The heating and plumbing engineers at Plumbing Care Services have been working on the South Horrington Village boilers and plumbing systems for over 10 years now. Since the old Mendip Hospital (also formerly known as the Asylum for Pauper Lunatics when it was built in 1848) was converted into a large scale residential development in the early half of the 1990’s by Pinecraven Developments residents have contracted their own plumbers and heating engineers for maintenance and reconfiguration of the plumbing systems in their properties, and as there are no surviving schematics or specifications from the redevelopment we wanted to put together a resource for both residents and engineers working in the properties as the plumbing and heating systems fitted in the 1990’s there have some particular traits to be aware of when they are being adapted or replaced.
The South Horrington plumbing systems were generally quite well installed and the developers did not scrimp on the specification, but the nature of the buildings mean that often South Horrington boiler replacement jobs in particular are not as straightforward as even some experienced heating engineers may expect. As an experienced South Horrington Plumber we hope you find this resource useful.
Of the numerous systems our plumbers and heating engineers have encountered at South Horrington most consist of the following – assuming they have not been materially changed or updated by residents over the last 20 years:
Generally speaking these systems appear to have been installed well, with evidence that the heating systems were correctly chemically treated at the time of installation. It is unusual to find 20 year old boiler systems with clean heating water but each time our South Horrington Plumber has drained boilers and radiators there we have found clear water which is a very good indication that the work was done well originally.
Most of the gas boilers in South Horrington are Worcester Bosch 280 models, although some of the smaller residential units have the slightly lower output Worcester 240. They are essentially the same boiler though and for their time they were a top end model. Generally very reliable we estimate approx 50% or more of the flats and houses in South Horrington are still being heated by the original boilers. Considering that they were fitted in and around 1995 that is very good going and a testament to the build quality of Worcester Bosch boilers and the workmanship of the fitters.
They are not without their faults though; the most common issues our heating engineers experience with these models are faulty timers (shown below), intermittent hot water caused by faulty calorifiers, and faulty fan units causing nuisance noise or boiler lockout. Most boiler insurance schemes that we are aware of will not cover the Worcester boilers at South Horrington due to their age and the scarcity of ‘off the shelf’ parts is an issue that can cause real headaches for residents looking to repair their old Worcester boilers.
If you need to discuss any issue with a Worcester boiler whether a Worcester boiler repair or replacement at South Horrington then feel free to call us on 0117 325 5007 and one of our experienced heating engineers will be happy to see if they can help.
As mentioned above, although the Worcester 280 boilers at South Horrington were good in their day the remaining models in service are now well beyond their expected service life. As such our new boiler engineers we have carried out several boiler replacements in South Horrington village for customers whose boiler has failed, and also for those who wish to have a more reliable and efficient newer model in their home.
Any resident of South Horrington who has a new condensing boiler fitted will enjoy the benefits of lower gas bills as all of the new boilers on the market will be A rated for efficiency. When fitting a new boiler at South Horrington you will also need to ensure that your system meets the current Building Regulations or else your Gas Safe engineer will not be able to notify the installation to Building Control or correctly validate the boiler warranty. The systems at the development are mostly compliant, however if you do not have a room thermostat then one will need to be fitted (none of the properties had room thermostats when new). A modern room thermostat will increase the gas efficiency of your home as well so a high efficiency controller should be a welcome addition to your home.
Aside from lower bills with a new boiler you should enjoy greater reliability and a much quieter boiler! The old Worcester 280 boilers are now all getting a bit rattly, and sometimes the fan units can sound like a plane taking off when the hot water is run. Boilers such as the Vaillant Ecotec Series and the Worcester Bosch Compact are whisper quiet, and either will work well in the South Horrington houses and flats.
As we are approved installers of most major boiler manufacturers, the new boilers we fit at South Horrington tend to have long warranties of up to 10 years for our customers peace of mind. Our most common boilers fitted in South Horrington are:
Any of these boilers will easily fit to the space left by a Worcester 280 (remember all new 28-30kw boilers will be smaller than the Worcester 280), all are incredibly high efficiency and any one of them would be an increase in real terms of hot water production.
For any engineer replacing a Worcester 280, or any homeowner at South Horrington planning a new boiler (either in the Old Hospital Building or in one of the new build estates) it is worth being aware of the following prior to commencement:
All the split level houses & apartments we have encountered at South Horrington have the upper floor pipework running in a recess between the old boiler and the back wall. This is a major factor as it creates a difficulty in removing the old boiler, and it means that the new boiler cannot be simply placed on the wall as there are 4 vertical pipes in the way behind it. If fitting a new Worcester Bosch the 4 pipes will need to be cut and re-routed through the new boiler case, adding hours onto the job. If fitting a Vaillant or Glow Worm boiler then a proprietary spacer kit needs to be purchased to allow the pipes to remain in place – these kits are rarely off the shelf and will likely need to be ordered days in advance of the job.
A related concern to this is that the boilers at South Horrington are mostly fitted on plasterboard walls. The original fitters placed planks of wood (noggins) inside the wall in the correct place to support the old Worcester 280 boilers, however these supports may not line up with the new boiler chosen and so any engineer fitting a new boiler at the Village will need to have a plan of action before installation to correctly support the new boiler if there is no timer in the exact place the new boiler bracket requires.
One important concern for any South Horrington heating engineer fitting a new boiler is the thickness of the external walls. In some parts of the old hospital building the outside walls are almost 1 metre thick, this means that a standard boiler flue will be far too short, especially if the boiler has a side exit flue pipe. There is no problem extending the flue, but as the nearest heating supplies company is some distance away it is important for any engineer working at the development to come well prepared with the requisite number of flue extensions needed to save delays on the job. The old Worcester boiler flues were very well cemented in as well and often need to be stitch drilled with a very long drill bit to be taken out (adding yet more time onto the job)!
A further concern when surveying & specifying a new boiler at the development are the cooker extractor vents. these are small black metal grilles in the outside wall above the Worcester boiler flues. Unfortunately in many properties in South Horrington the original boiler installations contravened gas regulations by positioning the extractor vent too close to the boiler flue. For those affected by such inadequate installation practises carried out by the original developers boiler installers the only choices available are to block up the vent (and therefore have no cooker extraction) or to reposition the boiler flue which is time consuming and therefore expensive. Some new boiler installation engineers working at South Horrington have alternatively chosen to fit Plume Kits to new boilers fitted there – these kits are a way of rerouting the exhaust pipe in the boiler flue, and can resemble a submarine periscope sticking out of the boiler flue. To some it may be a good solution but they are not particularly good looking and fitting one at a property in the old hospital building may contravene both the lease and the Grade II listed status of the building.
For any homeowner planning a new high efficiency boiler it is important to know that any new boiler, regardless of make and model, will have a condensation drain pipe. The old Worcester 280 boilers do not have such a pipe and so replacing the boiler will also require this pipe to be fitted. In short, it will likely be a 21.5mm rigid plastic pipe that has to run downhill from the boiler to a drain. A good description of the form and function of a condensing boilers condensate drain can be found here on the Home Heating Guide Website. In practise at South Horrington, this pipe can cause some problems when fitting a new boiler. The biggest problem is that there are usually no drain pipes anywhere near the boiler, so the new pipe has to either be run through the worktop and then through low level cupboards, or possibly run externally if there is an accessible drain outside. One alarming problem we have noticed when walking around the old Hospital building at South Horrington is that some new boiler installers (presumably inexperienced or low quality ones) seem to have incorrectly just run these drain pipes into the bushes – contravening Gas Safe regulations and Building Regulations in the process. For any homeowner planning a new boiler being fitted it is very important that their installer has a plan for correct routing and installation of this new pipe as it should not be an afterthought!
Some very final points about new boiler installation at South Horrington are that any new boiler fitted will be smaller than the Worcester 280 – we would expect even a Vaillant boiler to be around 6 inches shorter and anything up to 2 inches narrower. This can either be a positive feature or a negative depending on the decorative features of the room the boiler is sited in, but anyone having a new boiler fitted should be aware of this prior to commencement. Also the gas infrastructure at the village is good and it is unlikely that an equivalent combi boiler of 28-30kw being fitted there will need any upgrade work done to the gas pipe.
A useful photo diary of a boiler replacement at South Horrington can be found here: <combi boiler replacement photo diary link>
If you are unsure of any of these issues feel free to call us on 0117 325 5007 to discuss the situation or use the Contact Us form at the top of the page. We are here all year round and will always be happy to help.
If you are looking for a South Horrington plumber or heating engineer to repair a boiler then we are here to help. Our Wells heating engineers have worked in the South Horrington flats and houses for over 10 years now and we are vastly experienced at both Worcester boiler repair and new Worcester boiler installation. Our Somerset plumbers know South Horrington inside out and we work carefully and as sympathetically as this 200 year old listed building requires.
We supply Gas Safe engineers to the whole Somerset region, and can help with anything from boiler service and repair to gas hob replacement and emergency plumbers in Wells and throughout the local area.
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