Boilers in lofts....
As with most things heating, I have opinions about boilers installed in loft
spaces, and in this case my opinions are mostly negative ;-)
It's worse than that actually. I hate loft installations with a passion, so
this page is one big long moan. Even the installations where the regulations
have been complied with, i.e. access ladder, flooring to the boiler area, and
So here we go, here are the reasons:
1) First reason is FROST. A loft insulated to current standards will be
almost as cold as outside. This means the boiler and all the associated heating
pipework in the loft is at risk of frost damage. In addition, if it's a
condensing boiler, then the condensate drain is at particular risk of freezing
(his leads to the boiler stopping working when you need it most). Frost
protection systems for boilers in cold spaces tend to be unreliable and hard to
control, and sometimes seem to cause nuisance firing of the boiler puzzling the
2) The user control panel on the boiler is not
accessible to the user unless they pull the ladder down and go up into the loft.
In particular the user cannot see the pressure gauge on the front so will not
know if the system is losing pressure. Also, to adjust the temperature controls,
the user has to go into the loft. And to see if there are any error messages
showing should the boiler stop working.
3) It is not
good for boilers to be operated in extremes of temperature. A well insulated
loft can fall below freezing in winter and rise as high as 40 degrees C on a hot
summer's day. Boiler manuals do not generally specify a maximum ambient
operating temperature but the temperature of a loft on a hot summer day seems
intuitively too high to me.
So those are the technical reasons! Now the more personal ones ;-)
4) It's a HORRIBLE environment in which to work on a boiler. Everything in
most lofts is dirty and dusty, including the boiler and the floor in front of it
(if there is one at all) where I have to sit. Not conducive to good workmanship.
5) What floor there is, tends to be a tiny cramped area in front of the
boiler surrounded by piles of junk and gloom. No
space at all to unpack the toolbox and spread the contents out.
6) The workspace is surrounded by open joists and loft insulation ready to
swallow up any little screws or tools dropped.
7) The fibreglass dust cannot be good for my lungs.
8) The boiler is usually a wall-mounted model designed for installation
at about head height for ease of maintenance. but when installed in a loft they
are usually at about knee height. A pig to work on when all the bits you need to
get at are close to the (dirty) floor.
9) Lighting. Even if there IS any, it is usually a bare 60w bulb swinging
with a baleful glow leaving the inside/underneath of the boiler where the work
needs to be done still in semi-darkness.
10) Most lofts are the same temperature as outside. Freezing cold in winter
and boiling hot in summer. Not pleasant to work in.
11) Ever tried lugging a 25kG toolbox and a vacuum cleaner with extension
lead up a ladder and
through a 24" square hole? Then back down again?
So, these are all the reasons I can think of for now :-D You'll probably
understand now why I generally decline to work on boilers in loft spaces...
And I'll probably think of some
more reasons by tonight ;-)