How can I get the boiler in my new flat to start up?
November 21, 2017 1:56 PM   Subscribe

I just bought a new flat and I can't get the combi boiler (hot water / central heating) to start up. It turns on, and although it is old I have no reason to believe it shouldn't work. I don't want to look like an idiot calling out a plumber for something stupid I don't understand. Details and photos inside.

I am not in the new flat just now, and won't move in till the weekend. I'm making periodic visits in the meantime. Next one in about 24 hours. So I can't try suggestions straight away...

I have very limited experience of these matters.

This is in the UK (specifically Scotland), in case I use terminology that doesn't translate.

The boiler is an Ariston Eurocombi, either an A/23 or A/27 MFFI. Manual here.

Gas is definitely connected to the flat. There is a gas cooker that lights up without a problem. However, I understand that there may be a "gas cock" nearer the boiler itself. I would expect this to look something like this, but I can't see anything like that.

Here is the control panel. The On/Off button (on the right) isn't turned on in the photo, but when it is on there is an orange light above it. No other LEDs are lit. The button on the left is supposed to be a kind of reset button, but nothing happens when I press it.

Way beneath the boiler is a valve to let in water (I forgot to take a photo of this). I opened this up a little to let enough water in to get the pressure gauge up between 1 and 2.

Directly beneath the boiler, these pipes go into it. I think the one that ends in the solid gold bits in the foreground is likely the gas pipe. There are several in theory turnable bits, but I don't know which, if any, might be usefully turned by me. The bit facing forward among all that gold (in clear plastic) has a screw that could be turned.

Inside the boiler (front view, left angle, right angle), is something identified in the manual as a gas valve. But there's nothing there that seems easily adjustable by me. I guess gas cocks and valves might be different things?

When I turn on a hot water tap, there is noise in the boiler. Maybe just the water flowing through it. But no hot water and no flame through the little viewing window.

If anyone can help me out with a simple solution, I'd be very grateful. As I said, I don't want to call out a professional until I know I've not missed something basic. In Scotland, we have 5 days to check these things are working in a new place (if they're not, it's the previous owner's responsibility, legally).
posted by cincinnatus c to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
Did you call the gas company to ensure that the service has not been shut down? (learned that the hard way)
posted by sammyo at 2:04 PM on November 21, 2017

Gas is definitely connected to the flat. There is a gas cooker that lights up without a problem.
posted by cincinnatus c at 2:05 PM on November 21, 2017

What happens when you turn the thermostat up?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:06 PM on November 21, 2017

The white bits in the "under the boiler" pic are almost certainly valve handles. Looks like they're open, though. Can you find out what pressure it is supposed to be at? I suspect it has a sensor to keep it from lighting the gas if the incoming water pressure is too low.
posted by wierdo at 2:07 PM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh, and the inside pic looks like an automatic (electronically controlled) valve, not the shut-off. If you're electrically handy you could see if the necessary voltage is being supplied to the valve when the boiler is on and the thermostat should be calling for heat.

Here in the US, copper pipe is never used for gas. If that is also the case there, the white handles I referred to earlier are most likely the water shutoffs and the gas shutoff is elsewhere. It could be a small valve that has a rectangular post when viewed from the top, often with a hole in the side so you can turn it with a screwdriver in addition to a wrench or pliers. It could look something like the first pic here, next to the meter.
posted by wierdo at 2:15 PM on November 21, 2017

Water pressure is exactly correct. Panel settings look OK.

Is there a timer adjacent to this on a wall? Timer may be overriding the whole thing to Off or may even be switched off itself.

Is the water valve to the boiler open? It should be closed after the pressure gauge reaches about 1 - 1.5 bar (which is where it is in your photo). If it's open, usually no water *at all* will come out of the hot tap. You said it wasn't producing hot water but we don't know if that means it's running cold or not at all.

If it's just not firing and none of these things apply? Call the gas guy.
posted by genghis at 3:34 PM on November 21, 2017

call a professional, don't blow up your new flat
posted by patnok at 5:22 PM on November 21, 2017

Have you run through the start up procedure in the manual ? I looks like it is in the back of the manual on a small card numbered 8, Start up Procedure Lighting.

There is also a fault finding section in the manual (ch2) that will walk you though finding what it wrong with the system.

If I had to guess I would say it is likely the gas to your unit is not turned on at the gas cock. If Scotland adopts the international codes for gas then the gas pipe should be a steel pipe instead of a copper one. I would find that pipe and trace it back. You should find a gas cock in an accessible area off that line, even if it is a bit further away than it should be.
posted by Oceanic Trench at 5:29 PM on November 21, 2017

(According to the manual and photos, the gas line is the one entering at the dead centre of the appliance from below)
posted by genghis at 7:11 PM on November 21, 2017

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