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The main reason a Boilermate (of any variety) might need replacing is a leak from the internal copper tank. This shows up as water seeping from the seems at the base of the case causing rusty patches and a wet floor. This type of leak cannot be repaired as the internal copper tank is is contained within the outer steel case which is impractical to dismantle. All other faults on a BoilerMate can be repaired. But this leads to the second reason for replacement - owners becoming exasperated with the sheer difficulty of finding technicians who understand their BoilerMate and can repair and maintain it.
Why is such an apparently complex and unusual device fitted in my house?
BoilerMates were fitted in modern houses instead of conventional copper cylinder in order to provide a high pressure hot water supply prior to the Building Regulations being changed to allow installation of mains pressure hot water cylinders (known colloquially by plumbers as “megaflows”). These days most new-builds are fitted with mains pressure hot water cylinders instead.
So with what can I replace my leaking BoilerMate? Do I have to have another thermal store?
A mains pressure unvented hot water cylinder can sometimes be fitted instead, but this means installation of a large diameter copper safety discharge pipe running downhill all the way to outside, which may or may not be practical in your particular house. In addition, a pair of motorised valves will be needed along with associated new wiring. The advantage of converting to this system is that it is mainstream technology and any good heating engineer will be familiar with it and able to repair and maintain it.
I think I'll have to have another thermal store. Does it have to be a Gledhill? Are there any other makes?
No, yes and yes, in that order :) Most owners of leaking or unreliable Gledhill BoilerMates are pretty fed up with Gledhill products and ask me if there are alternative manufacturers whose products are better/more reliable/less likely to leak irreparably. There are several other firms competing with Gledhill but none of them has really gained any traction. They all have their problems and I would not recommend them. Reluctantly I have to say Gledhill are still the best option.
Who do I recommend, then?
I would suggest a Gledhill "Torrent". Contact Gledhill with details of your exact model of Boilermate and they will recommend the correct model of Torrent.
Can I fit a replacement for a BoilerMate?
I am not an installer these days, I specialise in fault tracing and repair so sorry, I'm not geared up to replace a Boilermate.
Copyright Michael Bryant 2021
Site first created 21st January 2007
Site last updated Friday 13th May 2021
Gas Safe Register 197499. CIPHE reg no 56207