Lets Take Back our Industry
In my opinion the so called experts who make the rules and regulations for our industry are old dinosaurs, who do not keep up with technology, the regulations move so slowly in the UK by the time they make changes to take in a new technology, it has moved on 5 times further, so we are always behind, or is it other factors that hold them back.
One of my biggest gripes with the regulations, is G3, now the last time I had to resit my G3 course (A ticket when first achieved was supposed to be for LIFE) nothing had changed from when I first took the course many years before, we are still been told to use a thermostat & over heat stat and a 2 port valve, why? technology has moved on, yet we are still expected to rely on a bi-metal strip for temperature control, the majority of boilers and certainly the boilers I install have the ability to control the unvented cylinder much more accurately and safer, simply with a sensor direct from the boiler, yet this is not permitted under the so called regulations, why, well in my opinion it is because the influence the control manufacturers have, as they don’t want to lose the sale of their products, 2 port valves & cylinder/over heat stats, the other reason is the silly money the likes of WRAS want to approve the use of the sensor technology with unvented cylinders, in the region of >£20,000.00 I am led to believe, I doubt the boiler manufacturers would hold back this technology, as they build it into their boilers, so is it the control and cylinder manufacturers.
Now one of the boiler manufacturers I use is approved for sensor control when used with their unvented cylinder, now this cylinder is made for them by a cylinder manufacturer who mass produce cylinders, it is exactly the same as their own branded cylinder, as all unvented cylinders are, so why can we not use this across all cylinders, well as previously stated, WRAS want their palm crossed with silver and I expect the control manufacturers would try and reject the idea as well, my opinion, just ignore it, if the boiler has the sensor technology it is far more accurate and safer than current regulations, I think any manufacturer would find it impossible in a court of law to show that doing it with a sensor has caused any warranty issues, or made the cylinder unsafe.
Another one that bugs me, although I am not sure it is a regulation, more something I was trained never to do and most installers have the same belief, is, not putting an isolation valve on an expansion vessel, of course you should, of the whole heating system, the expansion vessel is the biggest cause of breakdowns, the reason we are told is a safety issue, if the valve is closed then expansion cannot take place, well fit a bloody lock-shield type for goodness sake, or as I and other installers do, fit a full bore lever valve and remove the handle, you also need to fit a drain valve between the valve and expansion vessel, we could reduce heating system failures by a large proportion IF on service the vessel can be isolated drained and the pre-charge pressure checked and adjusted if required, installers don’t check this on service as it would usually mean draining the entire system to do so, an expansion vessel WILL need it pre-charge adjusting during its life and it is quite likely the vessel will fail in the systems lifetime we also need to educate installers to ALWAYS check the pre-charge pressure on annual service, this alone would reduce the amount of boiler breakdowns massively. As usual though we have to look to Europe who already have this covered, I found a fantastic product made by Reflex, who manufacture expansion vessels (German) and distributed in the UK by Altecnic it is a combined lock-shield isolation valve with built in drain valve which has the connection to screw directly to the expansion vessel, in my opinion this item should be sold with ALL expansion vessels, as not providing isolation for service is very bad practice in my opinion, I will now fit this valve from Altecnic to all my expansion vessels, here is a link to the product REFLEX / ALTECNIC Expansion vessel valve contact Altecnic for price and availability http://www.altecnic.co.uk/
Another point I think needs addressing is system boiler expansion vessels, now this is more an installer problem, most are under the impression they just fit the boiler and connect it to whatever they want and the internal vessel will take care of it, on the majority of my jobs I install an additional vessel, as I feel the 10-12L that are provided by the system boiler vessel is insufficient for some of the larger systems I install, installers, we need to be more aware of the expansion volume of our systems, as again if the vessel is undersized, it causes vessel failure.
As an industry we need to stand together more, we are the ones who know what is best for the heating system, not some pen pusher in an office, or not some dinosaur who was a tradesman 30 years ago and does not move with the times, I believe it is long over due that we as installers get our opinion heard and acted on rather than ignored, the industry would be a much better place if the real experts were listened too.