Plumbing the Depths

As a part of my previously reported Novamura Nightmare, I found it necessary to drain and remove the radiator in the bedroom I was decorating chez mother. Not only had the previous occupant used the accursed, unstrippable Novamura, but it had been put up, correctly – behind the radiator and its brackets.

Today was reassembly day and, surprisingly, the radiator went back much more readily than I at first expected. Having tightened the plumbing attachments it was soon time to refill it, heart-in-mouth as is traditionally the case, praying for a leak-free assembly. Opening the bleed valve and the expected gurgling began as water started filling the radiator – and stopped. Make sure all the taps are fully open. They were, but more water steadfastly refused to flow into the radiator.

Maybe there’s an air-lock in the system. Since it’s a combination boiler (provides instant hot water and the heating), I opened the hot water taps to see if that might help. Not only did this not help but I didn’t get any hot water from the boiler which was refusing to ignite. Great! Mater’s returning on Friday to a cold flat with no hot water. Whoops!

She had recently had this newfangled combination boiler fitted so I called the plumber who had put it in. It seems that combination boilers are a sealed system and draining even a part of it down stops it working in a failsafe kind of way. There’s no traditional header tank. There is a procedure to follow which opens a valve to the mains water supply to refill it, pressurize it to 1.5 – 2 bar (indicated by a gauge on the front of the boiler), then shut it back off from the mains again. Since I had no idea where mater had hidden the instructions, the nice plumber man agreed to meet me there at about 4:30 PM and do it for me.

Joy, all was well and heating returned. Maybe now the wallpaper will actually dry out properly.

The combination boiler is actually terrific and ideal for a flat since no precious space is wasted by tanks etc., What a palaver, though, not to mention cardiac-arrest inducing panic as sons think they’ve broken their mother’s expensive new heating system.

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