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DIY central heating installation?

Discussion in 'Plumbing and Central Heating' started by BlueC, 10 Oct 2013.

  1. BlueC

    BlueC

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    Hi

    Got a fright when looking again at projected costs for our refurb :eek: so looking at what bits we can reasonably do ourselves. Is putting in my own central heating system feasible and would it save me a decent wedge of money? Ball park our engineer reckons he'll charge £300 per rad fitted so that is an expensive job that I could do with saving some coin on.

    I am handy and have done a fair bit of plumbing, electrics, fitted kitchens, etc in the past but never installed a full system. I would obviously get a Gas Safe engineer to do anything involving the boiler, but as far as putting in pipes and installing rads goes I'm tempted to tackle it myself.

    System will comprise...

    11 x radiators
    2 x towel rails
    2 x plinth heaters
    I would like to put it on 2 separate zones - basement and ground floor both with their own room thermostats and TRV's on all but one or two rads.

    We have very good access for the pipe runs as we have a sub-floor void and a basement.

    What do you reckon? Do-able? Save me a bit of money? I would need to learn a lot about how these things work as I'm only vaguely aware of the flow and return closed systems.

    Thanks for any thoughts!
    Chris
     
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  3. Agile

    Agile

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    That's all depending on your capabilities.

    Would be best to pay engineer to give you detailed advice on layout and zone valves.

    If I was doing that as well as the boiler installation it would not be too much extra.

    Tony
     
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  4. BlueC

    BlueC

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    Thanks Agile that's not a bad shout. We get on well with our engineer so I will ask him if this is something he'd consider. I'm pretty sure a couple of hours spent with him explaining it would get me 90% of the way there.

    Capability wise I am pretty confident - it's more the technical aspects that I'm unsure about but as you said the engineer could put me straight on that.

    The next thing would be sourcing the parts. Are online retailers competitive with trade prices or would I be best trying to swing a trade account somewhere?
     
  5. gasanstuff

    gasanstuff

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    I did this for a customer last year. I fitted boiler and gas pipe etc and he fitted all the radiators and pipework back to 500mm from boiler.
    I connected up final bit.

    When i filled up the system he only had 33 leaks.
     
  6. BlueC

    BlueC

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    :LOL: :LOL:

    That sounds just what I need, except the leaks!
     
  7. Agile

    Agile

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    I had one like that with four leaks!

    He was meant to have filled it before I came!

    But he is a very friendly fellow with a PhD and I am far too helpful to him!

    I am now far more careful to avoid getting involved with DIYers leaks!

    Tony
     
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  9. greasedmonkey

    greasedmonkey

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    I did my own last summer.

    Pulled out the old open vent system and replaced with combi, changed all the nasty rats mess of microbore that was kinked everywhere and seemingly held together with araldite for 15mm copper, replaced about half of the rads, added a towel rail, added TRVs to all rads, flushed the rads I was re-using, fitted the boiler to the wall and did all of the water connections. I then filled and bled the system, added some inhibitor and called the gas safe man in to do the gas, commission the system and test everything.

    Not a single leak anywhere. One thing I did was practise making the soldered joints on some odd bits of pipe before I committed to doing it on the actual system, The first few were terrible, but I soon got the hang of it.
     
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  10. CBF

    CBF

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    It's got to be zoned upstairs & downstairs with seperate room stats anyway to comply with part L of the building regs
     
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  11. Galoka

    Galoka

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    Hi BlueC

    Yup, I'd say it was an eminently doable DIY job. Putting in the CH was the first job we did when we bought our old house about 16 years ago. And that was pre internet (for us, obviously it existed then) so info was not so easy to come by from your sofa :D It worked well, didn't make any dreadful mistakes,and as ever the satisfaction of having done it yourself

    The practical aspects of the installation are not that difficult for someone who has reasonable DIY experience - plumbing, hanging radiators, little bit of wiring up controls etc. the most difficult bit for us was probably getting the pipes into the all the places we wanted. As with all these things the pros tend to have more tricks up their sleeves for dealing with awkward situations, but a bit of time and thought sorts these things out.

    As to the technical/design side of things. I don't particularly think that you need to pay someone to design it, though if you want to shortcut the process and save some time and effort then that is one way to go about it.

    Personally, I see it as part of the whole process, and I like getting to grips and understanding it, and having a system that is just how I want it.

    There is a bit of technical knowledge to get you head round, but it shouldn't tax someone with a bit of technical bent. I gleaned all my information from a book, and guide published by a company aimed specifically at diyers installing their own CH. Of course there is presumably plenty on the net as well nowadays.

    In essence the job breaks down into:

    1. sizing the rads (doing heatloss calculations for each room is still the best way IMO) and the boiler.

    2. planning the radiator postions and pipe runs, zone valves, controls etc.- sizing pipe runs which need to carry enough water for the heating outputs of the rads they supply (in reality for a average domestic situations run 22mm pipe with the rads on 15mm pipe probably works fine)

    Don't forget HW if you are having a stored hot water of some sort of some sort.

    As ever, time spent planning is not wasted

    3. lists of materials. Think about plastic or copper (it doesn't have to exclusive either way) - there are certainly advantages to plastic pipe when retrofitting

    4. do it.

    5. Enjoy your nice warm house :)
     
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  12. gigz

    gigz

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    £300 per rad fitted :eek: is he supplying them for that price ?
     
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  13. BlueC

    BlueC

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    Thanks to everyone for replying!

    greasedmonkey - sounds like you did a tidy job. think I'll be going the plastic route as although I like copper it seems to be so much easier in plastic.

    CBF - thanks and noted!

    Galoka - wow that is really useful and very encouraging thank you! I think a book on the subject is a great shout because although the web is useful there is some right old crap spouted and I never know whether I'm reading good or bad advice! The amount of conflicting things you see is unreal. I think I'd enjoy it and I like the planning aspect as I can't stand starting something and feeling unprepared. I am going to get a few more prices for the job then price it up if I did it myself.

    gigz - yes, supplied and fitted. he said it was a ballpark way of working out what it would cost but would probably be less. also should be less as there is no channeling out or making good to do.

    Thanks everyone!
     
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