The venerable Kidd Very High Efficiency (VHE) boiler is one of my favourites. Designed for Archie Kidd’s personal use in 1959, and then productionised in 1982, it has been the forerunner in condensing high efficiency technology in the UK for 30 years. Forget all the stories you hear about the Vaillant this, or the Worcester that, or the Baxi Bla Bla, the Kidd VHE was the first and last, the design is still current today, and 98% unchanged.
OK, so you’ve got a Potterton Kingfisher and it is still going after 25yrs? Not a big deal. The Kidd was available 5 yrs earlier and would have delivered 90% efficiency, instead of the 60% or so managed by the Potterton. Think of all that fuel you’ve wasted!
That’s why Highgrove has a Kidd, along with other famous users, for example, music luminaires such as Sir Tim Rice, Peter Gabriel, Bjorn Ulvaeus. And some less notable people, such as me.
Here we are in a Kent farmhouse, near Sittingbourne, and they have a 1983 Kidd oil boiler. Now 28 years old, it is showing some signs of wear. Mr Kidd has offered to refurbish it (yes, really) but the owners are remodelling the area once used as the boiler room, and there is insufficient space for the Kidd unit.
They will be sorry to see it go, but have been delighted with the economy and longevity it delivered. And being solely mild steel, it is completely recyclable.
Connected to a very old (we reckon 1930s) one pipe heating system, we specified a new Worcester-Bosch oil Camray Greenstar utility. This occupies only around a third of the space of the Kidd unit, but delivers a similar efficiency.
It is not going to last 28 years, but does come with a 6 year warranty due to a promotion Bosch are offering key installers at the moment (installation was Aug 2011).
The one pipe system is perfectly compatible with a Worcester oil boiler, but it is difficult to remove debris in the pipework, due to the ‘Powerflushing’ systems not being effective. Basically, with a one pipe system, the connection of one of our large Norstrom machines justs sends the high velocity water round a wide bore loop, with little effect*. Instead, we fit a dirt separation device, in this case, a SpiroTECH Magnabooster2. This can be emptied periodically by the homeowner.
*Some Powerflush machine manufacturers claim their machines can clean a one pipe system. Simply not true.
The new boiler was tucked in the corner of the new utility area. Some of the old 3″ pipework was rerouted and simplified to provide extra headroom in the new kitchen.
Finally, we fitted an additional cast iron school radiator in the lounge, and some modern programmable temperature controls by Honeywell.