It’s a Three Way Valve and I expect that some of you recognised it.
The one in the picture has been replaced with a newer version by me and it is the fourth time that I’ve done this in the twenty odd years that we have been in this house. The job is a right pain in the arse (RPITA) the valve, its associated pipework, other valves, and electrical connections are all jammed into the airing cupboard with the hot water cylinder making it all difficult to access, unless you’re an ambidextrous Martian with six arms.
In the picture the valve is sitting on a towel, one of the many used in soaking up the water which pours out whilst the old valve is disconnected and the new one installed. I’m always worried that I won’t actually be able to fit the new valve in time (or at all) to prevent water pouring through the downstairs ceilings. I haven’t yet worked out how to isolate the valve in order to make the job less traumatic, without draining down the entire water system. Plumbers (or some of them) have devices whereby they can isolate plumbing components by freezing the surrounding pipework, although I’m not sure it would work in this case because the area is so restricted that you can barely wield a spanner.
Whilst typing I’ve worked out how to restrict the water flow during the inevitable future valve replacement.
Inevitable that is unless we replace our ageing Potterton with a (compulsory) newfangled condensing boiler. Our heating engineer says DON’T DO THIS, there are apparently enough spares around to keep our existing system going for the foreseeable future and the Potterton is more reliable and almost as efficient as the newer boilers. Apparently condensing boilers can be unreliable and are expensive to fix. I’ve done some Google research and this does appear to be the case.
Quote from DT:-
The fact that your existing boiler is 12 years old does not mean it will have to be replaced. Older boilers usually benefit from having sturdy cast-iron heat exchangers, and have fewer electronics than newer models.
And the Daily Mail:-
In fact, since 2005 it is illegal to fit any other kind. (condensing boiler)
At the time, the Government claimed they would massively reduce your carbon footprint and slash your fuel bills. As a result, every year some 1.2m 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.
Back to the problem ……In the main water tank in the loft are three outlets (excluding the overflow) one goes to the cold taps, one to the hot water cylinder and one to the central heating header tank (which itself has an outflow to the radiators). I reckon I could make some softwood plugs, block the holes and solve the problem.
Pity I didn’t think of it earlier.