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Posts tagged safety

The Fire Valve – An Important Safety Device, Protecting You And Your Home

A Fire-valve is an important safety device on your oil boiler system. Very simply, it shuts off the supply of oil to the boiler should it detect a certain temperature in the boiler casing, i.e. if there’s a fire. It should stop the oil from fueling any fire you have in and around your boiler.

There are two main styles of Fire-valves, Remote action and Handwheel head.

The remote action fire valve is required by OFTEC to be sited on oil lines to all new boiler installations. If an external boiler, this needs to be sited at least 1.5 metres away from the boiler itself. If on an oil line for an internal boiler it needs to be sited outside the property with the phial to be located inside the boiler casing. It should be fitted with the head (bulbous part) on top.


KBB - Fire valve

The Handwheel head style is still used in some modern installations, most notably on HRM Wallstar boilers where it id combined with a non return valve. If you have a Handwheel style fire valve in your boiler casing on a non HRM Wallstar boiler this should be replaced with a remote action fire valve.


Fire valves should be inspected on your annual service and replaced/relocated should they not meet current OFTEC standards.

Note: HRM and OFTEC are not agreed as to the suitability of the Handwheel style recommended on the Wallstar boiler. It is a ‘grey’ area.

Missing An Annual Service Can Affect Your Safety And Cost You More

wasting moneyMissing an annual service does more than costing you money in the long term. There is also safety to consider. When a qualified engineer performs a correctly done service they can check on many things…

Excessive smoke and partially burnt fuel can deposit itself in the heat exchanger in the form of soot, restricting the transfer of heat to the water in the heating system. A clean heat exchanger will transfer more heat giving you better efficiency. According to OFTEC, 3 mm of soot build up can bring about a drop of 8 {91bdfdb8e6beefb03730d8f87ad81b2cee89b80dc73190e0f9e6bd796d0945f5} in efficiency.

Photocells, which detect the light in the heat exchanger(the flame) can glaze over or get specks of dust/soot on them, this can cause the boiler to shut down. Boilers that frequently switch on and off are less efficient than those that run for a longer periods.

Electrodes create the spark that lights the oil/air mix inside your boiler, over time these can become worn and attract soot, if in poor condition, these may not produce the ‘correct’ spark causing the boiler to lock out. Also, if these aren’t positioned correctly, they can cause flame infringement further still lessening the efficiency of the boiler.

Oil nozzles are replaced every 12 months for a reason, they are a consumable that wear over time affecting fuel combustion, they could cause ‘sooting up’ of the heat exchanger due to too much fuel passing through.

Baffle plates, if not cleaned regularly can attract deposits which make it impossible to remove and clean them,again causing a loss in efficiency.

The service allows the engineer the opportunity to inspect the boiler and tank and make it as efficient and safe as possible.

Oil Tank Checks – Help Your Service Engineer

Dangerous oil tank platform

An illegal and dangerous oil tank arrangement

As the owner, you can help your service engineer by keeping clear the area around the tank so that a visual inspection can be carried out. This allows any potential weak points in the tank, such as rust or leaks, to be spotted early.

An oil storage tank should be checked when the annual service is carried out.

A base that is too small can prove to be both an environmental hazard and a fire hazard. It is important that this can be checked to allow remedial work to be suggested and carried out if possible.