Help with antiquated heating in rental house

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Hi all,

I've just moved into a new flat (ex council) and am having trouble deciphering how the heating and water can best work without running up huge bills.

I've attached photos below. I think I've worked it out but would appreciate advice. Our greedy landlord and agents are as useful as a chocolate teapot at getting information out of (or repairs).

We have a Baxi gas boiler in the kitchen (model unknown c 1985) and a cupboard on the upstairs landing containing an immersion heater and a timer.

the heating and hot water are on the same timer (Danfoss 103 "all or nothing"!). When the timer comes on, there appears to be a pump somewhere (sounds like a tractor) which I think is moving hot water into the immersion. is this correct? We've switched the immersion off as I understand it's supposed to be for backup and uses a lot of electric. Basically I want to check that this sounds like the best way to run the hot water.

There is a thermostat on the front of the immersion, I turned this down which meant the hot water didn't run for the full time it was set. Is this basically the main control?

Finally, I'm under the impression we just need to turn all the radiators off individually to stop the heating?

Thanks for your advice!

Rosie
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Typical rental... It's a mess!
Cylinder jacket needs proper fitting and scaled up fittings need sorting. Immersion heater should operate as back up only. HW controlled by prog and cylinder stat, CH by prog and roomstat and TRVs for room by room if they are part of the system!
 
Hot water - yes, immersion off and maybe a good idea to set the cylinder thermostat a little higher.

Is there a room thermostat anywhere?

What type of valves are on the radiators?
 
I would ask for a new programmer or keep existing and go for a programmable room thermostat
The suggested setup will allow you to heat the water for hour or two independent of heating and heating will come on at different times to frost, background or comfort setting each day
I would go for additional insulation on the cylinder to keep the heat in and get the boiler serviced.

System may be old, but it is built like a brick outhouse with hardly any reliability issues that combi boilers suffer from
 
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Wow... Thanks for the quick replies.

In response to all the notes about radiator values- most of the radiators have NOTHING! Or the kind of plastic caps that just spin round. I have previously lived in an ex-council flat with communal heating which had valves with obvious settings on. Here... well- you can see it's not well serviced.

There's a thermostat halfway up the stairs- Satchwell- simple dial from 5-30 degrees.

Thanks again for all of your comments- it's really appreciated! I can now go and hassle the agency. We have a gas service booked next week so I'll check it includes the boiler.

Rosie
 
OK.

1) Cylinder thermostat controls the hot water temperature - leave it set at around 55 C
2) The thermostat on the stairs controls the room temperature - 21 degrees or so is usual
3) The timer controls when the system will operate - subject to the settings of the two thermostats.

You have a basic system - don't be to hasty to trash what's a reliable set-up & no need to hassle the agency!

The cylinder could do with a better jacket to save you a few pence in lost heat.
 
Rosie, the "service" booked may well not be a service at all.

It might just be a Gas Safety check.

You need to be given a Certificate of gas safety every year. Do you have one?

You should not even be living there if the Landlord does not have one.

The Agency could get into trouble with their professional body ( if any ) if they allowed you to move in without one.

They should also have shown you an energy performance certificate BEFORE you moved in. Did they do that? Could make them liable for a fine if not.

Tony
 
old gas boilers are perhaps 20% less efficient than newer boilers but still at least 50-70% cheaper than electric
 
OK.

1) Cylinder thermostat controls the hot water temperature - leave it set at around 55 C
2) The thermostat on the stairs controls the room temperature - 21 degrees or so is usual
3) The timer controls when the system will operate - subject to the settings of the two thermostats.

You have a basic system - don't be to hasty to trash what's a reliable set-up & no need to hassle the agency!

The cylinder could do with a better jacket to save you a few pence in lost heat.

Thanks, Newboy- I'm not trashing a basic system, just trying to get the best out of it as I have never lived anywhere with an immersion. Now I understand exactly how it works, I know what I do need to "hassle" the agency for: radiator valves! We're currently melting as most of them are missing or don't work.


Rosie, the "service" booked may well not be a service at all.

It might just be a Gas Safety check.

You need to be given a Certificate of gas safety every year. Do you have one?

You should not even be living there if the Landlord does not have one.

The Agency could get into trouble with their professional body ( if any ) if they allowed you to move in without one.

They should also have shown you an energy performance certificate BEFORE you moved in. Did they do that? Could make them liable for a fine if not.

Tony

Thanks, Tony. You're right- it is a gas safety check, we *should* already have a copy and we are also on the wrong end of a local rental market which gives you no support (four week turnaround for flats, and people regularly out-bid on cheap properties) so you end up in places before you have all the evidence and the agents already have your cash. I will, however, also ask them when it was last serviced as it's useful to know if it's in the best working order. Given the only evidence I have for a service is that one was conducted in 1986, I think it's okay to ask :)

Thanks all, and have a lovely day!

Rosie
 
The Agency could get into trouble with their professional body ( if any ) if they allowed you to move in without a gas safety certificate.

They should also have shown you an energy performance certificate BEFORE you moved in. Did they do that? Could make them liable for a fine if not.

Tony
 
If you are "melting," turn the wall stat down. You will probably hear the pump stop, unless the cylinder stat is still calling for heat. You do not need to keep adjusting the radiator valves.

A wall stat setting of round about 20 will probably be OK, adjust it by one or two degrees at a time and once you have found a comfortable setting, don't keep fiddling with it until you have seen the gas bill.

Pull up that red cylinder jacket to cover the exposed copper, especially at the top, and secure it with string. It will throw a lot of heat out if exposed.

Space out the red "on" and the blue "off" tappets on your timer. Start with it coming on half an hour before you get up, and going off before you leave the house, then coming on before you get home in the evening and going off before bedtime, then if necessary adjust it a bit at a time to suit your lifestyle.

If you have a small baby or an elderly person in the house you might want to turn down the heating to, say, 15C and keep it on during cold winter nights, but this will cost extra. Keep an eye on the gas meter and observe usage since handover. If you have a credit meter, there will be a daily standing charge of about 25p, then a unit (1 cubic metre) of gas will cost you roughly 32p, which should be more than enough for a day's hot water, but maybe only an hour of heating the house in cold weather. Prepayment meters are more expensive and undesirable. You ought to have a note of the meter readings when you moved in, or you might find yourself paying for the previous tenant's usage.
 
the wiring with exposed cores at the programmer must be rectified by the landlord asap

You will lose a lot of heat with no cylinder insulation - put on two or three jackets (do not cover the wire to the immersion heater on the top) and also get some cheap foam pipe insulation and lag the first metre or so of the pipes to/from the cylinder
 

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