Washing machine plumbing

When my daughter bought her flat a few months ago, the previous owner left the washing machine. It's a bit old but it was working ok till recently when it started to leak. Probably not worth trying to fix it so she bought a new one. When I connected it up today I found that the hot supply to the machine had been taken from the radiator circuit! I hasten to point out that it's a gravity fed system, but I can't believe someone would do that. As a temporary measure I have left the hot valve closed, so it will just use cold fill, but will this cause problems? Ed
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On Sat, 11 Oct 2003 21:59:45 +0100, "Ed Rear"

Yep.
The intention is that the primary (radiator) circuit of the CH should be filled with water and a corrosion inhibitor added. In normal operation the feed/expansion tank is there for just that and as a means of introducing small amounts of water if required to top up. WHen the system has been freshly filled, there will also be a fair bit of dissolved air which will come out of the water when heated into the radiators and may be bled off.
In the scenario that your daughter has, the water is being constantly replaced with fresh. Lack of corrosion inhibitor and presence of dissolved air will lead to radiators rusting away.
The system should be drained and the valve for the washing machine hot removed and taken away. Cap off the pipe. In most cases, there is little value in having a hot supply for a washing machine anyway since the fabrics and detergents used today imply a low temperature. Generally, very little hot will be taken into the machine if any.
The CH should be flushed through and a check made that there is no sludging at the bottom of the radiators. This can be checked by feeling the radiators in the centre at the bottom - it will be cool if there is sludge. If this is the case then do a search in Google Groups for postings on how to flush and clean.
Finally, add a corrosion inhibitor to the CH.
.andy
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wrote:

And I imagine the sludge in the CH system is going into the washing machine to clean the clothes! Euck!
PoP
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wrote:

Not necessarily. In a ferrous free system in a soft water area there may be no problems at all. In the USA this soft of this is common. They pump fresh water from cylinders around heating circuits.
I know someone who did this in the UK. He was broke after moving into a new (old) house. He was in a soft water area, so economised in CH kit. A cheap copper heat exchanger Fuelsaver boiler, a cheap direct cylinder, an in-line filter on the boiler return pipe, bronze pump, copper skirting and Myson heaters. The system was set to 75C, so no Leogionella, and he used a priority system (a zippo cylinder re-heat) and a blending valve for the DHW draw-off. So fresh water running around his CH circuit.
He intended to replace with a sealed system when finances were better, but never got around to it. No inhibitor and still working after 25 years. I don't recommend people to do this though. But if you are a professional in the game and know what you are doing, you can do many things that are against the regs and no harm will be done. The regs are for people who don't know that much. A pro can bend rules and get way with it without any adverse affects at all.
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There are non-ferrous radiators? The only thing I could think of would be fan assisted devices like the Myson fitted with copper heat exchanger......
Also naturally soft water is often associated with peat soils and is therefore acidic, although I suppose that the water suppliers would buffer it is some way to pH7.
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wrote:

Aluminium. But copper skirting and Mysons are better.
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So when the heating is off, the machine is only filling with cold water ? Or is the machine filling with hot water when the heating is off ? No offence, but are you sure the hot water is being drawn from the radiator circuit and not being drawn from the hot water side on the boiler. What type of boiler is it, Combi or conventional ?
I had someone tell me this type of story a little while ago, and when I went to investigate, I found that is was a combination boiler and the hot water was being drawn off from the correct hot water demand outlet on boiler. The person was adamant that it was not and had to be shown that when the heating system was off, the hot taps were still being supplied with hot water from the boiler correctly. Tracing the pipes back toward the boiler had confused them into thinking that the hot water was supplied directly from the heating system, when in actual fact, they just didn't know how a combination boiler worked.
Please don't take offence at these remarks, it is just that I had this experience recently and wondered if you'd fallen into the same trap.
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Thanks for your replies guys.I didn't know about the problem of sludge. Big Wallop - thanks for your input, but it is definitely not a combi. The hot water from the tank is a 22mm pipe. Running parallel are three 15mm pipes, cold mains and 2 for the rads. I reckon the berk who plumbed it in felt the hot 15mm pipe and thought it was the hot supply. I'm going to see if I can get a "y" piece today and connect both pipes to the cold. Thanks again, I've learnt such a lot from this newsgroup. Ed

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LOL !
I wonder if he's the same guy that tried to get his gas cooker to work off the mains cold water feed ?
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to the sale, and it's a really rough job. The kitchen is quite small so it won't cost a great deal to rip it out and put in some decent units, but that's for a later date. I managed to get a "y" adapter today and fitted it so should be no more trouble there. As for the radiators, yes, some of them are cold at the bottom and hot at the top, so I take it that means sludge and they will have to be taken out and flushed. I have read in the FAQ how to do that. If they have rusted inside will I be able to tell from the gunge that comes out, and is the damage likely to cause further problems? We hope to change the boiler shortly to a combi, so I hope it will be ok to leave the flushing till then. Ed
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The radiators may just need bled to get air out, but looking at the colour of the water that comes when you bleed them may tell what kind of condition the radiators are in. If the water is a dark rusty colour, then the radiators are probably needing flushed, but if the washing machine has been drawing water off this side of the system, then it might have actually helped in stopping any major sludge build up because of the continuous replenishment.
Check by bleeding the air out of the system first. Including the air bleeder valve on the boiler pipework. you should find one at the top of the highest pipe.
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Was it North Sea Gas?
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I don't really know, but he did end up with half the North Sea on his kitchen floor.
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in it
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geoff

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When installing an appliance such as washing machine always follow manufacturers guidelines as warranties will become invalidated otherwise. Always drain off hot water and run off from your most convienient point.Generally all washing machines require both hot and cold feed so best to install proper fashion.
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Most these days are cold only.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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Not all, by any means, though. My new Smeg came with hot and cold fill.
BTW, the 1600 spin is fantastic. It must save a fortune in tumble drying energy. The controls are unnecessarily complex, though, when you are used to a Hotpoint Ultima.
Christian.
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Mine takes so little water that I don't think it would be hot by the time it gets there, so rather a waste of time and energy.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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I thought it odd, as it has very low water consumption. It is AAA rated.
Christian.
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