Inherited a seemingly ancient CH system...

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Hi all,

We've just moved house from a small place with a combi, to a place with a cylinder system. This type of system is all new to me, so apologies for asking any obvious questions!

Firstly, does anyone by chance know the approximate age of an Ideal Classic RS Room Sealed boiler? Corgi Home Plan require this to take out breakdown cover on it.

The system itself is pretty old from what I can tell. The fixed thermostat is in fahrenheit for one thing, and the on/off timing control is a clockwork abomination with red and blue pins that you move around a circle to control it. Having come from a home with a combined wireless digital programmable timer and thermostat, it's taking me a little while to adjust...!

Anyway, one of the first things I noticed was that even with the thermostat at minimum (42F or something), whenever the clockwork timer is ON, the pump seems to be running, and pumping water around the radiators, even though they are cold.
As I understand it for hot water, when the timer is on, water will be pumped from the cylinder to the boiler and heated, then back to the cylinder to bring it up to the temperature set on the cylinder's thermostat (is that right?!), but is it normal that during this time cold water will also be pumped around the radiators?

Again, sorry for any basic questions. I'm a DIY learner!
Cheers
 
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With that system you should have a 3 port valve which sends water to either hot water or heating.if it fails you'll get hot water but no heating.the ideal boiler is an old boy but!!! I'll get shot at for this but here goes I really didn't mind the classics run of the mill boiler IMHO.
 
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Hmm. Would that be located nearby the cylinder, or the boiler?
I have tried turning up the thermostat and the radiators did get warm while the pump was running. And we have hot water in the cylinder too, so it looks like we have both at the same time as it stands. Not at home at the mo though so can't confirm. It looks like there is an immersion heater in the cylinder but this is currently turned off at the switch (though the previous owners appeared to have this permanently on...!)
 
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does anyone by chance know the approximate age of an Ideal Classic RS Room Sealed boiler?
My father was a plumber and installed one in the mid to late 1990's I remember because it was the first heating system I wired up and so studied the manual in great detail. However, the boiler could have been in production for many years before or after this date.

The system itself is pretty old from what I can tell. The fixed thermostat is in fahrenheit for one thing, and the on/off timing control is a clockwork abomination with red and blue pins that you move around a circle to control it.
They can be easily and fairly cheaply replaced with modern versions. Although depending on the existing system layout then you may not get all of the facilities. For example, some systems won't let you have the central heating on without the hot water being on also.

Anyway, one of the first things I noticed was that even with the thermostat at minimum (42F or something), whenever the clockwork timer is ON, the pump seems to be running, and pumping water around the radiators, even though they are cold.

A couple of questions.

1. Are you sure that water actually being pumped around the radiators? Noise travels along pipes and it can be difficult to tell just by listening. The pump may be running to heat the hot water cylinder. Can you check this?

2. When you say water is being circulated around the radiators, and they remain cold, is the boiler cold too?

As I understand it for hot water, when the timer is on, water will be pumped from the cylinder to the boiler and heated, then back to the cylinder to bring it up to the temperature set on the cylinder's thermostat (is that right?!)
It depends upon your system. Some systems use the pump to supply the cylinder, others don't and rely on natural circulation (hot water rises, cooler water falls) often referred to as 'gravity circulation'

Do you have any motorised valves installed anywhere?

is it normal that during this time cold water will also be pumped around the radiators?
No it is impossible. If there is just one pump* fitted it will be pumping the same water around the boiler the hot water cylinder and radiators.

*I say this because there are some systems that have two pumps. One for the hot water and one for the radiators, but they are extremely rare.
 
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With that system you should have a 3 port valve which sends water to either hot water or heating.if it fails you'll get hot water but no heating.the ideal boiler is an old boy but!!! I'll get shot at for this but here goes I really didn't mind the classics run of the mill boiler IMHO.

OB: There is not nearly enough detail for you to jump to that conclusion.
It could also be 2 x zone valves or grarity primaries, as well as a plethora of other less common systems.
I can't recall if there is a pump over runder on this boiler, but if so, that being faulty could cause continual running.

Frankly, I would skip the contract and get a local RGI via a friend / neighbour recommendation. Unless you know the service history, arrange a service but tell the guy about the pump issue. Ask him if he is able to explain the controls BEFORE confirm an arrangement .

This boiler is as simple as it geto, and an " old hand" will know it inside out.

IMO
 
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Thanks for all the useful info! I'll hopefully do some investigating when I'm back at home, and try work out the answers to some of your points. We know the boiler was serviced last year by British Gas as that was in our building survey we had before moving in (looks like the previous owners had a BG maintenance contract on it). So would be suprised if something in the boiler was faulty but not impossible of course!

It does indeed have a permanently lit pilot light. I found online that it's rated F for efficiency, and from the partial info I've been able to give Ideal themselves, they've estimated that it's a model that ceased production in 2001. I feel a boiler replacement coming on!

We're going to be doing quite a bit of work in the house and have just started to try and make an informed decision about whether to switch to a combi system, since it would be sensible to do so first! We understand their workings a lot more clearly but only because of past experience with them. Are their pros and cons essentially down to size of property, number of bathrooms, etc?
 
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For what it's worth, here's my view, but as with most things it's subjective and no doubt others will have different opinions.

1. You can have an energy efficient heat only boiler and still keep your existing hot water cylinder, assuming that it is serviceable. For a new build, a combi is simpler to install because it doesn't need the cylinder, associated pipe, overflow and feed / vent tank.

2. Combi’s are more complicated than heat only boilers with more internal components, thus increasing the possibility of a failure. They are not suitable for DIY repairwork. Repairs should be carried out by suitably qualified people and with parts from the manufacturer. On the other hand, heat only boilers have a lot of components externally mounted. Pump, motorised valve, programmer etc., these can be easily replaced by a competent DIYer or local plumber, and with any manufacturers parts obtainable from local plumbers merchants. The use of external components does mean the initial wiring is more complicated, sometimes making combi's the preferred choice of heating engineers who lack electrical skills because they can be wired up easily, so don't need to employ the services of an electrician.

3. Combi’s are generally slower to get hot water to the taps if the boiler is starting from cold when a tap is turned on. The burner fires up, heats up its internal water content, transfers this to a heat exchanger which in turn transfers it to the hot water heading off towards the tap. With a cylinder, stored hot water is ready to go.

4. Combi boilers may require a larger diameter gas pipe to be installed. Often in boiler upgrades, this unsightly pipe is routed around the outside of the premises.

5. Keep the hot water cylinder and you can have an immersion heater to provide hot water for when the boiler fails, and a warm cupboard for airing clothes or making jam etc.,

6. Combi’s heat cold mains water that passes through the boiler to supply the hot taps. In most homes the cold main is a single 15mm pipe. That same pipe also feeds the cold taps, WC’s, washing machines, dishwashers, etc., If any of these are used at the same time as the hot water, the hot water supply will be reduced accordingly. With a cylinder you have a stored supply of hot water, and are unaffected by the use of the cold water elsewhere.

7. If you have a combi it frees up the space where the cylinder would be.
 
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Thanks stem, again plenty for us to go at there once we get our heads around the system! Are the hygiene issues with cylinder / header tank systems something we should be concerned about? Is there an agreed method of keeping them clean?
 
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For what it's worth, here's my view, but as with most things it's subjective and no doubt others will have different opinions.

1. You can have an energy efficient heat only boiler and still keep your existing hot water cylinder, assuming that it is serviceable. For a new build, a combi is simpler to install because it doesn't need the cylinder, associated pipe, overflow and feed / vent tank.

2. Combi’s are more complicated than heat only boilers with more internal components, thus increasing the possibility of a failure. They are not suitable for DIY repairwork. Repairs should be carried out by suitably qualified people and with parts from the manufacturer. On the other hand, heat only boilers have a lot of components externally mounted. Pump, motorised valve, programmer etc., these can be easily replaced by a competent DIYer or local plumber, and with any manufacturers parts obtainable from local plumbers merchants. The use of external components does mean the initial wiring is more complicated, sometimes making combi's the preferred choice of heating engineers who lack electrical skills because they can be wired up easily, so don't need to employ the services of an electrician.

3. Combi’s are generally slower to get hot water to the taps if the boiler is starting from cold when a tap is turned on. The burner fires up, heats up its internal water content, transfers this to a heat exchanger which in turn transfers it to the hot water heading off towards the tap. With a cylinder, stored hot water is ready to go.

4. Combi boilers may require a larger diameter gas pipe to be installed. Often in boiler upgrades, this unsightly pipe is routed around the outside of the premises.

5. Keep the hot water cylinder and you can have an immersion heater to provide hot water for when the boiler fails, and a warm cupboard for airing clothes or making jam etc.,

6. Combi’s heat cold mains water that passes through the boiler to supply the hot taps. In most homes the cold main is a single 15mm pipe. That same pipe also feeds the cold taps, WC’s, washing machines, dishwashers, etc., If any of these are used at the same time as the hot water, the hot water supply will be reduced accordingly. With a cylinder you have a stored supply of hot water, and are unaffected by the use of the cold water elsewhere.

7. If you have a combi it frees up the space where the cylinder would be.

8. Ignore this **** waffle and Bulls hit..
 
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!st keep well away from Corgi home care, Nothing to do with CORGI as you know it they are just an insurance Co, boilers over 10 years they wont touch yours could be 25 + , Right make sure that the pilot light is on viewing point on boiler, Pump running all the time could be more than one fault, the old timer can be easily updated as can the room stat both at very little cost, These boilers if looked after are fairly bullet proof with little to go wrong,
Your best bet is to get hold of a local Gas guy and get the system checked out Need to find a older chap who has worked with on these older systems
 
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True if it ain't bust don't fix it and firemanT sorry but my comment is only made with nearly48yrs
experience behind me being as the system I quoted is repeated many times all over if I've said something you don't agree with then apologies.Bob
 
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Combi's aren't the solution for everyone, there's a lot of factors that need considering. It's an older boiler, but if looked after properly, may continue to give many years of service, and could even outlast a replacement that's installed today yet. Bear in mind the outlay to get the boiler replaced, against potential gas savings, it may not work out as large a saving as you would imagine.

The biggest consideration should be heat loss, insulation upgrades can save money straight away.
 

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