Boiler leaking - emergency or not?
June 29, 2014 8:00 AM   Subscribe

Our combi boiler (a Bosch-Worcester 532i I think) appears to be leaking a bit - water is dripping down from somewhere inside. I've put a bucket underneath it for now. It being a Sunday, getting someone out today to take a look and/or fix it is likely to be expensive. Water pressure seems to be fine and it still seems to be working (i.e. we still have hot water). Is this an emergency situation that warrants calling out someone right now, or is it something that can wait until tomorrow?
posted by xchmp to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
The obvious (and useless) answer is, there is no way to tell without getting somebody out to look at it. Is there a water cut-off that would not affect the rest of your (cold) water supply? I would be tempted to keep an eye on it today, then turn off the water before I went to bed, to limit the damage in case of a catastrophic leak, and deal with a plumber in the morning. But, I'd only try that if there is a cut-off I can trust, meaning one installed in the last 20 years or so, not some ancient fitting that might itself start to leak the moment I touched it.
posted by mr vino at 8:37 AM on June 29, 2014

Given that it's a warm day, I'd turn off the water supply to it and manage without hot water until tomorrow. Especially if you have an electric shower.

Turning it off should be simple enough, as there will be an isolating valve on the water inlet, which will either have a handle or a screwdriver slot. If it's a screwdriver slot, turn it a ¼-turn to close, so the slot's perpendicular to the direction of the pipe. And turn the electricity supply off at the mains too, obviously.

For what it's worth, I doubt the boiler will be badly affected by a leak inside for a day or two, but better safe than sorry, and you'd be fine to turn it on for the duration of a shower or to run a sinkful of hot water for washing up or whatever.
posted by ambrosen at 8:49 AM on June 29, 2014

My parents had a boiler that leaked for 2 years before it suddenly burst while they were on vacation and the basement of my family home was flooded for two weeks.

Fortunately, the boiler was owned by the water company and my parents had notified them of the leak so it was their failure. Unfortunately all my non-nomadic stuff was stored in the crawlspace and I ended up being allergic to the basement likely do to some missed mould problem.

Do not take a leaking boiler lightly.
posted by srboisvert at 9:28 AM on June 29, 2014

Thanks everyone - it doesn't seem to be getting any worse so the current plan is to keep an eye on it, turn the water off at the stopcock overnight and get someone out tomorrow.
posted by xchmp at 9:47 AM on June 29, 2014

I have no idea about your boiler, but ours had a tiny tiny leak for almost a year before they figured out how to fix it (by replacing the whole thing). I personally wouldn't worry if you plan on getting someone in this week, but I also wouldn't take my answer as anything other than anecdotal.
posted by barnone at 9:48 AM on June 29, 2014

IANAP although I do have a similar Worcester 24i. Had a slow drip since I moved in last year. Turns out that the original installer hadn't properly assembled the drain pipe (c. 20 mm plastic tube) leading from left hand side of the bottom of the boiler to the drain and condensed water was slowly dripping out. Have a good look with a torch to see where its leaking from. If it is from the drain pipe connection then it probably isn't an emergency.
posted by Dr.Pill at 10:22 AM on June 29, 2014

Ours leaked for two years before we replaced it. I wouldn't worry unduly, but get somebody to look at it over the next week or so.
posted by tinkletown at 11:00 AM on June 29, 2014

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