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Which condensing combi boiler ?????

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d.o.n.

from United Kingdom

Joined: 24 Dec 2005
Posts: 33
Location: Cheshire,
United Kingdom

PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2005 6:33 pm Reply with quote

Im doing up a 1930's semi and I'm going to fit a new condensing combi boiler but confused with the range and choices, everyone I ask tells me something different. First I was told to get a Worcester then a Vailant, then a Baxi, then a Alpha so I'm none the wiser. This needs to run 8 radiators and a shower - from the info that I have read so far Alpha sound good but can you assist with any info ???? :shock: TA

What is the ideal isar 30HE model like ??
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gazthepottertonengineer

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2005 8:14 pm Reply with quote

Rubbish you want a Baxi Platinum 33kw 5 year guarantee so you cant go wrong icon_wink.gif
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Paul Barker

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2005 8:29 pm Reply with quote

The Ideal boiler you asked about has a fairly good track record but is designed very badly from the point of view of repairs in the future so will cost you more to have fixed when it starts the long leg of faults that besots the last half of a modern combi's life. End may come sooner than necessary because you may get a few lazy guiys rounbd in 10 years who can't be bothered to skin their kbuckles and will sell you a combi swap.

Most other makes are reasonable to fix.

The cheaper Potterton condensing boiler is actually based on a very reliable tried and tested design and is very cheap for you. Potterton Performa 30HE
I get these for an incredibly low price through www.energy-smart.org.uk

I can't comment on the newer Potterton boiler gaz is talking about.

My personal choice is the Boulter Buderus 500-28c or 600-28c. boilers designed for the engineer. Hint, that's better for you too! http://www.boulter-buderus.co.uk

They do cost quite a bit more though, if money is an issue I strongly recommend that bargain potty.
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d.o.n.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2005 9:15 pm Reply with quote

thanks gazpotterengineer and thanks paul-that energy smart site you gave me seems cheap for the potterton you suggested. paul-have you fitted many of these and are these reliable/easy to get spares for. what sort of money would i be looking at to get one of these boilers installed approx(all rads and pipework already in situ) gazpotterengineer do you agree with paul that this is a wise boiler-the potterton to install.
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Paul Barker

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2005 10:16 am Reply with quote

It was originally the boiler which Baxi bought a manufacturer to aquire at a time they were losing on the reputation stakes. Around here they still have a bad name, other pockets of the country they recovered with this range.

When condensing became law or a little before they added a heat ex to make this boiler comply. It's the same basic totally reliable boiler with a few add ons to make it comply with new regs. I think it is the bargain of this era. I don't like fitting people boilers I don't trust for longevity or repairableness, so don't normally fit anything below the quality of the Buderus.

However I have fitted a couple of these over the period of a year and had no problems at all.

The fitter who trained me who had 25 years with the Gas board and the last 8 years on his own has fitted 50 of these this year and only had two problems out of the fifty. One was missing two screws, and the other was his fault for not powerflushing. Baxipotterton changed the pump and pcb (goodnes knows why that became necessary) and never said a word to him. I suppose the heatteam people are told when a guy has recently fitted 50 boilers so don't want to upset him.

Anyhow his word does it for me.

Before he discovered the non condensing version of this boiler a few years ago, he was Worcester through and through, but when the Junior first came out he had a lot of problems with them, and also he didn't like the attitute at that time of the service team and found it took them a long time to get to guarantee faults, and they ywere very critical of the installer at that time. Non of that means that was everyones' experience or that things are like that today, or that they haven't ironed out the first problems with the Junior, or that maybe my friends' experience with the Junior when it first apeared was unique. This is not a pop a Worcester just a passing on of the experiences which have brough me to where I am.

The Buderus reliues on just a few specially trained Worcester engineers, and it too suffers poor back up from the guarantee repair team, but I persevere because I have so much faith in the quality engineering of the boilers I knoiw that the service team will catch up with it.

If you have the money get the Buderus, if yopu are broke get that Potty.

Only my view, you'll get opposing views. I fit Buderus when it is a boiler I own, and my money is important to me.

Cheapest installation should be about 400 for a very simple combi swap including all extras.

Quality installation should be achievable for 500.

ANy extras like removal of dhw cylinder header tanks back boiler, major pipework expect another 500.

Should you pay less you won't get a powerflush. Actually round here hardly anyone has a powerflush, and being quite honest I've only recently made friends with mine. Mow I'm sold on it.

I'm also sold on the additional cost of 100 to put a magnaclean in the system, the user can see and remove the sludge (magnatite) as often as they feel so inclined.

As you wiull see me moan here boilers are not made to survive sludge like the old heavyuweights bruished it off, so get a system to deal with sludge or expect costly repairs over the life of the boiler until you are tearing your hair out.
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htgeng

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2005 12:23 pm Reply with quote

Paul Barker wrote:


Cheapest installation should be about 400 for a very simple combi swap including all extras.

Quality installation should be achievable for 500.

ANy extras like removal of dhw cylinder header tanks back boiler, major pipework expect another 500.
.


That sort of pricing sounds like running a charity rather than a business. A quality installation for 500? gimme a break! icon_lol.gif icon_lol.gif
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Paul Barker

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2005 8:12 pm Reply with quote

This is Scarborough, I'd be delighted to charge your prices but wouldn't have any customers.
Where are you based?
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htgeng

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2005 10:17 pm Reply with quote

Paul Barker wrote:
This is Scarborough, I'd be delighted to charge your prices but wouldn't have any customers.
Where are you based?


In east anglia. If you charge those sort of prices then that doesn't allow for unexpected work. I did a boiler swap recently that looked simple on the surface but took 3 days in total. As a rule of thumb I allow 3 days for a boiler change and a week for a system boiler, sealed conversion and controls upgrade.

I lose quotes all the time as its a very competitive market, but I don't work myself ragged chasing the cheap jobs either - been there done that! I know a plumber who works with 3 other lads and they do council work; a complete 8 rad install, all copper + boiler in a day for 1200 a job. In my opinion they are welcome to it!

Last month I quoted for a replacement boiler + some upgrades at 3k. The guy told me he had been quoted 1.5k for a cheap boiler, so I told him I work at the higher end of the market with quality boilers+parts and I'm more than happy for him to speak to my other customers for a reference. I'm doing an underfloor system for him, so I'll wait and see on the boiler upgrade.

Most of the jobs I do are 3-5k+vat.
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d.o.n.

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Joined: 24 Dec 2005
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Location: Cheshire,
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2005 10:43 pm Reply with quote

hi paul-went on that website for the burdeus but there where no prices listed,wheras the other site for the potterton came in around 460ish(i guess this doesnt include vat)........any idea how much for a suitable burdeus(model) to run as i said earlier -a 3 bed semi,approx 8 rads and shower. never heard of these boilers before...............i guess they are german(maybe a subsidiary of bosch/worcester) reading between the lines. why do you recommend this make so much-is it because of there typical german quality engineering. have you fitted many of this make and is customer satisfaction guaranteed.....................thanks for your informative info.
excellent website-only found yesterday.
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Paul Barker

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 9:44 am Reply with quote

Hi d.o.n.

The best combi 600 28c costs me 950 with the vat and flue. A dedicated modulating radio programmable room thermostat is 70 plus vat. This particular combination is the best, the boiler burner is modulated directly according to room temperature, consequently the boiler quietly puffs away at low flame most of the time. A boiler which does this will last longer than one which comes on at full steam and goes out ad nauseum, and a boiler which modulates from room temperature wil condense more, and is quieter. The life of a boiler is closely related to the number of on off cycles. Also say you have a set temp of 20c and it is much colder, the boiler will initially come on hard but as temperature approaches 20 will modulate down in anticipation.This is partnered with an automatic variable head pump.Comfort, quietness and economy ensue. Because the receiving unit receives it's power from the boiler and the sender is battery powered no Part P qualification required (even though I have one) so cheaper to install.

If you do get a fitter to install a 600-28 c warn him not to use the template, every one I've had has the wrong distance for the flue from the mounting brackit it's one inch out. Fist time I found out once I was up the step ladder boiler in hand, I told them but they don't seem to have changed the templates, so just get your fitter to double check with measurements. The wiring for the radio stat is simple when you know how, there are only two wires but get your fitter to give me a call (http://www.pbarkerofscarborough.co.uk/index.htm) and I'll make it plane sailing for him. The thing is it's designed for the 500 range so the insrtuctions aren't explicit how to use it on the 600 range, it is the eassiest thing in the world once you know, but until you know it will trip you up.

The 50028c also works off the same stat boiler is about 100 less, doesn't have the variable head pump, slightly different hot water modus operandi but same overall performance, doesn't have as m,uch sound proofing and has a plastic cover. The 500 24c is another 40 less I think, I never offer anyone a 24 kw combi these days. To be honest I don't like copmbi's anyway and only fit them because people want them despite my advice so I couldn't bring myself to fit them a 24kw version, I don't even know whay they are offered, there is no reason in this day and age not to start at 28kw for the price of a 24kw.

The story is Nefit in Holland have been making these very reliable condensing boilers over 20 years, they have already the largest market share in Europe. When they saw that UK was coming into line with condensing boilers they wanted to get into the UK market which is the largest boiler market in Europe (see what size that will make them as a company). In their infinate wisdom realising Nefit doesn't roll off the English tongue they came up with the name Buderus, and to get a foothold in the UK market bought Boulter (or vice versa maybe a company man if reading this could correct me if I'm wrong about the direction of the takeover) who already market an excellent oil boiler in the UK.

A parallel bit of history is that Bosch were shopping for a boiler and wanted to buy Buderus but couldn't for some reason so they bought Worcester. However as soon as Buderus got established in the UK they said that's what we wanted all along, so bought it anyway and run it alongside sister company Worcester through a leg of their organisation called BBT. Some (not enough yet) of the Worcester engineers are trained in Buderus, when they come out they have Worcester on one side of their jersey Buderus on the other.

Why I like the boiler.,

Exemplary performance, thoughtful design (thinking of the service repair guy). Easy access to all components, easy change easy service). Read, can be kept going probably forever.

The part which writes off most boilers eventually is the heat exchanger. On these boilers undo four snap over clips and the outer housing splits in two, take out two retaining slides and pull off the specially treated (so it doesn't get clogged up with aluminium oxide) aluminium coil heat ex, about 5 minutes. New one is about 125. Same story for all parts.

There is much talk about heat exchangers at moment as manufactrurers find their feet in the condensing market. Buderus have done their r and d over 20 years with this same heat ex, they have a row of boilers back at base still going from inception with this heat ex. They also have a spray to coat the heat ex at the anual service which assists it in it's aluminium oxide rejection properties, but as it's branded Nefit they won't introduce it to the UK at the moment. I might see If I can get some from a dutch engineer.

If you aren't aware aluminium expands hundreds of times it's volume as it oxidises, small stones or grit are formed and in a badly designed heat exchanger the manufacturer doesn't make it easy for you to remove it, it clogs up the fins and your boiler will die of choaking and run very poorly until it's dead. The Buderus is the simplest heat ex to get at in the world is already designed to shed this oxide (into the condensate trap which must be cleaned anually) but even if not you can remove heat ex as described above, and even changing it alltogether is economical.

Make no mistake about it the future is grim for combi boiler longevity.

A big problem is that modern boilers can't cope with sludge, this is being blamed on the installer. Blame who you like sludge is a fact of heating systems, make your boilers better tolerate it. Hence avoid stainless steal heat exchangers which due to the poor transfer characteristics of thje material require maney more but much smaller passageways for suffcieint efficiency. There is already a bottle neck in a combi in the form of the plate dhw heat echanger, don't make it worse by adding a problematic main heat exchanger.

ht geng, if you r still with us. I take your point.
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Paul Barker

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 9:56 am Reply with quote

I should add that I realise it is horses for coarses. There is a massive price differential.

I would say though that in making boiler choices when considering the expendable rather than the repairable version bear in mind the cost of paying the installer to swap over your cheap boiler for another at least twice during the lifespan of a quality combi and the cost of many service repiar trips not to mention the difficulties of staying in all day off work to let him in for the umpteenth time.
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ChrisR

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 10:42 am Reply with quote

Interesting reading Paul.
A few thoughts as I went.. Not sure about this aluminium oxidation thing. I thought it was accepted that once a boiler had had its first service there wasn't anything much collecting in the condensate trap. That would seem sort-of reasonable, that small manufacuring surface asperities might come off, but surely it can't be right that the heat exchanger oxidises away all its life?
"spray to coat the heat ex at the anual service which assists it in it's aluminium oxide rejection properties" That doesn't sound quite right icon_confused.gif

I seriously don't like it when manufacturers send out the wrong information (connections) or parts which don't fit. You have to wonder what else they got wrong but couldn't be bothererd to correct. A mounting bracket not fitting, is unforgivable.

"Hence avoid stainless steal heat exchangers which due to the poor transfer characteristics of thje material require maney more but much smaller passageways for suffcieint efficiency." I thought theyused a tube, poshest a rectangular section tube - the ones I've seen were quite big section. Granted steel isn't as good a conductor as aluminium, but it makes the h/e bigger, not less efficient per se.

Met a German tenant recently who was looking over my shoulder into his leak-ridden Puma, with a certain amount of disdain. He said, "Vee only use Boo-dair-oos heat kettles in my properties in Germany. Can you get me a Boo-dair-oos?"

German for boiler is "Heizkessel".
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Paul Barker

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 12:55 pm Reply with quote

You know hopw it is Chris you go tottering up the step ladders with your labourer at your back so if you topple you fall forward towards wall and not backwards onto hard kitchen floor, you get up there to the point of no return and make a final effort forwards with heavy boiler laden arms outstretched hoping to hang it seemlessly onto those two hooks which most manufacturers provide, only to find it don't line up with the 110mm hole you already drilled. Fortunately I had space to move Jig 1". I don't remember the direction.

Anyhow I now measure all templates and boilers.

A small misgiving but once known about not a problem. When discovered teetering at top of step ladder flue hole already drilled, quite a delay to the job and much eggfaced plumber if customer onlooking as mine was. Hard to blame anyone but self without looking like a wife beater trying to explain self.

Your points noted with interest.
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Aground

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 3:37 pm Reply with quote

I note with interest the postings on this forum, and particularly take ineterst in the bit about combi boilers lifespan/quality etc.

Our existing Ideal Mexico boiler is due for replacing (20 yrs old but still working well)so that we can get the benefits of a new system and make our property easier to sell when the time comes. The plan was to replace the boiler with a pressurised system and also replace the rads, but use existing pipes wherever possible. However, a heating engineer recommended recently that we should consider a combi boiler rather than a pressurised system as this would be much cheaper to install and not require a tank. He did make us aware of the flow/temperture problem of too many taps being used at once but could be overcome by fitting a bigger boiler than required. Other than that this it seems like a good idea.
icon_question.gif
I would be grateful for opinions from professionals or people who have replaced conventional systems with combis.
Many thanks.
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snes

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 4:04 pm Reply with quote

Paul. if I may ease onto this thread, although really I should be PM-ing you.

Your various postings re Buderus boilers have converted me - so I mailed the company asking for catalogues for 500 and 600 ranges plus list of local installers using their products. (Weissman could do this even with their relatively small user base.)

Their response? One leaflet, for the 500 range, no mention of the 600's and no mention of any installers.

So while you are doing enormous amounts for BB publicity, unpaid, they couldn't seem to be a***d.

And this is a fledgling brand, trying to break into a new market!

Your (welcome) thoughts on this Paul. To others, sorry if I seem to have hijacked a thread!
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