OT: Gas boiler switch - what could it be?


Don't panic, I'm not about to start playing with the gas boiler.
My mother who lives about 160 miles away has had problems with her gas combi boiler. It's under a maintainance contract and after replacing the circuit board, the boiler has come to life but seem reluctant to stay lit. The latest fitter to attend will be returning next week after it stopped working about three hours after he left.
My mother told him that when it lit sometines it made a very loud noise and the flame went out. On hearing this the fitter examined the boiler and came to the conclusion that some kind of switch should have been fitted when the boiler was installed but hadn't been.
He's planning to return next week and fit the switch and supposedly since the switch should have been in place, there will be a charge - naturally expensive through the company, cheap cash in hand.
These things tend to make me wonder what is going on, but unfortunately with a 300 mile round trip I can't keep too close an eye on things.
Given this 'chinese whispers' situation any ideas what this guy might be on about with regard to the missing switch (or is the whole thing a load of nonsense)?
Thanks.
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Think it's a bit hard to condemn a fitter without actually knowing what part he's fitting or supposed to be fitting and what the fault is. I'm no boiler man but it sounds to me like there's a problem with the ignition and because of this there's sometimes a build up of gas before ignition and hence the 'Loud Noise' of a large amount of gas been ignited. It may also explain why the boiler goes out as most modern boilers don't have a pilot light but rely upon electronic ignition.
I wonder how you mother can tell the boiler isn't lit as most boilers are 'sealed' and you can't actually see the combustion or 'pilot light' without thanking the front of the boiler.
Ash
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I'm not condeming him, but she has a maintenance contract and the boiler was inspected at the start of the contract and no mention of a missing switch was made then. It's the fact that this switch is being discussed as some extra that's required for proper operation of the boiler that makes me wonder. The boiler itself was fitted perhaps 18 months ago.
My mother has little clue as to the operation of the boiler and given that it's under contract the notion that the problem is associated with something that's classed as an extra is a bit unexpected and I'm struggling as to what it could be - hence the question.
It could all be perfectly innocent, but equally it might represent an opportunity for a fast buck from someone who would never know whether it's a real favour or something that should be covered. Most tradespeople are great, but there's always the odd one and I've yet to hear of a gas boiler under contract maintenance requiring a repair for proper operation that would be an extra charge.

Indeed, though it's not a problem I'd associate with a switch or anything I'd associate with something that's not intrinisically part of the boiler.

Well she can easily stand in front of the boiler, it's in a dark cupboard and a clue is that it goes cold.

I've asked her to phone me when he's there so I can ask him what the problem actually is.
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Like a big red "Emergency Stop" mushroom button, by the sound of it ;-)
Is it a single bang (explosive ignition maybe?) or a continuous noise (like fan bearing failed)? If you said the make and model, people might know more about it.
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Andrew Gabriel
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writes:

LOL you could be right!

She hasn't reported anything untoward about noisy operation, apart from the ignition.

Sorry, I have no idea - I don't really want to hassle my mother about it.
It's just the fact that this extra part that should/might remedy the problem is apparently an extra that concerns me - I thought someone might just say "It sounds like XXX".

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If the boiler was installed by a CORGI certified person and the boiler was installed according to the manufacturers directions and has been working ok for 18 months - it didn't need this mysterious new switch. If the manufacturers have made a modification to the boiler in the mean time and a 'new switch' has been added to their boilers then you may be able to claim against the manufacturers if it's still under warranty. If it's switch which has been missed off from the original installation ... I doubt the boiler would have worked for 18 months .
To me it sounds like
a. either the first engineer ... or whoever ... has removed the switch whilst replacing the circuit board and forgotten to replace the missing switch. OR b. the latest engineer has looked at the maintenance manual for a newer model which has a different part fitted.
Ash
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snip
Today I spoke on the phone to the fitter who said "someone else must have recommended a sludge magnet" because he hadn't suggested any payment for a switch. My mother who was nearby listening to what the fitter was saying, told me afterwards that he had told her a switch was required and that a cost would be involved..
Hmm.. anyway he's now confirmed that there are no costs involved in the repair.
He thinks the problem is a thermal cutout cutting in because the boiler is getting too hot and the delays have been because it's harder to source parts directly for the boiler (still don't know the make) that is a budget model often supplied by the likes of B&Q.
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