Hi, just a quick Q (i think)
Just had the old fire place taken out heating bloke is coming to connect the
gas fire up accordingly just have a few questions:
1) Any good suppliers for gas fires, surrounds hearths and back panels? B&Q
seem to be about £800-900 for the lot but reckon with shopping around I
should be able to get that down, any ideas of online places.
2)The gas supply pipe for the fire has been capped of at floor level, so how
do I go about putting the hearth down, was looking at the ground marble
thats glued (Not suire on exact name) also how is this bedded down. Do I
drill a hole for the pipe to come through?
3) Fitting the fire its all going to br checked and commisioned by a corgi
bloke after but how is a gas fire fitted is it screwed, bedded or just
4) What order should I go about installing, Hearth, Backing, Fire, Surround?
Oh a short question has turned into a lot of Q's never mind if anyone has a
good source of information on installing fires then that would be much
On Tue, 30 Nov 2004 15:30:22 +0000, The Question Asker wrote:
There's a lot of preparatory checks to be made on the existing fire place
before a gas fire can be installed. Has it been swept? Method of
contruction? Condition? Ventilation needed? Compliant terminal?
Passes flue flow test?
If you don't know leave it to someone who does.
There is no reason why you can't install the hearth, surround & mantle peice
yourself. However there is a certain amount of interplay between the
choice of fire and the fire place. So you need tohave an eye on the fire
that you will fit and then make the fire place suitable.
In general, hearths should be 50mm above floor level, at least 150mm wider
than the fire. At least 300mm deep. Min 12mm top surface non combustible.
HTH rather than deters.
Ed Sirett - Property maintainer and registered gas fitter.
The FAQ for uk.diy is at www.diyfaq.org.uk
Good advice in principle, I know, but I've just had a gas stove-type
fire fitted by "someone who knows", or at least by his two assistants
working under his "supervision", though he wasn't actually there at
the time. He's Corgi registered (I checked) and contracted by the shop
that sold me the stove. He and his mates install these things all the
The stove was fitted to what was a capped pipe, no isolation valve,
without turning the gas off. Hard to believe, I know, but a) the
central heating boiler would have had to be re-lit if the gas had been
off, and b) I asked the fitter.
The tests required by the manufacturer and, for all I know, the law,
were not recorded and can't have been done if turning the gas off at
the meter was part of the tests. I wasn't asked what other appliances
were in the house, so a test with all appliances working can't have
been done. The thin copper pipe coming up through the hearth was
kinked went it was bent to connect to the stove. At least I managed to
persuade them to fit a flexible flue liner to the leaky unlined brick
chimney, though they said it wasn't necessary.
The shop says the tests are just to cover the manufacturer's back and
there's no need to do them because "gas pressure is the same
everywhere". They eventually agreed to see if the tests could be done,
but have quietly let the matter drop.
The stove manufacturer says of course the tests will have been done,
but they're not interested anyway.
Trading Standards (sorry, Consumer Direct, the call centre that now
prevents direct access to them) say it's not one for them unless the
stove itself is faulty.
Corgi technical say the stove and supply should be tested, and the
pipe should really be repaired because the kink will have weakened it.
Since Gorgi are the only people who seem to care about this at all, I
sent off a "Gas Safety Complaint" via the form on Corgi's website, but
haven't had a reply.
So, good luck if you leave it to someone who knows. Given an hour's
training I'm sure I could have done the job better myself, because I
care whether things are done right.
At least this should give you some idea of what sort of things to look
Yes - I had a very similar experience with a glass fronted
hole in the wall gas fire....
The Corgi registered contractors who arrived
to do the job tied their horses up outside. My hair got a
little greyer every time the did something. They even
told me I didn't need an air brick with "this type of fire" -
crap, it even said an air brick (or whatever) was necessary
in the installation instructions. And btw we have very draught
proof windows and doors..
After a couple of days I ended up telling the manager of
the company where I purchased the fire, that I would
not let them back in the house. So he put his "best" team
on it, who, to be fair, did do a good job. However they
had to strip everything out - including the flue which
had been incorrectly fitted.
I could have done a better job myself with the exception
of the fitting of the flue. Difficult being on the roof and in
lounge at the same time!!! Oh - and the plastering - I don't
do plastering... :-)
My missus had a "plumber" guy come round to fit a new set taps to the hand
wash basin while I was away. I came home to no taps on the basin, and all
the water turned off to the bathroom. What the F?, I asked, as you can
imagine. I'm away ten weeks and come home to this? What happened?
Well the plumber guy shows up to do the job. Gets all his tools out to
start disconnecting the pipework from under the basin. Wifey here says "Why
are you touching the pipes way down there? I only need the taps changing as
a surprise for my man coming home". Plumber guy says "The pipework is shot
and needs replaced, so I thought I'd better do it for you while I'm here".
Missus hits roof and bodily throws him out the house with all his tools.
She phones his so called boss and complains about him trying to change six
week old pipework without her expressed permission, and was going to charge
her for the experience. I only put the old taps back on to save time, while
she picked a new set out, you see.
Now, the missus is a well travelled American/British lady, and doesn't take
to lightly to being treated like a right idiot. She doesn't get what she
doesn't want, and sure won't pay for the privilege of having to go through
the argument of saying NO! I'm glad that the plumber guys' boss didn't ask
for a call out charge of some kind, or I'd probably come home to no phone,
as well as no taps, and with a pending medical bill for the removal of said
phone from someone's lower colon.
Now I think that's professional. :-)
The man in the gas fire shop suggested they must have a way of
stopping the gas escaping from an open pipe "like you can freeze water
pipes when you're working on them" There, you see, not dangerous at
The fitter's boss (the Corgi registered one) rang yesterday, a bit
upset that Corgi had invited him to their inspection of his work on
Monday. Apparently the shop hadn't told him anything about this.
He wasn't surprised that his man had connected to a live supply, seems
it must be common practice. Fitter's boss said they would have tested
the pipework for leaks by using soap.
They never bother to fill in test results in the customer's
instruction booklet, apparently.
I take it that it's usual to keep a record of test results on a new
appliance? I only ask because the shop man asked me to send the
booklet back to them so they could fill in the results (of the tests
that weren't done, but I suppose one pass result looks much like
He admitted it to the Corgi inspector (he called it "snatching it", so
if it's got a name it can't be that uncommon), who administered a slap
on the wrist.
Apparently, the pressure decay test is regarded as "best practice",
but not actually compulsory until April 2005. It's now been done.
I checked this with the manufacturer and they weren't bothered whether
it was filled in or not, so long as the tests had been done. They just
weren't prepared to accept the possibility they might not have been.
If I hadn't bought this make of stove I would probably have been none
the wiser. I took the instruction booklet at face value, assuming that
if it said the tests must be done they must be a legal requirement.
Not so, say Corgi. The inspector was particularly dismissive of the
"length and size of gas supply" question, and "burner pressure, all
gas appliances on full". I thought this last one seemed sensible as a
flow rate estimate to complement the static pressure test, but
apparently I was wrong.
I also learned that a gas stove can be installed without a flue liner,
confirming what the fitter told me (and contrary to what I read in an
earlier thread here, incidentally). I insisted on a liner, which was
maybe a bit OTT, but in any case it seems a smoke test should have
been done before saying it wasn't needed.
The inspector was for fixing the kinked gas pipe, but allowed it to
stand when it was pointed out that the stove would have to come out to
get at it.
Now everything's been tested and passed and nothing's had to be
changed, I suppose it could be said it was a waste of time and I
should have trusted the fitters, but SWMBO in particular couldn't help
remembering the "expert" who bodged the installation of her aged
parents' gas fire and made them quite ill.
Anyway, maybe some of this will be useful to someone - it's amazing
what you can pick up on here...
(though it's mostly curable).
The inspector can insist faults are put right. In this case there are few
remaining faults although their were a number of very questionable
installation methoids used.
The fitted lost his time having to attend the inspection.
I am surprised that much more was't made about the lack of
supervision of trainees, or perhaps the fitter made out that he
was supervising them.
Ed Sirett - Property maintainer and registered gas fitter.
The FAQ for uk.diy is at www.diyfaq.org.uk
I think it was known to the inspector that the fitters (experienced,
not trainees) weren't being supervised closely.
He made it clear that fitting to a live gas supply wasn't to be
tolerated. The boss obviously knew this, and said he'd tell them to
stop doing it.
Other than that, and the failure to do a flue test in advance, it
seemed there was little for Corgi to enforce. And of course Corgi
inspectors are or were gas fitters themselves, they know how people
behave in the real world, so there's the possibility of divided
None of this surprises me. From previous experience I've come to
expect professionals in any trade to have a sloppy attitude, even if
they do have the training and qualifications. All too often
familiarity breeds contempt, it seems. I wouldn't tackle gas fitting
myself, but it's going to become increasingly difficult for more
competent DIY-ers in general if things continue, as with Part P for
example. I remain to be convinced that things will get safer.
One last question: was I wrong to insist on a flue liner? My reason
was the state of the pointing on the chimney stack inside the roof
space, and stuff I'd read implying that liners were mandatory, but
both the fitter and the inspector seemed against liners. It occurs to
me that if the connection between the stove pipe and the liner wasn't
made perfectly (now why should I imagine that could be possible...) I
might be worse off because any leakage wouldn't be able to escape at
the top. The inspector would have checked this if the joint hadn't
been out of sight behind the chimney closure plate, but as it was he
accepted the fitter's word that it had been done correctly.
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