020 HPM 0517

HPM May 2017

20 SPECIAL REPORT Working on a boiler that has a non-genuine part has a wide range of legal implications. David Willetts, general manager at Baxi Genuine Parts, offers his top tips for spotting a fake To avoid bearing responsibility for someone else’s error, engineers need to be able to successfully identify counterfeit products. Much like any other item, when it comes to boiler replacement parts, you really do get what you pay for. Although it can be tempting to cut costs, the long-term consequences of fitting a non-genuine part more than outweigh any short-term savings. From a legal perspective, fitting a part to an appliance that is different to the one specified in the technical file can mean that the certification of the appliance is caused to be null and void. As the manufacturer can no longer guarantee the safety of the appliance, the responsibility for that appliance passes to the heating engineer fitting the part, leaving them open to the risk of prosecution. Furthermore, non-genuine parts do not undergo the rigorous testing required by official manufacturers, and are, therefore, much more likely to fail. This means that there is a strong possibility of repeated call-backs, and consequently, damage to the reputation of the installer. Worryingly, many counterfeit products advertise themselves as better or equivalent to their official counterparts, which can make it difficult to spot fakes. With this in mind, we’ve put together the below tips on what to consider when specifying three key boiler components. Heat exchangers When identifying if a heat exchanger is a genuine part, there are several aspects to look out for. Firstly, take a look at the hydraulic fixings. Are they properly welded, and have the connections and fixings been correctly specified? If the answer is no, you have a fake on your hands. When put under too much tension, badly welded fixings could break, and if the connection and fixings are not correct, leaks could occur, thereby causing damage to the boiler or the homeowner’s property. Equally, it’s vital to check that the domestic hot water and central heating water is completely separated and sealed. If it isn’t, the domestic hot water side of the heat exchanger could become contaminated, causing a serious health and safety issue. It may sound obvious, but the easiest way to be confident of the legitimacy of a heat exchanger is to ensure that the manufacturer’s details, date and batch number are embossed on the component. This guarantees that it is traceable in the case of a fault. Fans To ascertain if a fan assembly is a genuine part, a careful examination of the component can reveal if it meets the relevant requirements. Make certain that there is a thermal cut-out on the motor, and look for dedicated earthing points. If these are missing, the product is non-genuine, and could cause serious issues. Without thermal cutout, the motor could severely overheat, shortening the life of the product and even creating a fire risk. Likewise, if you can’t find where to earth the fan assembly, the casing could become live and therefore, dangerous. It’s also worth checking that there is insulation on the motor winding, the lack of which means running the risk of a high voltage shock. For a very simple indication, assess the rotor motion. A quality fan assembly should run smoothly, whereas refurbished fans can be unbalanced and noisy and are likely to fail quicker. Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) There are multiple tell-tale signs which could indicate a non-genuine PCB, many of which can be judged by eye. For example, scorch marks or a damaged ‘warranty void’ sticker are major warning signs. A scorched board is indicative of poor workmanship which could lead to overheating and eventual failure, and if the sticker has been tampered with, the component should not be installed. Components should be working individually, as bridged components may cause short circuits, ultimately damaging the board and other aspects of the product. Similarly, ensure that the soldering is to a high standard, if it isn’t, you have a fake which may fall apart during transit and cause the board to fail, possibly harming other parts in the process. The only way to guarantee a reliable, high quality part is to buy an approved component from the relevant boiler manufacturer. Not doing so can have legal repercussions for the installer, invalidate the homeowner’s boiler warranty and create serious hazards. For more information, visit: http://www.baxi.co.uk/tradearea/ support/parts.htm Spot the fake enquiry number 112 With boiler replacement parts you do get what you pay for www.hpmmag.com May 2017


HPM May 2017
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