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Domestic heating is about 40% of our emissions. We as Installers and Engineers should all be doing a lot more to make this figure shrink – but there is no help or support or training for us, when we try. The Boiler Manu’s have no interest in making the millions of condensing boilers fitted in the last 10 years that still don’t condense, to ever do any better, as its not in their financial interests. It is far better for them to continue feeding the oversizing & replacement frenzy that we have here in the UK (1.8 MILLION boilers changed last year) rather than selecting the most suitable boiler so both the boiler condenses and the system is correctly balanced – and that does NOT mean just getting the rads hot.
We are so used to steam coming out the flue its now widely accepted as the ‘thing to aim for’ when installing, whereas in fact this is the very energy the manus have spent millions on, to keep inside the house rather than warming the planet. Not their problem they would say – “purchase this new boiler instead” & have a free trip to Vegas!

Can we really call ourselves Engineers if we don’t know the pump is adjustable? Or why you might need to adjust it (vital if you are going to get the return temps into even the top of condensing area) or what it is we adjust it to – or the effects of not adjusting it at all? The same with flow rates heat loss pipe sizing separation & a myriad of other things you need to understand to get a boiler anywhere near condensing point never mind this totally absurd idea that these things EVER run at anything like 96%. Let’s not forget also that the minimum modulation on most ‘common’ boilers is way in excess of the maximum demand of the property even at design temp (-4ish) so these boilers don’t modulate either turning into on off boilers their entire life.

Oversized boilers seldom condense & they don’t modulate so we may as well continue fitting Cast Iron boilers. At least they lasted 40 years. S&Y plans still won’t condense no matter how expensive a boiler you fit to it and SHAME on the powers that be, for allowing S&Y plans to continue for new installs after condensing boilers were made law. Shame on the powers that be for not enforcing low temp heating a decade ago. It’s not difficult and makes a massive difference (about 6%) straight away just for the price of a few upsized rads. Control manus promise the world but won’t be able to deliver any of it if the hydronics isn’t balanced the boiler is oversized and the pump pressure to high.

We as installers are abandoned on our own to resolve this. It’s nothing important – just saving the planet. A small % of ASHP are being correctly fitted but I think it fair to say a ASHP fitted by a gas boiler installer is doomed to fail. (Because it’s a fridge & not a boiler) So – what’s the solution? well – we need to shout louder & demand better. I am not sure who to – I have tried the green party (no Idea what they actually do apart from hug trees) and my MP but as most of these heating committees have their own agenda (usually about profit) the ‘green’ thing is merely a handy tool for them to generate more sales. Maybe Greenpeace will save us.
Installing PDHW is easier than S&Y plans & infinitely more energy saving. Most Manu’s don’t even advertise their boilers can do it & certainly the reps have no idea & the tech lines are not much better. To be honest most Installers don’t even know what PDHW is or how it saves us energy. Open-therm has been around for a decade but still is hardly heard of as the Manu’s generally like to just support Cold War technology with S&Y plans as it makes their life easy thus more profitable.

I really think these massive organisations have a corporate responsibility to the planet and not just their shareholders. The avarice of man (well a few men in suits) will kill us all off in the end. There are so few educational paths for us out there – we should be screaming about that as well. At the moment in the entire UK, explaining hydronics is me at the Heating Academy, Adam at Heat Geeks, Rob at Heat Engineer and (when his new place is up and running) Richard at the Intergas shop. Is that just an embarrassing joke or what? If anyone in a grey suit is reading this – where do we go to get the training we need? More notably where are the instructors coming from? Please please don’t say ACS centres as ‘a guaranteed pass’ is a phrase bandied about far too much to make the competency chitty anything but worthless and a good part of the reason we are in the place we are now. I don’t think anyone gas trained would disagree.
We as nations all got together to see off Nazism, Communism, Terrorism & Covid, but we don’t seem to give a toss about the very home we all live in. All of us – be it pipe polishers, combi bashers, decimal pointers, house bashers one-man banders or new build subby’s should jointly shout and scream about this.

When my granddaughter is old enough to ask, I want to be able to look here in the eyes & say ‘I did everything I could’. Shouldn’t we all be thinking this? We are completely controlled by the big companies & their marketing shenanigans. We end up buying what they want to sell us not the other way around? Let’s not forget chemicals (just whilst I am having a rant) We have been outmanoeuvred by sales and marketing to ONLY fit chemicals even though we could use clean fresh simple demineralised water (used all over the continent) which just has to be more environmentally friendly. Try telling anyone there are no brown envelopes or financial favours changing hands here?

Manus now make money out of selling filters – so that’s it – filters & chemicals is the only option even though some of these companies support VDi 2035 (fresh water) in Europe? This whole industry is just a sales con playing lip service to the real issue. Some of these ‘committees that control us’ are funded by the big boiler Manus – how can we trust them to act on behalf of the planet rather than their own financial gain? The populous really believe they have a heating system running at 96% efficiency. We have all been completely hoodwinked.
It needs one person in a two bed house to sue the installer for ‘not fit for purpose’ fitting a 35Kw boiler to win his claim – and PPI insurance claims won’t have a look in. Has BG ever installed a boiler that is correctly sized and offers efficiencies within a mile of 96%?

Those of us that know – are just waiting for the 650K ASHP’s a year to be fitted. If you realise the little we achieved in the last 15 years of condensing boilers just wait for the total chaos that is slowly starting with heat pumps when every plumber & his pal are fitting them. For the Manu’s its more sales more profit and to hell with the consequences.

The government forced the motor industry to reduce emission over the last decade and that trade has responded and complied. Why don’t we have a proper lobbying body demanding boilers that modulate down to 500 watts and pumps to match? Probably because the lobby groups are financed by the boiler manufactures so on it goes – profit first. We need an independent government agency to monitor all this. To set standards (not standards dictated by the Boiler manufacturers passion to maintain profits) but by the demands of our planet. Testing paid for by the people being tested is worthless. The money wasted on corporate hospitality boxes at football grounds could be invested into boilers that are the right size for modern homes that have a miniscule minimum modulation, have configurable pump pressures, can be configured for PDHW and can be range rated. Am I really asking for too much? We put a man on the moon 60 years ago.

So to you governing committees – what do you do all day? Are you demanding more suitable boilers? Not much point going low flow temp if still fitting massively oversized boilers. As ASHP goes into ‘floundering mode’ and boilers are with us for years to come, how is it the most popular cheap ultra-low spec boilers are still being fitted into new houses with only 2-5Kw load requirements at minus 4 outside when the minimum output of the boiler fitted is 7Kw? New house F&R spec is still 80-60? When are you going to start doing something about all this? My granddaughter and her entire generation are depending on you.


Author Kimbo

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