The Damn Boiler and farewell to not a very beautiful relationship

the biomass boiler arrives
the biomass boiler arrives

At the time I was a happy camper when the boiler arrived September 30th, even though Paco was not there, just his vain sun-glassed son with yellow rubber gloves on. And some Lasian accredited technician who seemed pleasant enough. The boiler was commissioned, all seemed to work and the men left after demanding 50 euros for lunch which I refused to pay.

This was the new me. I was not paying for stuff that was not on the bill. They left in a cloud of screeching dust while a cloud of black smoke bellowed out of the boiler chimney. It smelt vile. The boiler site was littered with cartons and pellets that had missed the silo. A holy mess batman. No matter. I cleaned it up cheerfully (lie), casting a reddening eye at the increasing black smoke. Now that I know this works, I reasoned, and it is 30 degrees C outside, I will turn all the thermostats in the house to zero as instructed and the smoke will go. Oh goody goody. Every thing was done! Later on that night I toasted the boiler with a few friends and then stumbled to bed.

I woke up around 3am in a sweat. It seemed VERY hot in the house. Having no radiators however, it was kind of difficult to know if the heating was on. The floors did not feel exactly cool, but neither were they warm. We are just having a heat wave I reasoned, and opened the windows to the cool dark night.

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Later we changed another bio fuel and still the black smoke poured out – look at the top of the chimney

And so it went on for 5 weeks, and it really was an Indian summer. Once in a while I put the thermostats at 10 figuring that nothing would happen, but when I saw the black smoke I turned them down again. The boiler stopped twice. Paco came out once, with another fat bill which I paid, then the second time his son came to fix some default in the house with another fat bill which I did not pay.

My boiler is not working properly, I told him; it is racing through all the pellets for no reason. You have your thermostat at 25 c, sunglass son retorted, I saw you do it when we commissioned the boiler. No, I said, That was just to see if the heating worked, two hours later I turned them all to 0. You did not; he had the cheek to say. Excuse-me, I screamed at him, what do you know? How dare you! You do not live with me!

He hotfooted it out of there, but not before carefully removing his marigold gloves and applying a bit of moisturiser – or was it wiping off my spit? I watched trembling from the house, already sorry that I had lost my temper. Father and son never came again when I called repeatedly during the next month, ostensibly because I would not pay the final bill. Who would handover the final payment for a system that did not work as it should and often stopped altogether? In 5 weeks it burnt 2500 kilos of pellets and I did not even have the heating on! That was 1200 euros with transport and worked out at 100 kilos of pellets a day. For nothing.

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Any takers for a crock of shit?

I think back at this incident with a kind of pleasure now, as above, the start of standing firm of telling someone where to get off even it meant they never came back again. What was the difference? They did not know what they were doing, not fully at least. In an effort to find a solution I went through three plumbers who scratched their heads and did f-all. That cost 500 euros more and I gained a few fancy electronic thermostats in the house that changed nothing. I trawled the Internet to find answers and all I found was an awful lot of Lasian biomass “nearly new” boilers for sale.

I was beginning to understand why. This product was, quite simply, a crock of shit. That is was also badly installed from A to Z did not help. All I can say is thank you for Raul, my last plumber who deserves a page of his own and saved my bacon for the following years, coming late a night and staying until midnight once trying to get the damn thing to work and the consumption down. Eventually we changed the fuel to pulverised almond shells which worked for a while and reduced the consumption to 50 kilos a day (!), then not so old Lasian began breaking down on a daily basis – when my grant came through, I threw my hands up and said “Get this damn thing out of here Raul, please!!!!” That was when I found out what the real problem was.

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does anything need to be this complicated? Yes – if it is badly installed!

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