Gas fires keeps going out

I bought a Flavel Misermatic gas fire in Nov 2004 and had it fited by a gas engineer. It worked ok for about 6 months and then developed a fault. It would work ok for a while and then start making bubbling noises in the flames before going out. This only happened on full power and not on half power We would have to wait about 5 mins before re-lighting.
The guy who fitted it would not come out and the shop where I bought it went out of business. After many enquiries I made contact with the manufacturers as it was still under warranty. They sent an engineer out who turned it off and went awya for 2 weeks (he ordered a spare part). We had to hendure 2 weeks of freezing temptures. He return and replaced one of the ceramic plate (which he had broken) and nothing else. So we waited 2 weeks due to his fault though he made it look that the gas fire needed another part.
Anyway, he could not work out why the gas fire was going out. Just by co-incident I turned on the hot water; this dropped the gas pressure at the gas fire. He homed in on the problem; the combi boiler was causing the problem. He went and looked at the boiler and said that the piping to it was wrong. Apprantly, the combi boiler had 15mm gas pipe going to it which was not enough. So when we turned on water, the boiler was taking excessive amount of gas and the gas fire was being starved of gas.
He offered this explanation and left saying that our boiler was to blame. The gas fire worked ok for 3 months. It has started to go out again now after 3 months.
What I do not understand is that the gas fire worked perfectly for first 6 months although we were using the boiler constantly for CH and hot water. And again after the engineer had been, it worked ok for 3 months.
Did the engineer give me incorrect info? Is the 15mm piping to the combi boiler incorrect (I am not even sure what size it is - boiler has always worked and BG cover it for service)? We never had any such problems with previous gas fires.
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Nick wrote:

If you ask me he's ripping the piss - did the boiler not have this diameter pipe for those six months? - or the other 3 months when it worked? - IMHO he was angling for some expensive work re-arranging your pipes, plus, how come british Gas have never noticed during their 'services'?
If I were you, I would switch off the isolator to the fire if it has one, if not just switch the fire off and leave it to cool, take out the radiants very *carefully* and use a compressed air aerosol (typically used for cleaning computer components) and give the gas jets a blast over, there's probably grit or other detritus blocking some of them, if this doesn't work, there's probably a problem with the regulator on the gas meter causing low pressure, a transco job.
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Phil L wrote:

Forgot to add, *DO* *NOT* use a vaccum cleaner to 'suck' up any blockages, if there's any errant gas around, it /could/ blow up the Hoover!
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I'm just picturing my Hoover Constellation with a long blue flame shooting out the bottom -- it would look like a small lunar module taking off...
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Andrew Gabriel

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I had the same problem on a gas fire fitted by the local Gas showroom (remember those?). It was supplied from a pipe which fed a previous gas fire, which was fed from the iron pipework which used to supply the gas lamps and weaved its way all round the house. When the main burner came on, the pilot flame shrunk enough that it didn't play on the thermocouple, and after 10-20 minutes, the flame failure valve dropped out.
Reconnecting to the gas supply from the meter, which ran under the floor only a few feet from the fire, completely solved the problem. Some years later, I disconnected all the old gaslamp pipework from the supply.
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Andrew Gabriel

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from snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) contains these words:

Puts me in mind of a friend who found a strange iron pipe in the plaster beside the window. Decided it must be a gas pipe (correct) and decided it must have been disconnected years ago (incorrect) and that the safe thing to do was slice it off with an angle grinder (also incorrect).
I don't suppose I need to draw diagrams!
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Skipweasel
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Heh, great story! I'm curious to know what would happen under those circumstances. Was there an explosion, or did the gas escaping from the pipe ignite in such a way as to form an indoor flame-thrower? And if the latter, how big an effect was it?
Did your friend manage to survive relatively unscathed?
Just being curious/nosey, like...
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Chris Cowley

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Flamethrower - about three feet long. Friend OK but startled - very. Luckily the flame was angled mostly downwards and he'd moved the curtains up to the other end of the window to keep the dust from the grinder off them. He turned the gas off at the mains and the flame went out.
The whole situation was far from ideal!
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Skipweasel
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It sounds like he was bloody lucky to be able to walk away. I bet it took him a few seconds to realise what the hell was going on. Years ago, after I'd done up a bathroom, I was putting in the final finishing touch; a doorstrip to hold the lino down across the doorway. As I drilled a ~25mm hole in the concrete floor for a rawl plug, I was hit squarely in the face by a blast of cold mains-pressure water. I reckon it took me fully 2 seconds to realise what had happened before I jumped up to switch the stop-cock off. Obviously that's not quite in the same league as your friend, though!

Yup! Understatement of the day, that.
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There's no significant volume of gas/air mixture which would be required to form an explosion. You can get one hell of a long flame though. I recall someone lighting a gas tap at school (the type you connect bunsen burners to), and the flame went right to the ceiling -- probably some 6 or more feet.
OTOH, on one of my fire training courses we were shown a picture of a guy who thought he'd use an angle grinder to take the top off a large gas heater cylinder. Although the gas heater thought it was empty, he clearly didn't realise it would still be full of gas under some pressure, even though the liquid had run out. The bloke didn't survive his burns.
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Andrew Gabriel

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from snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) contains these words:

I was working in Walsall in the mid 70s when workmen digging in the street damaged a major gas main and the escaping gas caught fire. IIRC the flame was 4 storeys high and gave out enough heat for the fire brigade to have to water the closest building to cool it down.
--
Roger Chapman

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I was walking to work in Warren Street (W1) years ago when a friend of mine stood on an inspection hatch and was surrounded by a curtain of flame which shot up in a rectangle round him. The blackout lasted for several hours while the bods replaced the wiring under the cover.
The next day, next to the cover was a hole being dug by the gas board. There were two blokes in the hole waggling a tee-joint in a pipe that must have been about 3" diameter - and the gas coming out was enough to blow grit up out of the hole. Scary. Leroy, who'd been caught the day before, legged it and went round the other side of the block to get to work.
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Skipweasel
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Hrm... I'm beginning to think you must be some sort of jinx!
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Chris Cowley

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wrote:

Oh theres a lot bigger and scarier than that in the ground. We Transco chaps have no fear when it comes to gas you know. Just call me Red Adair..oh i forgot,hes dead now isnt he?
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Yeah, but this was right outside Warren Street tube with commuters dropping fagends and the like /into the hole/!
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Skipweasel
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On Wed, 08 Mar 2006 16:59:22 +0000, tarquinlinbin

Ginger Rogers is dead as well.
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On 07 Mar 2006 23:33:57 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:

Have they gone? :-)
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Was it summer and you weren't using as much central heating?
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No. Originally the gas fire was fitted in December and it worked fine until around June. WE were using the GCH and hot water all the time in those 6 months. The recent visit was in November when the engineer told us about the ga pressure. After he left, the fire worked ok until end of Feb and then started to go out again.
When the engineer was here, on its own, the gas fire supply was showing a pressure of around 18-20. When the boiler came on, the pressure on gas fire dropped to around 15. He said that this was the problem because this gas fire needs around 18-20 pressure and the boiler was taking too much gas.
Its all confusing to me.
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It certainly sounds plausible. Some fires are more sensitive than others to variations in pressure. The same fire could get more sensitive over time if the position or sensitivity of the thermocouple or other flame sensing device changes.
15mm pipework to a combi is rarely acceptible. The pipework is only allowed to drop 1mb. You seem to be dropping up to 5mb. The installer of the combi was clearly incompetent. Checking the pipe sizes for pressure drop, both at the design and testing stage is an essential part of a competent installation.
There is also an outside chance that the regulator is at fault, but vastly undersized boiler pipework looks much more likely.
Christian.
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