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    Somebody help me understand my hot water system, please!

    I have recently moved into a new flat. Previously, I have only had combination boilers for heating and hot water. When I looked around here, I was shown the boiler and just assumed it was a combi boiler, fine. I refused an explanation of how it worked because I am a man and of course understand it

    However, when the landlord and agent had left, I realised I was wrong and that it actually had a hot water tank. Still, I can deal with that, the gas boiler will heat up the water in the tank and will have an electric immersion when necessary - all controlled by the timer system (and thermostat for the heating).

    Wrong. It seems not that the hot water tank is only fed by electric and can only be turned on or off (no timer), does such a system exist or am I misunderstanding it?

    The hot water tank is massively insulated and as far as I can see, the electric heater (circa 3 kw) simply tops up the temperature from time to time based on a thermostat. If this is correct, what is the system called please?

    And yes, I am ignorant to any heating system other than an on demand combi!
    Thanks

    24 Comments

    hmmm,, this is weird. Are you sure there is not a water diversion tap thingy somewhere?

    There must be some sort of valve somewhere, check around the tank for red taps. Tell me how many there are!

    most timers have seperate sections for water & heat, so you'd have 2 switches which usually say constant/timed/off . you usually have a motorised valve which switches between the rads and the heat exchanger in the tank. the immersion heater is usually just for backup

    Original Poster

    The timer system (Drayton Lifestyle dual channel LP241) has two sections, one for heating, one for hot water, yet the channel for hot water seems to make no difference as far as I can see. If I turn it on (on or once), the boiler doesn't fire up, so I presumed that it is electric only. I guess I should look at the tank and see whether it has a hot water feed to it from the boiler?

    pghstochaj;2782154

    The timer system (Drayton Lifestyle dual channel LP241) has two sections, … The timer system (Drayton Lifestyle dual channel LP241) has two sections, one for heating, one for hot water, yet the channel for hot water seems to make no difference as far as I can see. If I turn it on (on or once), the boiler doesn't fire up, so I presumed that it is electric only. I guess I should look at the tank and see whether it has a hot water feed to it from the boiler?



    Im sure I have had something like this before, chuck the hot water switch on, then run one of the taps for 2 mins, see if it tops up. If it does, its working right, but I think one of your valves needs sorting out, or just turning on lol

    Sorry to say this - but it is possible that you are right -- I had a very similar problem - if you want to call it that - in a flat that I lived in.....

    One of the reasons the tank is soo heavily insulated is that it heats the water up on ... Well, if it isn't on a timer pretty much whenever, AND whats more its expensive (compared to combi),

    Best bit of practical advice - in the short term, would be to call a decent local plumbers merchants, and the helpful staff in there may just know EXACTLY what you mean / are talking about - OR believe it or not the Estate Agents! You would be surprised at the info they have, and contacts and so on......

    OR.... Well, I recon some clever sausage on here will sort it out for you NO SWEAT!

    Good luck Sir!

    xxxx

    if the timer has a water section then its a normal system. you'll also have a thermostat on the tank which controls the water temp. turn this to around 60 and then put the water switch to on. give it a few minutes for the valve to turn to the correct position and then the system should fire up.

    Follow the link.....all you need to know. I had the same when I bought my house.

    diydoctor.org.uk/pro…htm

    Original Poster

    Cheers everybody - just working through the responses. I saw the above (I of course googled before posting!) on diydoctor and it most looks like the picture above the unvented system explanation, I think!

    Original Poster

    Am going to see if a photo helps actually. It's a fairly upmarket development so would be (slightly) surprised if they fitted a none best practice system - but I know how the industry works so not that surprised.

    Original Poster

    aircanman;2782172

    Im sure I have had something like this before, chuck the hot water switch … Im sure I have had something like this before, chuck the hot water switch on, then run one of the taps for 2 mins, see if it tops up. If it does, its working right, but I think one of your valves needs sorting out, or just turning on lol



    Right, I set the control for the hot water to ON and ran the tap, boiler did not kick in after 2 minutes. I then went and flicked the switch next to the hot water tank (electric heater) and that did kick in. So, either the hot water tank is not boiler fed (wouldn't be the first time a control panel would have parts to it which are not relevant!) or there is a problem, like you say. Thanks.

    Original Poster

    cloudthecat;2782173

    Sorry to say this - but it is possible that you are right -- I had a very … Sorry to say this - but it is possible that you are right -- I had a very similar problem - if you want to call it that - in a flat that I lived in.....One of the reasons the tank is soo heavily insulated is that it heats the water up on ... Well, if it isn't on a timer pretty much whenever, AND whats more its expensive (compared to combi),Best bit of practical advice - in the short term, would be to call a decent local plumbers merchants, and the helpful staff in there may just know EXACTLY what you mean / are talking about - OR believe it or not the Estate Agents! You would be surprised at the info they have, and contacts and so on......OR.... Well, I recon some clever sausage on here will sort it out for you NO SWEAT!Good luck Sir!xxxx



    Thanks for the response - at least I might not be the only one with such a system. I might have to call my landlord or even worse, meet a neighbour and see if they have the same system. I imagine most people that live here don't care one bit about their bills, but I certainly do.

    Original Poster

    wolf359;2782179

    if the timer has a water section then its a normal system. you'll also … if the timer has a water section then its a normal system. you'll also have a thermostat on the tank which controls the water temp. turn this to around 60 and then put the water switch to on. give it a few minutes for the valve to turn to the correct position and then the system should fire up.



    That's what I hoped, but as above, it doesn't seem to have worked like that. I *think" right now that I only have two pipes into the actual tank, which would rule out the chance that it has anything other than an in and out for hot water supply as there's nothing to act as a heat exchanger.

    if its what i think it is then the water would take about a half hour after its turned on before it gets hot (its not an on demand system) but the boiler should fire straight away. turning the taps on would have no effect as its not on demand.

    the pipes in and out are the heat exchanger. they are a coil inside the tank the water in that pipe never come in direct contact with the hot water. the boiler pumps hot water through that pipe and it in turn heats up the water in the tank

    Original Poster

    Right, had a good look and there are only 3 connections to the boiler, hot water (towards the top), inlet water (towards the bottom) and (I assume) an overflow. It must, therefore be, electric only, with the control for hot water on the control panel for the boiler unconnected. The only control therefore is to have the hot water tank hot or off to let it cool (for extended periods away). I have no idea why they would go to the hassle of fitting a gas heating system and then not connect up to the hot water, the place is less than 2 years old and as said above, a fairly premium place.

    Thanks for everybody's help, not the outcome I wanted though.

    Original Poster

    wolf359;2782370

    if its what i think it is then the water would take about a half hour … if its what i think it is then the water would take about a half hour after its turned on before it gets hot (its not an on demand system) but the boiler should fire straight away. turning the taps on would have no effect as its not on demand.the pipes in and out are the heat exchanger. they are a coil inside the tank the water in that pipe never come in direct contact with the hot water. the boiler pumps hot water through that pipe and it in turn heats up the water in the tank



    Based on that last statement, that would require an exit for the process water (I am a chemical engineer not a plumber so not sure what terminology is used for plumbing systems!) separate to the utility (heating) water (which goes through the heat exchanging coil).

    The boiler doesn't fire up for anything to do with the hot water tank no matter what I do. If you see my above post, you will see that I am pretty sure that there are no connections for boiler water to be passed through the tank and it appears to be immersion only.

    Original Poster

    Gr, actually there appear to be 3 connections to the tank, although 2 are joined together it appears and actually leave or come in for the same purpose. Sorry that I am not providing very good information.

    It also has a Wilo-Gold RS so I am looking up what that does.

    Original Poster

    Wilo Gold RS is apparently a central heating pump, which is installed near the hot water tank and not the boiler, so I am going to trace where that goes.

    Original Poster

    Ok, I am more believing that there is something wrong with the system and it is more traditional, just that somebody left the immersion on before I moved in, maybe due to not understanding or maybe due to a fault. As far as i can see, the tank is along the lines of:

    http://www.diydoctor.org.uk/project_images/domestic_hot_water_systems/unvented.jpg

    I currently have the immersion OFF and the boiler on (though at the moment, only through turning the central heating on).

    Original Poster

    Right, boiler is fine for central heating, but doesn't turn on when I switch the control panel to "on" for hot water. Can anybody think of a fix for that at all? The light comes on when I click "on" and you can hear a relay click. Thanks for all the help so far.

    Original Poster

    Right, all sorted, so a debrief...

    When I got here, the boiler controls were all off but the immersion switch was on, two buttons were missing on the control panel (which showed which side was hot water and which side was central heating switch wise). I can guess that the immersion was left on either by mistake, by the landlord wanting to clean or by the previous occupier to cause a problem. I should be ok as meter readings were taken on the day I moved in, not when the previous occupier left (which would be worst case scenario for differences in end and start metre readings). Basically, I had treated the control panel the wrong way around (missing buttons) so wasn't able to get the boiler to fire up for the central heating (due to the thermostat) rather that the hot water (which is now working fine, I hope).

    Sorry for being so wasteful on what would have been promptly obvious to somebody familiar with any system other than on demand. Now I just have to set up the 7 day timer and be glad I worked it out now and not when I get a bill!

    Thanks for everybody's help in reassuring me that the system I could see is unlikely to exist.

    glad you got it sorted at least you avoided having to call in a plumber

    Original Poster

    Turned out very simple in the end - the same system my parents used to have. So glad I sorted it rather than assumed it was a weird electrical system and got a massive bill in a few months time. Thanks again

    HOOORAY!!!

    You sorted it!!

    Well done you and all the other clever sausages on here!!

    Thats a nice ending....

    We can't get hot water when we turn the water on. It will not kick in.but heating come on. We got a back boiler. We just had a lp522 5/2 day programmer put in can you help it's doing my head in. With no hit water thank you sarah
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