Weekdays 08:00 – 18:00
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We’re Gas Safe Registered and proud to be Worcester Accredited Installers.
Lovekin have timed appointments and specialise in gas boiler servicing. Many of our customers have been with us for over 20 years and we know most of them on first name terms.
Though our office address has moved south-west, we’re still based in Ash, between Aldershot and Guildford and we’ve been here since we started in 1986. We cover an area that stretches out to Camberley, Farnborough, Farnham, Guildford, Godalming, Aldershot and Woking.
We’re Worcester Accredited Installers
Sorry, we only work with mains gas not LPG.
This Potterton Suprima is under the work top in a kitchen. Lois is removing the old PCB, chassis and wiring loom to replace it with the later, better Siemens PCB. The Suprima was plagued with circuit board problems until Potterton eventually had a completely new board made by Siemens.
Setting up for combustion analysis on a newly installed Baxi Solo HE as part of the commissioning process. New rules in 2014 made combustion analysis mandatory when new boilers are fitted. Both the air intake and the flue gases must be checked.
Typical data from a gas boiler combustion analysis. This analysis was taken after the service and shows very clean combustion. The pressure figure is the gas inlet working pressure. The flue product has been cooled to only 53°C, allowing most of the the water vapour to condense, releasing the latent heat. The gross efficiency of 88.7% in this high efficiency boiler shows that only 11.3% of the energy from the fuel gas was wasted in the flue gases. This also lowers the environmental impact.
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High efficiency boilers have a condensate trap fitted to ensure that flue gases can’t pass out along the condensate drain pipe. The traps can become blocked with debris and must be checked and, if necessary, removed and cleaned out. The better designed traps, like this one in a Greenstar Ri, work as auto-syphons. Instead of a continuous dribble of condensate, these auto-syphons release it a cupful at a time, making it much less likely to freeze.
For us, a gas boiler service should be much more than a quick test with a flue gas analyser. We carry out a range of checks to ensure your safety and to maximise the efficiency with which the gas is burnt. We check the location of the boiler, the condition and operation of the flue and that there is sufficient air for combustion and cooling.
We visually check the combustion casing to ensure there has been no breach due to rusting caused by water damage. Then we partially strip the boiler and check and clean the combustion chamber, heat exchanger, burner and injectors unless the manufacturers specify otherwise; different manufacturers may have different requirements. When we re-assemble the boiler we check the condition of the combustion casing seals to ensure that no flue product can enter the room.
Where possible we carry out combustion analysis and if you’re interested we’ll be happy to explain the figures. In the tests we carry out, most older room-sealed gas boilers will achieve a gross efficiency of about 80%. Newer, high efficiency boilers (also known as condensing boilers) usually reach 88% gross efficiency. Combustion analysis also allows us to make adjustments affecting both efficiency and safety.
Sites like uSwitch provide lots of information and give tables of figures showing you what you could save in gas bills for different boiler efficiencies. The problem is that very few of the older gas boilers we come across are desperately inefficient. We carry out flue gas analysis when we have serviced them and most older boilers show a gross efficiency of about 80%. Changing these for new, high efficiency appliances would make a saving but it would be relatively small.
We have another reservation about uSwitch; looking at their web site it appears that they are in partnership with British Gas. We were under the impression that uSwitch were independent. Apparently most of the web sites encouraging us to change energy supplier receive a significant commission when we switch. It may still be very well worth changing but it’s important to know that the advice may not be entirely impartial!
The efficiency page on our lovekin.net web site may provide additional information to help you to decide for yourself. On the site we also deal with general central heating problems like system pressure and radiator balancing. Motorised valves can be troublesome too and we have a page on Honeywell motorised valves. We’re continuing to develop the lovekin.net site as and when we have time.
If you’d like to know more about High Efficiency (HE) boilers and what gross and net efficiency mean you can find our efficiency article on our lovekin.net site. In the article we talk about the savings you could make by changing your boiler. It’s not always as much as you might think because our industry often overstates the possible savings.
The cost of gas is a major factor in deciding whether it is worth keeping your existing boiler or whether you should have it replaced and, as the cost of gas increases, the balance changes. Another factor to consider is the length of warranty available on a new gas boiler and the quality of the company providing it.
Currently (2016) we choose to fit Worcester Bosch boilers because their quality, backup, spares and service is second to none. Which? have given all the Worcester Bosch Greenstar gas boilers Best Buy status and that’s for the sixth year running. As Worcester Accredited installers we can extend the manufacturer’s warranty to 7 years (8 years if a Worcester system filter is fitted).
A lot of the boilers we service are quite new but we also service some which are very old. We think the oldest were made in 1967 and are now 49 years old. We are happy to service new or old gas boilers, provided they work safely. If your old boiler really is very inefficient (wasting too much gas) we’ll tell you but we’ll never try to bounce you into replacing it unnecessarily.
Even with current expensive gas prices it might be years and years before the savings you’d make would balance out the cost of replacement. If, however, it is old and in need of repair, or becoming more expensive to maintain, it may be time to consider replacing it. We’ll always give you totally honest advice. You can find more on our installation page.
We serviced this ancient Vulcan Autostat boiler for about 13 years until the house was sold recently.
In that time it needed just one thermocouple and consistently produced over 80% gross efficiency!
This Vaillant ecoTEC plus 824 high efficiency boiler is only 3 or 4 years old but it already had problems.
Even spiders can cause problems for combustion! They commonly produce cobwebs in the air intake ducts of fanned flued and natural draught room-sealed appliances. These cobwebs can significantly reduce the combustion air supply and make the boiler dangerous. It’s simple to resolve if you know that you need to check. Following mild winters, 2014 and 2015 were good years for spiders and 2016 may prove to be the same. Flue gas analysis will show up dangerous combustion but before adjusting the gas/air ratio in the boiler we’ll check whether the combustion problems are caused by cobwebs!
There are lots of confusing terms used in our industry so to help, we have page of this site dealing with terminology.
The inside of this Greenstar Ri looks quite complicated but these boilers work very reliably and typically produce a gross efficiency of over 88% in our tests. Unlike older appliances, the fan mixes gas and air in a precise ratio and blows it into the burner at the top of the heat exchanger where the flames burn downwards in the draught!
Spares availability is very good with Worcester Bosch and the cylindrical stainless steel clad heat exchanger on the right carries a 10 year warranty. These are fan flued appliances and this one has been fitted in a loft.
This type of pilot assembly in an open flued (conventionally flued) appliance is known by several names. It is called an atmospheric sensing device (ASD) or an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS). We prefer the term precision pilot. The horizontal part of the pilot flame heats just the tip of the thermocouple. This generates a small electric current which is used by an electromagnet to hold the gas valve open. If the oxygen available to the pilot burner is reduced, the flame softens and lifts away from thermocouple, causing it to cool and lock off the gas supply, safely shutting down the appliance.
The air intake filter on this precision pilot had become choked with dust and fibre, reducing the oxygen available to the pilot flame. The pilot flame had lifted away from the thermocouple tip, shutting down the appliance.
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