As I mentioned in my previous post, a review of the winter, we are finally able to sign off on getting a replacement for our old oil boiler. This is something we have been looking at for a very long time, but financing has always held us back. We have had 2 small oil fired boilers doing all the hot water and heating in the communal space. Although these have done a good job,they did struggle in the prolonged cold weather.

Getting the finances was almost the easy part! The next job was to work out of lot of not so small details. Who would we use for installation? Which boiler would we buy? Where will the boiler and associated items go? How do we connect it up to the existing plumbing, and of course how do we get it in! After a lot of looking around and talking to people we settled on Prescient Power to supply, install and commission the boiler. We then chose the Froling tx150 wood pellet boiler.

The largest part of the boiler is nearly 2m x 2m x 1m and weighed 1 ton, and the 2 water tanks are 1.2m diameter and 3m high weighing in at about 400kg. That ruled the stairs out!

We knew that the best place was a basement room with a chimney. This is where the original coal fired boiler used to be, and then the 1950 oil boilers. However, the basement is 3m below ground level, making it a challenge to get everything in. In one of the outside walls was what looked like a bricked up door way. On the other side, was a concreted area, leading up to our house. I wasn’t sure what would be under there, steps? a hole? Had it been abandoned during construction, and just sealed up and back-filled with soil. Only one way to find out. I drilled a few holes and bought a boroscope so I could have a look I could see some old walls along the sides so decided to break up the concrete and start digging.

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After getting down a few feet, we found that it was a stone lined hole which made things much easier. At the bottom there was even a hard floor with a drain in it – perfect! We rebuilt a section of the wall, and moved a couple of pipes that inconveniently routed through the hole. Anyway, we removed about 12 tonnes of debris and gained the access we needed. We have our access!

Getting rid of that much debris would most likely require a skip rental service and preferably one that takes care of the transportation as well. Refrigerated vehicles, skip lorries, flat-beds and more such forms of haulage operators do carry the necessary paperwork (driving license, transport certification, insurance cover etc) to be able to haul that kind of cargo. But getting in touch with a full-service skip transport service is probably the hassle-free way to go about it.

Whilst doing this, I also had to clear my large collection of things that might come in useful, one day, perhaps (aka junk). This nearly took a week!!

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I had a few days with a nice clean empty room, but then the delivery came. Around 18 pallets of bits. We had to get all of these down there. I spent a lot of time deliberating on the best way to lower all the bits down the hole. I looked at all sort of lifting gear that I could hire, or could I cobble together some kind of hoist. In the end I decided, that I should best leave it to someone who knows what they are doing. So I called in a local crane company. Definitely the right decision.

We decided to get the two accumulator tanks in first as they would need the most manoeuvring once they were in there. Inconveniently, the tanks were too tall to fit through the doorway vertically. Too long fit in the hole lying on their side. So we had to sling them so they would sit at a 45 degree angle. Then we could drag them inside as we lowered them down. After that, we tipped them upright.

buffer tank in mid air
buffer tank in mid air

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Then came the boiler itself and a the boxes of pipework, fittings etc

crane lifting our new boiler over the hall
crane lifting our new boiler over the hall
boiler being lowered into the basement
it will fit, honest

It did fit, with about 5 cm to spare! With everything in and safe, the next job is assembly but I will leave that for part 2