Sunday, 19 January 2014


Last week someone came by to give our boiler a service. It's getting on a bit (18 year old) but was working fine so we were going to keep it until the summer, when we would change for a boiler with a better capacity and more efficient gas and electricity use.

The service went OK, except that it would not light at the end, so the guy lit the pilot light with a match - meaning that the attic was filled with gas. I wasn't here, but Mrs Stace commented on it, but the guy just said  it was normal (after all what would a woman know...)

Since then Mrs Stace has said that every time the boiler starts the attic fills with the smell of gas, something that we didn't like - obviously. One evening we did a test together - we went upstairs just as the boiler started up for the heating and...  Wow! The smell of gas was extreme.

Boiler unplugged and gas off, and call the service people  to come back.

Someone came the next day to check and found that the first service engineer left an important plug off of the top of the boiler when he was done. So when it started all the fumes came out of that instead of out of the exhaust pipe.

Including the CO that the boiler produces.  Gulp.

Needless to say that is the type of thing that makes you go out the next day and buy a CO detector!

The engineer put everything back together and tried again. I thought it was better, but he was not happy with it and went to fetch his meter.  Every joint in the exhaust is leaking, not a lot, but leaking CO all the same. We needed new pipework fitting, pipework that would only be suitable for this boiler.

And to fit it you have to dismantle the boiler and remove it from the wall.  An 18 year old boiler that is at the end of it's life and would probably not go back on the wall afterwards.

So, a new boiler needed. We put lots of layers on, and left the heating off - just plugging it in (with all of the attic windows open) when we showered in the morning.

Thankfully we have been having a warm winter so far!

The guy came the next day and helped us choose a new boiler, and arranged for it to be fitted a couple of days later.  At least it could be done quickly!

On Friday they came with the new boiler and within 4 hours it was done and the house was starting to defrost (I said it was a warm winter, but it's still winter!).  Lighter in the pocket, but happier in the house, I have had to rearrange so much that I needed to do to arrange this - laser in prep for the op, and various meetings in the office had to be moved around for it.

Aside from having 50% more hot water now (the shower is GORGEOUS!) there was one other fun thing with the new boiler.

It's a geeks machine! It came with a free thermostat (our old one is not compatible with new boilers, as they are more complex).  Of course it's the simplest one available, but you can go better!

For an amount more you have one that has 7 programmable days.  Great.
For a bit more than that you can get one that is controlled via your phone.  Bingo!

7 days, 6 time ranges per day, settable per .1C if you want, we have it at the standard .5C intervals for the temp. Connected to the internet so it knows national holidays and automatically sets itself to a Sunday so you do not wake up too early with a too warm house.

It even tells you when there is a problem - and service engineers can connect to it for deeper analysis :)

I tested it yesterday and, yes, I can change the temperature in the house from miles away! Useful if you are coming home early and want the house warm for when you arrive...

Anyway, that was my week.  Cold, with no hot water for most of the day, scattered due to the  many appointments we had and tiring.

We never appreciate modern life until something goes wrong and you get thrown back to warming the house with candles do you?

And...  One last point - those of you without them... Buy a CO alarm - it is something everyone puts off untiil it's too late (we did!), learn from our mistake!


  1. It is a mistake which can solve ALL lives little problems...

    We fitted a new boiler but it is scary to think that was now such a long time ago and one day will grind to a halt. I remember that it took three people to take out the old one and one to bring in the direct replacement...

    Like most tech the new controller sounds great but for us up a bit and down a bit on the old forty year old thermostat knob is enough.

    How long until the new lodger?

    1. I'm just pleased that it was only a problem when we actually used it - and ass we don't have it on overnight it was not as bad as it could have been... But, yes, very scary!

      The new one is tiny compared to the old one, and I know what you mean about moving it. The old one was taken out in pieces and you heard them lift the pieces to carry them! The new one came in complete and carried with ease by one person!

      You could not use the 40 year old thermostat with the new boiler - it isn't a simple on off switch it sends data back and forth. Though there was a simple one included in the cost of the new boiler :) I'm just a geek...

      If the new lodger is on time then we have another week and a half. 10 days and counting!


  2. Glad it all worked out well. CO detectors are mandatory in all residences in Massachusetts. Every few months you will see a story about a family who is saved because they had one. Well worth the investment.

    Stay warm, hon! I am thinking of you, Mrs. Stace, and your forthcoming arrival. :D


    1. I think they should be everywhere - we were really bad with it. We knew we should have one, but never got around to it. Not good...

      We're nicely warm now thanks :) You look after yourself as well!


  3. Yes .... official .... you are a total geek !

    Glad you got it sorted out. Babies like it warm !

    1. And proud of it! What's worse is that I wish I knew the API so that I could try to make my own Windows phone app :)

      Me too - much better now than after the little one arrives!


  4. Ahh, a lovely hot shower on a cold day. Quality stuff!

    1. The shower is wonderful, and at the weekend when I can waste a little water I love it!

      Of course the next trip to the UK with the electrical shower on the wall is not going to be fun! :p