Back in the mid 1990s the gas industry introduced something called fan-flued gas appliances. These made it possible to locate gas central heating boilers away from outside walls. Great news for architects and developers who found the restrictions of locating flues on outside walls interfered with their designs.
Boilers could be located anywhere there was a suitable space, with the flues routed through voids in ceiling space or stud walls.
This practice reached its peak of popularity from the millennium onwards and was especially favoured by designers of new build apartments, especially in cities like London.
The trouble was the flues being concealed couldn’t be easily inspected to make sure they were safe and working properly. So if the boiler was repaired or replaced, the gas engineer would be required by law to check the flue, and finding that this was not possible would have to class it as ‘not to current standards’.
Concealed Flue Inspection Hatches
So some legislation was put in place to necessitate the fitting of inspection hatches. Homeowners and landlords, etc. had the responsibility of having these fitted and that had to be done by the end of 2012. After that, any gas engineer working on a system that didn’t have an inspection hatch would have to class it as ‘at risk’ and would have to turn off the gas supply, with the homeowner’s permission, and formally advise that the boiler should not be used until inspection hatches had been fitted.
Most sealed boiler flue systems are now coming to the end of their serviceable lifespan and in fact most of them will be over 10 years old now. If you’ve got a concealed flue system and need a new boiler, the fact is you’re going to need to replace the entire flue system with a non-concealed one. Think about how that’s going to affect the aesthetics of your home, not to mention the cost involved and the upheaval and mess with all the work.
Electric Boilers: A Lot Less Hassle
So what’s the alternative? An electric boiler. Electric boilers don’t require flues. They don’t risk giving off carbon monoxide either, and they’re really economical to run as well as being compact in size.
Have a think about it if you’re about to replace a gas boiler. We can give you a free, no-obligation quotation if you’d like to weigh up the costs so get in touch.
There’s loads of useful information on concealed flue systems on the Gas Safe Register website.