Smell of gas on ignition from newly-serviced Baxi Solo 2 30PF boiler

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Hi all,

I'm at my wits end after a week of boiler woes.

Last Sunday we noticed a smell of gas coming from the boiler when the heating came on. We immediately called the Gas Emergency Services and someone came very quickly and detected that there was indeed a leak from the boiler. He shut the gas off and told us to contact a Gas Safe Engineer. I found someone local on the Gas Safe website and he came round within a matter of hours.

He's quite a "character". When he came round his detector "wand" wasn't working. He said he had just had it serviced and would have to send it off again. Nevertheless he looked at the boiler and found that the seal had disintegrated which is where the gas could have been seeping from.

He came back the following night, replaced the seal and offered to service the boiler. When he opened it up he took one look and said we were "lucky to still be here." Basically it looks like the boiler hasn't been serviced in years, if ever, since the house was built in the early 90s. (We have been here a couple of years.) The inside was full of build up and he also found that there was a load of plaster in the flue, presumably from when the house was built. (He was able to see that our neighbour's flue, adjacent to ours, was also full.) Anyway, he cleaned everything out, fully serviced the boiler and ran a number of tests to check everything was ok, including a 3 minute-long test to see if there were any drops, indicating a leak. There weren't and he went on his merry way. We ran the heating for a few hours before heading to bed and all seemed ok.

The next morning we woke to find the electrics in the bathroom had tripped and there was no hot water but the heating had come on as it was timed to do.

The following morning we woke to find that there was no hot water and the heating hadn't come on. On both occasions our Honeywell programmer said they were on.

The engineer's advice was to reset the programmer, which I did to no avail. If we switched the CH on manually it seemed to work, but the hot water didn't.

Finally, today I turned the CH on via the programmer, and when the boiler fired up I got a whiff of gas. I switched the heating off, waited for a while, then went through the process again. Sure enough, I once again smelt gas.

We've once again had the same engineer in. He has checked again for any drops, sprayed various parts of the boiler, but can't detect anything. But even while he was here switching the HW/CH on to test, I could smell gas, which he couldn't. He has tried saying that it's me being paranoid and even blamed some herbs I'd put in my cooking, but I know gas when I smell it. As for being paranoid, yes, I suppose I am but the fact that he kept telling me how lucky I was to still be alive when he was servicing the boiler will have that effect!

Either way, gas leak or no gas leak, the hot water and heating aren't running as they should.

Anyone have any ideas? I'm exhausted and don't feel safe enough to leave the programmer running when I'm not in the house, and I keep sniffing the boiler every few minutes!

To add to the confusion, I've also been looking into the programmer I have (Honeywell ST9400C) and they seem to come with their own world of problems.
 
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If the gas smell only happens after the boiler fires up its after the gas valve, so a drop test won't show it (unless the gas valve is passing). Could be a few things and any RGI would know what to check. Its not something you can do yourself so get a second opinion. If you're worried i would turn it off at the mains, if its a "gas leak" get the gas transporter out and say you can smell gas but if they find a leak they will turn it off (safety first).
Btw, most boilers will have an unburnt gas smell coming from the flue upon ignition so to rule that out close the windows/doors.
 
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If your gonna call grid again (advisable), make them aware you can only smell it once the boiler has fired, cos as gigz said a tightness test won't prove much.
Have you got the bottom panel off it or is the case fully fitted?
 
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Very common for a gas leak on this boiler when fired i repair loads you need an engineer with a brain! Unless of course the smell is from the flue
 
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Hi all, thanks so much for all of your answers.

@gigz I'll get a new engineer out and make sure to mention the valve as I don't feel confident this was checked.

@Cgas We've had the bottom panel off but it's back in now. All seemed normal while we had it off.

@bazdaman I am beginning to suspect I'm overreacting. It is only on fire-up and as far as I can tell isn't coming from the flue. Have tried standing outside at the flue opening when it fires up but can't smell anything there. It's just in the cupboard the boiler is in and only for a minute or two.


Almost a week later and it's not sorted. The engineer has just repeatedly assured me everything is fine, but it obviously isn't as I'm still not getting either hot water or heating when the timer on the programmer kicks in. It still seems to be one or the other if both are running simultaneously. I've been reading up a lot on the Honeywell Programmer ST9400C and it seems that there are lots of faults reported that sound similar to what I'm experiencing.
 
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Almost a week later and it's not sorted. The engineer has just repeatedly assured me everything is fine, but it obviously isn't as I'm still not getting either hot water or heating when the timer on the programmer kicks in. It still seems to be one or the other if both are running simultaneously. I've been reading up a lot on the Honeywell Programmer ST9400C and it seems that there are lots of faults reported that sound similar to what I'm experiencing.

I am somewhat confused by what you have said.

Your engineer assures its all working correctly but you still say CH and HW are not working.

So why did you let him leave?
 
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T

thereisawizza

I am somewhat confused by what you have said.

Your engineer assures its all working correctly but you still say CH and HW are not working.

So why did you let him leave?

Should have held him hostage then? :)
 
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@Agile Because when he was here it was firing up ok, it so it seemed. The radiators got hot but couldn't tell if the hot water was working simultaneously because we'd had the immersion on. And after a while of being told the smell of gas was in my head/my cooking I got a bit frustrated!
 
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Well in that case you need a competent engineer to identify a leak between the gas valve and the combustion area.

A simple leakage test at the meter will not identify your problem.

Unfortunately, as you have discovered not all engineers are fully competent.

If the system will not heat both water and rads together then whilst that might be a fault, it is more likely that it has been intentionally wired to do that. Normally to give priority to the hot water.

Tony
 
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@Agile Thanks Tony. Very annoying as we forked out £125 already but guess you can't put a price on peace of mind. I'll call out a new engineer and make sure they check the valve. We definitely used to have hot water and heating. Now one interrupts the other.
 
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