‘The big education for me is that civilisation is fragile and can be destroyed in a heartbeat' - Jeremy Brade, former peacekeeper in Sarajevo.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Gas Is A Gas

Most of the time, it has an envelope Sellotaped over it, the vent that British Gas made us ram through our living room wall to the gusty, freezing air outside.

I point out to the engineers that we already had two holes in the room, one the chimney into which the fire and back boiler are fitted, and the other its disused partner in what was the front parlour before the through lounge was created. But these and the carbon monoxide detector aren't deemed enough.

I could believe this windy requirement is to maximise fuel consumption.

And at every annual service, we fear that there will be some excuse to condemn the old boiler and press us to get a new system, because BG doesn't stock parts for the existing one ("obsolete") even though they are easily obtainable via the Internet.

Hardly worth it: the Government plans to end domestic gas usage by 2050. Maybe the idea is for us to burn what's left as quickly as possible, to boost profits and fund R&D for energy alternatives.

I'm sticking with Old Faithful. And a C5 envelope.

The Ideal Customer For Gas Central Heating


Sackerson said...

JD comments:

If you have a back boiler and it works, hang onto it! Your boiler heats the fabric of the building; modern condensing boilers heat the space between the walls. There is a difference!

What you have is similar to what we have in my brother's house which is next door to mine. (Houses are identical, a pair of semis.)

Next door was built by my father in 1955 and has been the 'family' home ever since. Central heating was installed in 1979- back boiler, radiators etc and fully in accordance with building regulations at the time. Can't remember when but a BG engineer servicing it one day said he had to create a vent similar to what you had done. I told him it was not necessary because adequate ventilation was provided and we are still alive. No. New rules from the "rules is rules" masters and so a hole was cut in the floor (timber floor on joists on brick sleeper walls on concrete foundation) and an air grill fitted. The hole was promptly covered over.

I bought my house in 1992 and I have had two boilers in the time I have owned it. The second and current one is starting to behave erratically.
The house next door with the forty year old boiler is consistently warmer than my house and the gas bills are cheaper. This is because the back boiler heats the fabric of the building i.e. the chimney breast which 'stores' the heat and radiates it when the heating is not operating. In my house the boiler heats the space between the walls. Excess heat is dissipated because there is no provision for storage of excess heat (if any), as with the house next door.

Critics of your back boiler system will say you are losing heat up the chimney. Wrong; hot air goes up the chimney including the hot air expelled by the 'experts.' Heat is stored, as I say, in the brickwork within the chimney breast. Hot air and heat are not the same thing. Remember those old night storage heaters? Same principle applies.

This book explains the principles involved in maintaining a consistently comfortable temperature within a building. He is writing about keeping cool in a hot climate but it is not difficult to keep warm in a cold climate (it can get very very cold in a desert climate!)


If your boiler expires, it can be replaced. Do not believe those who tell you it can't. The plumber helping with the refurbishment of next door told me his son installed two or three last year.

James Higham said...

End gas consumption. Oh well, back to coal then. :)