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Defunct Back Boilers

Back boilers are not designed to be used unless they are water filled and connected to a heating system. If your boiler is no longer used in connection with your heating system, it must not be left in a condition where pipework is disconnected and the boiler casing is made redundant (normally by boring holes). Lighting a fire with a boiler and pipework left in this condition could lead to severe consequences, such as Carbon Monoxide escape and damage caused by smoke, heat or fire and further potential for explosion of the back boiler casing from a dry unvented system.

The HSE (Health & Safety Executive) have issued Technical Bulletin 101 on this matter which includes the following statement from HETAS the independent body for official testing and approval of solid fuel burning appliances:

The only positively safe and reliable way to proceed, when solid fuel back boiler is no longer needed and the customer wants to continue using the fireplace, is to totally remove the back boiler installation by breaking up the chamber that used to carry the hot water system and removing any pipe work. When an open fire is left in use (or could be brought back into use) a replacement Milner fire back needs to be installed to ensure that the fire can be safely used.

Similarly, a “wet” solid fuel room heater or stove with boiler should not be operated after the water supply to the boiler has been disconnected. These appliances are not designed to be used without water circulation and there could be serious safety issues if they are misused.

Please note this is not an instruction to remove any back boiler when undertaking a heating system upgrade. In an open vented system such as an oil fired heating system, it may be possible to run a dual system. Generally sealed unvented systems are not compatible.

If you have any concerns regarding this matter you should discuss this with your installer before work commences.

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