Our case study today refers to a job we carried out in the first lockdown in 2020. A local care home had earlier used our services to repair a Worcester boiler in a wing of their building.
We got a call during the first COVID lockdown, when everyone was at home and the roads were deserted. Their main boiler plant was giving problems and they wanted us to look at it.
The main boiler room looked quite ordered from the outside; two flues sticking out had cages and it looked purpose made. however once the door was opened things didn’t look so clever. There were two Worcester Bosch CDi heat-only boilers, a 30Kw and a 40Kw. One of them was beyond repair with internal corrosion, and the other was well on the way.
There were cables of varying types stretched across the boiler room and a motley assortment of wiring boxes, those with lids still on had ‘230v’ scrawled in marker pen on the outside.
Most of the pipework was hanging off the wall, and the Worcester rules on open vented boiler connections hadn’t been observed. From a gas perspective, it was safe, but by any other measure, it was just awful.
It transpired that the home proprietors had commissioned a Gas Safe firm to replace their boiler plant around 10 years earlier. Work had started on the correct day, but they noticed rather haphazard attendance thereafter and the job seemed to take forever, with piecemeal adaptations being carried out for ages thereafter. In the end they lost confidence and the system had soldiered on requiring numerous interventions from local contractors until this time.
There were a limited number of options for us because the boiler room was quite small and one of the Worcester units had been fitted on the opposite side of the plant room doorway, involving a flue passing at a low height across the top.
We also had to try and keep the heating on while working in a very small area.
We proposed building a plywood frame on one side of the plant room, which would give us a flat surface where we could just fit two new Worcester Greenstar 8000 35Kw system boilers adjacent to each other, whilst observing manufacturer clearances.
We would link the boilers together (the old system was only partially linked by using the same header tanks and cold feed pipework) and use a mixing low loss header. We would also convert the system to a sealed type.
There was also the issue of a large hot water calorifier on the first floor which was uncontrolled, it was heated with the central heating. We utilised the now redundant the cold feed and vent pipework to give separate temperature and time control of the calorifier.
Linking the two boilers together was carried out using a Kanmor 264e intelligent boiler cascade controller, this can run just one boiler or two, and cycles the lead unit to balance the boiler run time hours. An external weather sensor was fitted to provide some additional cost control.
Water filling of the radiator system is catered for by a Mikrofill Automatic Filling Device (AFD), so the system pressure is monitored without intervention. Radiator bleeding can be carried out by unskilled staff and the Mikrofill will automatically top the system up.
We managed to do the entire plant changeover with very little downtime, the new boilers look much neater, all the pipes are properly laid out and the wiring is in trunking. We even painted our plywood white to give the room a lift.
The care home is excellently run by a dedicated team of staff, many of whom have been there for years, and all the residents seem very happy to be there.
Fortunately our work could be almost exclusively carried out in the subterranean boiler room, minimising contact with the vulnerable residents inside the main building. Where we did need to go inside, the staff were careful that the necessary precautions were in place.
The new boilers will be covered by the class leading Worcester Bosch 12 year warranty available when fitted by an accredited installation company.