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?
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.
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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
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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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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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