The record freeze in Great Britain is causing tens of thousands of the new green condensing boilers to freeze up and shut down. Yorkshire alone experienced 60,000 call-outs to the plumber already.
The Daily Mail reported:
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Five years ago, New Labour heralded them as the modern, clean and green way to heat your house. As a result, today there are already eight million ‘condensing boilers’ in homes across Britain. In fact, since 2005 it is illegal to fit any other kind.
At the time, John Prescott claimed they would massively reduce your carbon footprint and slash your fuel bills. As a result, every year some 1.2 million old-style ‘dirty’ boilers are scrapped in Britain and replaced by this wondrous new variety.
However, the recent cold snap has revealed a major problem with them. Tens of thousands of people found themselves shivering as their shiny new boilers cut out without warning.
British Gas is understood to have had 60,000 call-outs in Yorkshire alone. And the cost to call out a plumber? It can be between £200 to £300 on a bank holiday. And don’t forget about VAT.
‘We’ve had double the number of call-outs as in the same period last year,’ says Charlie Mullins, MD of Pimlico Plumbers in London, the country’s largest independent plumbing company.
‘It is a massive problem. Some customers were ready to move out because their condensing boilers broke. If I had a choice, I’d put in a non-condensing boiler every time.’
It’s all the more infuriating because the problem causing these breakdowns is so simple. In cold weather, the pipe that takes waste water from the back of the condensing boiler – which isn’t there in a normal boiler – freezes solid, shutting down the system and in many cases causing permanent damage.
But this problem is just one of many that have plagued this boiler design since they became popular in the Nineties. Many plumbers consider them to be little more than a multi-billion-pound con-trick.