WARNING TO VAILLANT ECOMAX 6 & 8 SERIES BOILER OWNERS

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On Friday night my Vaillant Ecomax 828/2E boiler (fitted June 2003) sprang a leak and drenched the whole bathroom and kitchen underneath. The cost of repairs is going to be considerable.
The boiler engineer came out Saturday and established the leak as a fault or error as part of the manufacturing/assembling process. Inside these modern boilers a lot of pipework is held together by spring clips which sit in grooves and hold the copper piping - complete with rubber O-ring - in place and sealed.
Well that is the theory. My main water feed to the boiler which will be the first bit of pipework with these spring-clip connections came apart and leaked. There is mains pressure in this pipework but fortunately for me the pipe did not completely detach.
The cause of the problem, according to my installer, was that the spring clip was NOT firmly and correctly seated in place and he went on to say the the top bit of the clip (shaped like a horizontal "U") was in its groove but the bottom part of the clip was not. Over time and with boiler use - temperature changes, pressure fluctuations, humidity, vibration, etc, the clip has failed to retain fully the copper pipe inside its fitting among the boiler components and started leaking (pouring in my case).
This is part of the boiler that installers should not touch or interfere with during the installation process as they are "ready to go". It is also highly unlikely that these clips could come loose during any transportation once they have left the factory. Which leaves an error on the production line - i.e the clip was not fitted properly by someone in the factory. This makes Vailllant liable I guess.
The reason these clips are fitted I am told is to make things quicker to change over should components in your boiler fail. There are no compression joints or soldered joints to mess about with, just pull a couple of clips and replace the bad component. I personally don't like this. Had I known that my water mains pressure was being held in by a clip on a pipe I would not have gone down the Ecomax route.
There could also be design faults with these boilers and how the pipe retention clips are used/made but I haven't heard about design problems from Vaillant yet. Anyway my water poured all over my circuit board although the installer dried it out with a hairdryer and got it working again. The Vaillant engineer is coming on Tuesday and I will speak to him then about potential design defects (and compensation).
If my installer is adamant he did not partly dislodge this clip and Vaillant say there clip was firmly seated in place on the production line then a design fault becomes more alarming and probable.
I urge you all to check your component parts inside the boiler and check all these spring clips (there are several) to make sure they are firmly seated top and bottom in their grooves. And if anyone else has had problems of this nature pleas let me know.
Regards,
~Carl
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Carl wrote:
Snip

I can fully understand your mission to attach blame to Vaillant, but the older non-condenser versions also use these clips and there most be many thousands of these boilers installed. If there was a design fault, with these clips then I would suspect that it would have surfaced by now.
Lee
--
To reply use lee.blaver and ntlworld.com


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Lee Blaver wrote:

A Vokera I recently installed appeared to have very similar clips.
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I'd put it down to over stressing on the installation. If the installer has to connect pipework to the section that failed inside the boiler, then there is the chance that the installer could put to much strain on this section and pull the joint apart. I don't think it's a matter of a recall by Vaillant, but more a point of getting an installer who is competent at fitting boilers.
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Carl wrote:

I guess its now difficult to get Vaillant to acccept that it was their fault if the engineer has dismantled the connection and re-made it.
Not much else you could have done really I guess as you needed a quick fix, but seeing as it was still in warranty, it may have been worth calling Vaillant's engineers.
I don't know your boiler engineer and how honest he is - but I would not be surprised for any tradesperson looking at the damage and judging the the cost of repairs to bathroom and kitchen, that even if it was a problem with his installation - he'd have passed the buck somewhere if he could.
Remember though, AFAIK, if he supplied the boiler and fitted it, then your contract is with him - even if the problem is with Vaillant and can be rectified etc under warranty. This came up before with using a faulty Pushfit fitting and a leak happening - you're unlikely to ever get any compensation from Pushfit (or B&Q who sold the part)- partly because its practically impossible to prove once the part has been fixed/changed etc - and also because the contract was with whoever fitted it. This is where his Public Liability Insurance should kick in. Don't automatically assume that as he says its a problem with Vaillant's manufacturing process, that he has no responsibility in fixing the situation (and the damage). I'm not saying he's responsible for fixing the damage - but that its possible that its more likely his responsibility that Vaillant's but even that depends possibly on his T's&C's of working and how long he guarantees the work for etc. uk.legal may be able to help further.
David
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Thanks for your posts. It seems I may have a legal argument on my hands as to who is responsible. The clip that failed inside the boiler is right at the bottom inside the case. My installer explained that during installation the mains pipe connection is fitted underneath the boiler and not anywhere near this clip fitting so I don't see how he could stress it loose. The only thing he would pass over ther failed pipework would be the electric plug leads for the control panel. I dont really care who is responsible as long as someone pays. The installers explanation seemed plausible but he did say that as Vaillaint are huge company I might not get any joy from them. Having said that his parting shot was that from now on he would check all the spring clip fittings upon completion of installation to make sure they were fitted correctly at the factory. An admission of responsibility here? I dunno. All I know is it wasn't me!
~Carl
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