TRAINING/TECHNICAL WWW.HPMMAG.COM Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Make sure you aren’t foiled by oil Issues relating to the quality of oil supply are now among the most common reasons for a call-out, but what are the effects of inflicting contaminated fuel upon a newly installed oil boiler, and how can such call-outs be avoided? Martyn Bridges, of Worcester, Bosch Group, explains... More often than not, the replacement of an oil boiler will see the new appliance connected to an existing oil tank and line which have been in place for a number of years. This brings with it the risk that the boiler is being installed in an environment whereby the oil tank and oil line is contaminated, which can have reliability consequences for the operation of the heating system. KEEPING IT CLEAN In the vast majority of cases, any corrosion of the steel oil tank can lead to particulates making their way into the oil supply, while a secondary cause of contamination is often ingress of water – either from a leak in the tank, condensation or within the fuel itself. In either instance, a filter will soon become blocked by contaminants, putting the reliability of the oil pump and/or burner at risk. The main barrier to ensuring this risk is avoided is the fact that in many cases, the oil filter(s) within a system isn’t checked – and replaced if necessary – as part of an annual service. While there may be no legal requirement (however strong guidelines or advice exists) for this to be done, failure to do so can cause a burner lockout, or even result in irreparable oil pump damage – either one of which will ultimately prevent the boiler from providing heating or hot water and may require replacement of parts. Particularly with steel oil storage tanks, corrosion or water contamination could be an issue, so further remedial work may be required before the appliance is recommissioned. AVOIDING CALL-OUTS The encouraging thing for installers is that the cleaning or replacement of a filter – either on the outlet of the oil tank, or just before the oil enters the system – is a simple procedure, provided the homeowner is happy for work to take place. We often hear of installers having to persuade their customer to allow this work to proceed – largely because they are unaware of the risk they are placed under if they avoid allowing the filter(s) to be assessed, but there are resources you can direct your customers to in order to combat this. EDUCATING YOUR CUSTOMERS OFTEC has published a number of guides written for homeowners, which explain in simple terms why appliances should be inspected, cleaned, and have their components replaced as Worcester’s Greenstar Heatslave II oil combi boiler works with water heated by green sources such as solar energy and wood fired boilers for increased efficiency required during a service. As well as ensuring the boiler won’t be at risk of needing unexpected repair work further down the line, the regular servicing also helps to ensure the appliance will perform to its full potential for many years to come. By communicating these factors to the homeowner, the chances of them passing on the opportunity to have the system’s components 44 APRIL 2016 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY assessed will be slim. As the market for oil boilers continues to go from strength to strength, driving awareness among homeowners of the need for oil supplies to be checked regularly will help to ensure nuisance call-outs and distress repair work soon become a enquiry number 130 thing of the past. IN THE PIPELINE: FIVE TIPS FOR DOMESTIC OIL SUPPLY PIPES 1. Oil supply pipes must be inspected regularly for general condition and in an ideal world, this should be done as part of a routine boiler service. Damage, deterioration, or leaks from joints should be repaired as soon as possible and in the case of underground pipes, pressure testing is likely to be required. 2. The pipes themselves are usually made of plastic-coated soft copper tubing which is flexible and manoeuvrable, although steel can offer additional protection from damage or vandalism. If steel pipes are used, they should be painted to minimise corrosion. 3. Don’t run an underground oil supply pipe run directly into the interior of a building. Instead, the pipe should rise externally to allow a remote acting fire valve to be fitted before it enters the building. Where an oil pipe passes through the wall of a building, make sure it runs within a sleeve, such as a larger plastic pipe. 4. For best performance, external or exposed oil supply pipework should take the most direct route between the oil tank and burner, and should avoid high and low points in the pipework, the creation of trip hazards, or anything likely to damage the pipe and joints. 5. Pipework can be buried underground, but should be buried at least 300mm clear of other underground services such as water and electricity. Joints in buried pipework should be avoided if at all possible, but if they have to be made, don’t forget to provide a permanent point of access.
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