091 HPM 1012

HPM October 2012

WWW.HPMMAG.COM TUBES,VALVES,FITTINGS&PUMPS Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com Saying goodbye to frozen pipes Frozen condensate pipes are a growing problem. David Kempster, of Drayton, looks at the solutions available... SBuilding Regulations, many millions when heating and hot water are needed most. expensive and difficult to install.Perhaps the most common previous solutioncondensate into an internal drain. However, thiscan be quite noisy for homeowners, as well asBoiler breakdowns caused by frozenlead to water seepage into the home, but can alsostop the boiler from working altogether, at a timeince condensing boilers becamemandatory for new and replacementboiler installations under Part L of the have been installed in homes across the UK. By condensate pipes typically require two site visits has been trace heating, which involves a long, capturing heat from flue gases, condensing by installers - one to remove the frozen pipe and flexible heater being fitted to the pipe exterior, boilers have improved energy efficiency, reduced a return visit to refit the pipe, once the cold using cable ties and surrounding it with carbon emissions and helped to lower weather is over. Plus, a ‘lockout’ can damage the insulation. However, this has also proved homeowners’ fuel bills, but the need to drain boiler itself, which means additional repair work. relatively expensive and often looks untidy on the away condensate produced during the There are a number of traditional solutions wall, making it unpopular with homeowners, combustion process has led to problems during intended to prevent condensate pipes from plus it can take over two hours to install. periods of extreme cold weather. freezing, but they can be expensive or complex to In contrast, Condensate FreeFlo™ is a new Some 95% of boilers installed every year in install and often don’t work at very low solution which uses existing technology to quietly the UK are now condensing and about half of temperatures or for long periods of time. and discretely prevent condensate pipes from these have an external pipe to drain condensate One traditional method of prevention has been freezing, without high upfront investment for away from the boiler. This is in line with British to place the condensate pipe inside another pipe homeowners. It is a self-contained unit, powered Standards, building regulations and boiler in a bid to improve the insulation. Another by one cable, which continually monitors the manufacturers’ installation instructions, which option is to install a flush-based solution, which outside air temperature. currently allow condensate drainage pipes to be stores and then periodically flushes water into the With the current economic climate, located either internally or externally, or a condensate pipe to prevent condensate build-up. homeowners are looking for cost-effective combination of these. Neither method has worked at very low solutions. With four million homes at risk of However, the record low temperatures and temperatures or for long periods of time and the freezing condensate pipes, installers should be prolonged periods of cold weather experienced pipe has often continued to freeze despite these assuring homeowners their heating system will be recently led to many external condensate pipes measures. An alternative existing solution has reliable as well as energy efficient, even when the freezing, creating a blockage that forces the been to fit a condensate pump, which eliminates weather is as its coldest. condensate to ‘back up’ into the boiler. This can the need for an external pipe by pumping the enquiry number 172 Pressfitting offers a brighter future Copper piping has long been heralded as the material of choice for solar panel installations and now installing it has just got a whole lot simpler and safer, says Geberit’s Simon Spridgeon... RUK, as housebuilders and developers has been specially adapted for use on solar risk of damage to existing fittings and fixtures iswhich of course translates into fewer costs interms of labour. With solar panels often fittedretrospectively, the absence of a hot flame meansThankfully though, and just in time for thesolar panel market to really take off in the UK,the Geberit Mapress system has a seal ring whichenewable heat systems such as solarthermal panels are taking off bothdomestically and commercially in the look to conform to the latest sustainability panels, so enabling installers to benefit not just minimised; fittings are simply pressed on to the guidelines and homeowners seek to ‘go green’ from a safer fitting method but from the many tube with the use of a pressing tool – there’s no and get cashback on their utility bills. other advantages that such systems offer. need for adhesives, let alone soldering. Copper piping is by far the preferred choice With the performance of a seal ring measured Installation may be significantly quicker with when it comes to installing these systems, despite by its combination of temperature stability and pressfitting, but safety is never compromised as its undeniable limitations. While the material chemical resistance in the range of application, the fittings are designed so that any connections itself may be the best for conducting heat, the Geberit's blue FKM seal ring is offered as one not pressed during installation can be visibly reality is that it is often tricky to install at roof compound for solar and industrial up to d108, detected during testing, providing a fail-safe height. With the joints of the pipework requiring saving the installer time and increasing safety method of checking for unpressed joints. welding, using copper piping means that a hot on-site. It has the added benefit of delivering With no gasket change necessary on-site and flame is needed and on a windy day this enters better resistance to high and low temperatures only one seal ring for thermal solar and the realms of being dangerous, not just fiddly. ranging from -20°C up to 220°C. industrial applications, the new pressfitting seal The solution of course would be to use a safer Pressfitting pipework is simple to work with, ring makes copper a far more appealing option joining system, such as pressfitting, but until now particularly when compared to welding, which for solar panel installations. this hasn’t been possible as the seal ring on such requires a hot works licence and poses such a systems have been unable to withstand the high danger when working at heights. This simplicity temperatures passing through the solar panels. of installation results in reduced fitting times, enquiry number 175 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY OCTOBER 2012 91


HPM October 2012
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