolk


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Re: Powerflushing a BoilerMateIII system

Post  dchanlok on Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:33 am

Hi Mike

We used a local, medium sized company who was recommended to us by a friend. As you can imagine she is very upset about the way the company have gone about their business. I took your advice and called the Gledhill technical team. They were extremely helpful and friendly and explained things in a way that I could understand. They confirmed everything that you had told me, don't powerflush this system and if you do disconnect the cylinder otherwise you will have problems. Wish I had found your forum before letting them powerflush the system or called Gledhill to ask their advice before the work was done. Would have saved a lot of hassle.

Still, the company have at last said that they will replace the BoilerMate III with an equivalent unit so thanks for the recommendations in your last post. Hopefully we will have hot water and heating again before the end of the week.

Thanks again

Debbie

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Re: Powerflushing a BoilerMateIII system

Post  mike on Tue Feb 08, 2011 1:29 am

Hi Debbie;
We all make mistakes.
But at least yours can be put right.
This is not my forum.
It is another Mike
That's why I always sign MGC/H2O
I have been working on Gledhill units for nearly 4 years.
Even today I will still pick a Gledhill manual up.These things happen.
That's why I specialise in Gledhill's.
Another guy or firm will specialise in Glow worm, Valiant etc etc.
Which is easier for the guys and better for the consumer.
And you have more chance of a first fix call, rather than ordering parts and waiting.
It does concern me at times even on this forum what people will try and attempt.
And a little knowledge.............................
At the end of the day the firm who came to you tried their best for you in good faith.
Your unit was sludged up being 11 years old and bad install etc.
IF they sort it all out quickly for you and do a good job I would consider making some sort of payment.
Which would show a fairness from yourselves.
Mike
MGC/H2O
Norfolk


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