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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Brit Govt. Mandated Eco-Boilers Break in Cold Weather-- Leaving Many Without Heat

Yet another reason why you should not allow governments to control economies. They make a lot of mistakes, because they are not experts in the fields in which they meddle. Thus fragile machines replace hearty ones, and let them eat cake-- er, freeze for the good of the planet.

From American Thinker post by Phil Boehmke (h/t Anne Leary at Backyard Conservative):

"Five years ago the global warming crowd and their comrades in the Labour Party mandated the use of new green technology boilers in Great Britain. Government and environmental experts said that the ‘condensing boilers’ would not only greatly reduce the consumer’s carbon footprint, but would also lower their heating bills. Saving money and saving the planet, what could be better?

"The UK Daily Mail reports that during the recent record cold spell in Great Britain, tens of thousands of people were without heat due to a serious flaw in the new boiler’s design.

[...]

"To make matters worse, the new boilers typically last only 3-6 years and the costs of parts to repair the units are outrageously high. One of the bi-products of the condensation process is the creation of acidic water vapor from the dissolved nitrogen and sulfur oxides which corrode the delicate system components. Gee, the old boilers were very reliable and lasted 20 years on average."

And from the Daily Mail article by Michael Hanlon [emphasis mine throughout]:

"Five years ago, New Labour heralded them as the modern, clean and green way to heat your house. As a result, today there are already eight million 'condensing boilers' in homes across Britain. In fact, since 2005 it is illegal to fit any other kind.

"At the time, John Prescott claimed they would massively reduce your carbon footprint and slash your fuel bills. As a result, every year some 1.2 million 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 [ about $309 to $463 USD] on a bank holiday. And don’t forget about VAT.

[...]

"It’s all the more infuriating because the problem causing these breakdowns is so simple. In cold weather, the pipe that takes waste water from the back of the condensing boiler - which isn’t there in a normal boiler - freezes solid, shutting down the system and in many cases causing permanent damage.

"But this problem is just one of many that have plagued this boiler design since they became popular in the Nineties. Many plumbers consider them to be little more than a multi-billion-pound con-trick.

"In a regular boiler, the hot gases produced when the ­methane fuel is burned heat water for your ­radiators, dishwasher, taps and so on. But about 25 per cent of the heat vents out of the exhaust pipe in the form of hot steam and CO2.

"In a condensing boiler, a condenser claws back much of the lost heat because as steam condenses into water, it feeds heat back into the system.

"This can increase overall efficiency from 75 per cent to as much as 93 per cent, and reduce CO2 emissions - and your bills - by a commensurate amount. That, anyway, is the theory boiler-makers and ­politicians want you to believe.

"In 2005, the then-deputy PM John Prescott drew up a masterplan to help Britain meet its CO2 emissions targets, as dictated by the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. This involved a new law ordering that all new and replacement boilers fitted to British homes - some 1.4m annually - must from that date be of the condensing type.

"A 'boiler scrappage' scheme followed in 2008, which offered people £400 [about $617 USD]towards the cost of a new condensing boiler if they replaced their old one - even if it was in perfect working order. [Does this remind anyone else of Cash for Clunkers?] Boiler manufacturers and plumbing and installation firms could hardly believe their luck.

"An estimated eight million homes in Britain made the switch, often encouraged by persistent salesmen who produced an impressive-looking audit offering a seductive assessment of how much money you could save by switching to a new, 'clean' boiler.

"But even ignoring the freezing pipe problem, it is clear that in most cases it makes no economic sense to scrap an old boiler that is still functioning.

"For an average home, replacing even a very inefficient old model with the best new boiler on the market will, at most, save a couple of hundred pounds a year in gas bills.

"That sounds good until you realise that at £2,000 [about $3085 USD] for one of the better condensing models, a new one will take at least ten years to pay for itself.

"And the problem is that these boilers simply do not last anything like ten years.

"'You might get 20 years out of one of the old ones,' Charlie Mullins says, 'but it is more like three to six years out of one of these new ones. In fact, if it goes wrong after four years, you are better off replacing a condensing boiler altogether because of the ­horrendous cost of the parts.

"'On the basis of efficiency, they certainly do not pay for themselves. It makes no sense to take out a working old boiler and replace it with a condensing one.'

"That’s not something the enthusiastic salesmen will tell you. They also won’t tell you that those touted increases in efficiency are theoretical, often not matched in reality. These boilers rarely operate at ­maximum efficiency anyway.

"Explained simply, the water returning from your radiators back to the boiler has to be below 55c for the condenser to condense the steam in the boiler into water. For most homes using standard radiators, this will probably not be the case - the returning water might be as hot as 65c, especially when the radiators are turned up in cold weather.

[...]

"The problems don’t stop there either. The condensed water vapour produced in the new boilers is slightly acidic (as it contains dissolved nitrogen and sulphur oxides), which inevitably causes corrosion of the delicate boiler components and also leads to breakdowns.

"So the message is clear: if you have an old boiler, provided it is working properly and is serviced regularly, you are almost certainly better off keeping it until it is beyond economic repair. Parts will be cheaper, it will be less likely to break down and there is no danger of it stalling on the coldest night of the year."

Of course the Obama administration and the Dems are dead-set on similar government mandated eco-policies here (Cap & Tax, Cash for Clunkers, "Green" Energy Subsidies, the VAT, etc.). And always they are based on the same nanny-state theory that the people are simply too stupid to know what's best for them, so they must be ruled through regulatory fiat.

As Lincoln once said: "They are the arguments that kings have made for enslaving the people in all ages of the world. You will find that all the arguments in favor of kingcraft were of this class; they always bestrode the necks of the people, not that they wanted to do it, but because the people were better off for being ridden."

4 comments:

  1. Well in the Brits' defense, they WERE told by global warming alarmists that Europe would never see winter again.

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  2. Heh. More central planning perils...

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  3. Everybody must care about global warming; it's not a joke.
    In my hotel in Recoleta the staff was really conscious about that.

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  4. The "Ines" comment is an advertisement for Dazzler Suites Recoleta. Her link goes to a homepage where you can book a room (cute, huh?). I'll allow the comment to stay, but don't dignify the ad by clicking on the link.

    Real classy!! (the comment as ad schtick, not the hotel).

    ReplyDelete