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Hot Water/Boiler Issues (Rented Flat)

Discussion in 'Plumbing and Central Heating' started by clolouise24, 29 Jan 2021.

  1. clolouise24


    29 Jan 2021
    Thanks Received:
    United Kingdom
    Hi there,

    I recently moved into a rented flat - it's a nice flat and good for the money, but it's also pretty old and has (from what I can assume) a pretty old boiler system. When I moved in I didn't have hot water, the landlord and landlady haven't actually lived in the flat so when they came over they showed me a couple of switches it 'could be' (pictured below).

    I switched these on, left them for a few hours (it's freezing where I am and I believe nobody has lived in the flat since last April) so assumed it would take a while to come on - checked after a few hours it was still freezing. I looked in the airing cupboard and there was another switch in there, so decided to turn that on and leave it overnight. (Pics of boiler + switch below)

    Came back the next day, probably about 20 hours later - we could hear bubbling water and when I opened the airing cupboard it was a bit steamy so turned the switch in there off. The hot water was running but it was scolding hot, over the last few days it started to cool down and I thought I'd done something right and that it was just regulating itself - but this morning it's practically cold again.

    Spoken to the landlord and he said it seems like the boiler switch is the one to go with and to just turn it on for an hour or so when I need it. It's a bit annoying but not the end of the world since the shower is electric. I just wanted to ask if that sounds right? It's pretty obvious I don't know much about boilers etc (haha) but I just wanted a second opinion since the owners haven't lived in the flat themselves.

    Any advice is appreciated!

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  3. sxturbo


    12 Jan 2014
    Thanks Received:
    United Kingdom
    sounds like the stat in the imersion heater is not working, r it doesnt have a stat in it.

    for safety's sake the landlord should really have a proper timer installed.

    i presume the boiler doesnt heat the hot water?
  4. oldbuffer


    6 May 2010
    Thanks Received:
    United Kingdom
    1. What you have described and pictures is not a boiler, it is a combination water cylinder.
    2. Top (uninsulated) part is cold water storage.
    3. Bottom (larger) part with the red jacket insulation is the hot water cylinder.
    4. By the sound of it, your hot water is heated by an electric immersion heater.
    5. A modern immersion heater should have the following components:
    5a. The heating element itself, which is immersed in the water inside the cylinder.
    5b. An adjustable thermostat. This switches the electric current on when the water is cold, and off when it reaches the pre-set temperature. It is automatic.
    5c. An overheat thermostat. This will switch the current off if the water reaches too high a temperature, usually around 85 degrees. It is a safety device and has to be reset manually.
    6. It sounds as if you have an old style immersion heater without the overheat thermostat. And it sounds as if the thermostat has failed.
    7. I would request you get your landlord to replace the thermostat with a more modern one having the overheat thermostat incorporated into it.
    8. The thermostat sits in a "pocket" (a tube with closed ends), so no water drainage is needed to change it.
    9. The immersion heater and thermostats operate at mains voltage, so NOT a DIY job unless you are comfortable with working with lethal voltages and have the necessary equipment.
    10. The landlord is obliged by law to have an Electrical Installation Condition Report for any tenancy starting later than about September 2020 and for all tenancies including existing from about July 2021. (England, not sure about rest of UK).
    11. If the flat is all electric, you may have a dual rate electricity meter. If so, you may have two immersion heaters fitted. Normally one near base of cylinder which heats up overnight on cheap rate electricity, and one near or in the top which can be used to heat the top 1/3 of the cylinder if you run out of hot water. The upper one runs at normal rate electricity.
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