Baxi Bermuda PW5 Delux back boiler - questions

A friend of mine is in the process of buying a house which has a Baxi Bermuda PW5 Delux back boiler.
The gas fire bit of it looks very new to me and I understand the boiler may only have been fitted fairly recently.
I've not had any experience of back boilers, my initial instinct was that it would be old and would need ripping out and replacing with a normal boiler mounted on the wall but if this is relatively new then it might well be ok?
Questions:
Are back boilers still made and fitted? Are there any pros and cons to them over a conventional boiler? Can the fire bit be replaced - I'm wondering if the boiler could be older than the fire looks? Any other thoughts?
Thanks
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In an earlier contribution to this discussion,

Probably - just. In order to fit one today, you'd have to demonstrate an exemption from fitting a condensing boiler - for which there is a points system. In other words, if the degree of difficulty in fitting a condensing boiler elsewhere scores you enough points, you can still fit a non-condensing back boiler.

The pro is that they save space by putting the boiler in the otherwise unused builder's opening, rather than having to have it in the kitchen, etc. The con is that they are less efficient in converted gas to useful heat than more modern designs - particularly condensing boilers - so the running costs will be higher.

Yes, I believe that Baxi do or did do replacement gas fires for some models of Bermuda - so the boiler *could* be older than the fire, but may not necessarily be so.

A lot depends on what else your friend indends to do with the house. If he/she is going to gut it and modernise it in other ways it may be a good idea to replace the boiler at the same time. But if they just want to move in and live in the house as is, I would leave the boiler alone as long as it works ok. It's quite a major upheaval to replace it - because a lot of pipes need moving.
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I think back boilers were popular around 25 years ago. They sat at the back of a gas fire and heated the water for the central heating and hot water system. Very inefficient compared to the wall mounted condensing boilers and combination boilers on the market. The one you mention is one of the latest boiler called a "back boiler" but a lot better than what most of us think of when that term is used. Just check to see it is not an older boiler behind the fire front.
Have a look here and it might help to explain what the new ones look like -
http://www.a1-gas.co.uk/html/heatprod/baxi.html
You will also need the correct sized air vent if it is in a living room. Insist on getting a safety certificate and having any work corrected or you might end up dead.
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On 14 Apr 2007 06:39:43 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@mm.st wrote:

Hi there,
Dont worry about it. Its still possible to buy/install back boilers and fire combinations in certain circumstances and there are planty of them out there working perfectly and giving good service.
Please see
http://www.baxi.co.uk/products/literature/Baxi_BermudaBroch.pdf
There are optional fire fronts available. I'm not sure without checking but i think the PW5 is toward the newer end of the scale.
Adavantages are that they are hidden behind the fire,you can get new firefronts to suit, they provide plenty of hot water (stored) and are nice simple technology. Wall mounted combi boilers are de riguer these days and these also have advantages/disadvantages but i wouldnt worry about this issue. As long as its properly installed and working fine dont let it bar you from buying a house. It will almost certainly give you years of good service.
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wrote:

I agree, compared to people we know with the latest Combi type boilers, from my own experience the Baxi has a far greater life expectancy and lower maintenance costs even though the fuel efficiency may be down. Having said that if you have to have a costly maintenance contracts on a new combi or pay 200 + labour for pcb replacement on the greater fuel efficient boiler then any lower fuel cost savings have just gone out of the window . Ours is still going strong when other 'conventional' boilers have failed and have actually been replaced because it was more economic to do so because reliability was still suspect if repaired.
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On Sat, 14 Apr 2007 06:39:43 -0700, murmansk wrote:

Apart from the pros and cons already mentioned bear in mind that the boiler needs to get its combustion air from the room it's installed in. Unless there's a duct under the floor this means having a ruddy great permanently-open ventilator in the room (roughly equivalent to having a house-brick missing from the wall) giving a freezing draught across the room in the winter.
Also when it does need replacing you'll probably be facing some upheaval to re-plumb the system to a modern boiler in a different location.
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On 17 Apr,

It's about time a manufacturer came up with a similarly sized condensing boiler with twin flue&inlet pipes that could be threaded through an existing chimney. They only need to be 50mm each, so they should fit inside a 9" brick flue easily. it would only need a suitable terminal on the top, and a condensate drain/pump.
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On Tue, 17 Apr 2007 13:19:44 +0100, me9 wrote:

I believe halstead do a condensing flue that can be fitted up a corrugated stainless flue liner. However the problem with a back boiler (as with combined range/boilers) is that the gas fire part is non-condensing so needs a high-temperature flue.
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On Wed, 18 Apr 2007 08:01:11 +0000, John Stumbles wrote:

Chimneys are as often as not crooked. There would rarely be an easy route for the condensate.
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Ed Sirett - Property maintainer and registered gas fitter.
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