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Plume from boiler causing nuisance - how to resolve?

Discussion in 'Plumbing and Central Heating' started by Chestnut23, 14 Mar 2016.

  1. Chestnut23

    Chestnut23

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    We have recently moved into a house which came with a new condensing boiler installed Nov 2014 (the house had been renovated by a developer). From what I know of the properties history the boiler hasn’t moved position from where it used to be, but now that it is a condensing boiler the plume output is much more visible, plus now we are living here the boiler is actually being used.

    The boiler is venting to the side of our house, 620mm from the boundary, so just within building regs and we do have a certificate for it. There is a fence between us and our neighbors about 1m high. Our neighbour has bathroom and toilet windows on the ground floor of the side of their house, plus two velux windows (without planning permission, probably not quite within permitted development) on the side roof. It’s quite a windy area and gusts of wind blow the plume around quite a lot. There is a flue deflector which I have set to send the plume forwards (away from windows) but the wind just picks it up and moves it in all directions.

    Our neighbour complained about the steam blowing around the two velux windows so I got a plumber out to investigate. He said we could install a plume management kit to move the plume upwards but that this would actually move the plume nearer to the velux windows so would not make the issue go away. We communicated this to the neighbours (plus mentioning that they don’t have planning permission for the veluxes!) and they changed their complaint to be about the steam travelling around the ground floor windows. They got a different plumber to come round and suggested (it was neighbours idea not the plumbers) that we divert the steam down a pipe for about 5m to vent over our patio and next to their conservatory/patio area, which also has windows which open. I’m not convinced about this because a. it wasn’t the plumber’s idea and b. it would cause a potential issue around both our patios and their conservatory. While they may be happy with this who’s to say they won’t sell up and someone move in who values their conservatory windows not having steam around them over the toilet/bathroom windows!

    I do want to resolve this issue to the satisfaction of both parties (!) but am struggling to come up with what is the best solution to the problem. I’ve come up with the following ideas but could really do with some help on which is best/whether there are any other options or potential problems I need to consider:

    1. Divert plume upwards – neighbours are not happy with this idea, would result in steam blowing around their veluxes and our upstairs landing window. However, would probably give us most protection against an actual environmental nuisance complaint, as the plume would be furthest away from any windows.

    2. Divert plume backwards – could a 5m pipe cause any maintenance issues (could leaves etc. get trapped in it), would it just be moving the problem to a new area? This is not moving the plume up at all so would not disperse any quicker? Also, as gusty area wind will just blow the plume back down the sides of the house.

    3. Divert plume forwards – we are in a national park so would need planning permission, planning office has not said it’s a no but their preference is for a side or rear output. Also, diverting the plume forwards with the flue deflector hasn’t stopped it from being gusted around everywhere.

    4. Put up a taller 2m fence... so that I can’t see the neighbours any more… haha not really… thinking that this could maybe stop the steam blowing straight over onto their property, it would be forced to be above the height of the fence? It might stop it blowing around the ground floor windows?

    5. Call up planning enforcement about their velux windows, maybe they would be forced to have them screwed shut and we could then go back to option 1. Not likely to result in friendly feelings!

    I'm worried that whatever we do will leave the same or a different problem so any suggestions gratefully received!
     
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  3. Under NO circumstances attach anything to, or attempt to extend or alter the flue .
     
  4. Chestnut23

    Chestnut23

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    Thanks, do you just mean if I do it myself (I realise that would be a bad idea!) or also if I get a plumber in to do it?
     
  5. ajsdoc

    ajsdoc

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    You can't always make people happy. It's just a bit of steam.
    I think you are trying very hard to make unreasonable people happy, they never will be.
    Our neighbours occasionally blows over our fence, mine on to theirs.
    It's the way of it with modern condensing boilers.
    I'm impressed you're being so decent, but doubt you'll win here.
     
  6. The only person who can touch the flue is a GasSafe registered engineer.
     
  7. Chestnut23

    Chestnut23

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    OK thanks, well I am happy to employ a GasSafe registered engineer (the plumber who I called out was one) if there is something they can do that will resolve this... Unfortunately these neighbours do seem to be "complainers" - at one point they said they just wanted to carry on living in their house with everything the same as it was before we moved in i.e. an empty house. Not very friendly!
     
  8. Agile

    Agile

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    You don't say where you live.

    But you seem to be under different Building Regs to the rest of us.

    The distance that I work to is 2.5 metres to the boundary in the direction of the discharge.

    The solution may well be a plume management kit. But you don't bother to tell us your boiler model so I cannot comment on that specifically in your case.

    But you don't seem to want to do that because it will move the problem back into your garden. But I would say that is your only legal solution!

    But your chosen RGI can if you tell him the make and model.

    Screwing windows closed is not a solution that we are allowed to use!

    Tony
     
  9. muggles

    muggles

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    2.5m from the boundary is what is recommended to prevent nuisance. A plume management kit might help; what would really help is some photos of the present installation (inside and out) so that we can have a clearer idea of the situation
     
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  11. BigSnoopy01

    BigSnoopy01

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    Although part j states 600mm and many manufacturers state 600mm is ok there are other guidelines that state other distances when a nuisance factor is taken into consideration. Even with these distances if the flue causes a nuisance then it really needs addressing or can be forced to be addressed by local authority if its a new applaince. id fit the plume kit to move the plume away from any of your neighbours windows.
     
  12. Agile

    Agile

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    The manufacturers usually quote 600mm to the closest wall etc.

    That's for when you point your flue at YOUR garage across YOUR pathway.

    Not for discharging towards the boundary with your neighbour.

    Tony
     
  13. Chestnut23

    Chestnut23

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    Here is a picture of the current location of the flue, it is just over 600m from the boundary so is within building regulations although not ideally situated. I didn't choose to place it in this position, it was the previous owner of the house. You can see the output is swirling around opposite windows.



    This is a picture from the upstairs window in our house, of the neighbours velux windows. I suggested moving the plume up to output over the roof of our extension, angled towards the rear but the neighbours feel that this will compromise these velux windows so are not happy with this proposal. They are already unhappy about the plume travelling upwards which you can see drifting up to the veluxes. However, I would be interested if anyone knows if this would then meet the 2.5m environmental health recommendation? As if the plume was being directed towards our rear boundary it wouldn't directed at a boundary under 2.5m anymore? Or is this just wishful thinking and it doesn't matter what direction the plume is sent in if its just near to a boundary at all?


    The neighbours have asked us to re-direct it to this point, next to a window into their lounge and their conservatory. We have a shed near here and then we both have patios nearby as well, however I'm not too worried about these. I can't really see how moving the plume from next to a toilet and bathroom window to next to a lounge and conservatory window is going to be a good idea! They are still the neighbors windows not mine so it's not that I'm worried about the impact on our house. We only have one side window, the one I took the picture from and where I suggested putting the plume near to. I am concerned that this option (although their idea) will not be satisfactory and will lead to further complaints.

    photos removed for privacy per OP request
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 2 Jan 2017
  14. Chestnut23

    Chestnut23

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    I live in England so have the same building regs as you, must be 600mm from a boundary but recommendations for 2.5m.

    Ideally the GasSafe engineer that installed the boiler would have worked to the same standards as you but unfortunately this isn't the case, and the boiler was installed by the previous owner so we had no say in where it was positioned. The neighbours did not complain at the time of install, but rather over a year later. Has the GasSafe engineer acted inappropriately by placing the boiler in this position, and do you know if this is something they would be required to redress if I was to make a complaint to GasSafe?

    As mentioned in the above post, I do not have a problem with the idea of the plume entering my garden, but cannot see the sense in moving the plume next to other windows belonging to the neighbour as they will no doubt continue to complain about the new position.

    The boiler is a Worcester Greenstar Si Compact 30Si.

    Thanks for your input
     
  15. Madrab

    Madrab

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    Chestnut, unfortunately your pictures haven't been attached.
     
  16. Aragorn84

    Aragorn84

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    Your pictures arent there?
     
  17. Agile

    Agile

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    I am confused by your pictures! Is your flue the one to the right with a 45 degree plume diverter?

    So why can you not just divert it 90 degrees to exit facing what seems to be the front of the property.

    As far as I am aware the 600 mm dimension was the original for non condensing boilers and the Building Control and Environmental Health work to the 2.5 m dimension but it may not have been updated in the legislation.

    However, there is also a catch all requirement that no flue location should cause any nuisance to anyone.

    When condensing boilers first had to be installed in 2005 there were a lot of complaints about pluming but that has died down now.

    I always think a bird box is an indication of a fussy person!

    Tony




    Edited to correct start date of condensing boiler requirement.
     
    Last edited: 15 Mar 2016
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