Explosions in Redundant Solid Fuel Back Boilers Stoves

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Extract taken from HETAS  newsletter, September 2008

For full safety alert, please see HSE website.

"The HSE is issuing this safety alert for the attention of individual homeowners, tenant, landlords and the plumbing / heating industry. This is to raise awareness of the potential dangers of lighting a solid fuel fire when a redundant solid fuel back boiler has been left within the fireplace. The alert follows several incidents in the last five years, three of which resulted in serious injury, and sadly in one case, a fatality. The redundant solid fuel back boiler had been left in a sealed condition Sometime later, when a coal fire was lit in front of the boiler, the unit heated up significantly for the internal pressure to cause the boiler casing to explode."

The danger of explosion occurs where a solid fuel back boiler has been drained down over the winter in vacant premises, or where it may have been left in place for the decorative effect of a fire-grate, or covered by a panel or other feature.

HETAS advises that the only positevely safe and reliable way to proceed, when a solid fuel back boiler is no longer needed and the customer wants to continue using the fireplace, is to totally remove the back boiler installation by breaking up the chamber  that used to carry the hot water system and removing any pipe work. When an open fire is left in use (or could be brought back into use) a replacement Milner fire bck needs to be installed to ensure that the fire can be safely used.

Similarly a "wet" solid fuel roomheater (stove / parkray / etc) with boiler should not be operated after the water supply has been disconected. These appliances are not designed to be used without water circulation and there could be serious safety issues if mis-used.


Apologies for such long sentences above - makes for "breathless reading" - but very important points all the same. he above was written by HETAS and taken from September 2008 newsletter to all qualified fitters


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