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Keeping your home equipment simple

I’ve been having some problems with the central heating for a while and I finally called out the Gas Engineer to see what was up. It seems I have a broken circuit board in my Worcester combi boiler and it is going to cost £400+ to fix. What an absolute Rip Off.

This is a perfect example that demonstrates two separate lessons for us preppers.

  • Rip off Britain
  • Over complication of modern equipment

Rip Off Britain

Anyone with any eyes knows that the price of anything in the UK is expensive. Much more expensive than other countries. Items charged at $5 in the US are charged at £5 in the UK, even items that are made here and have to be transported to the US or items that are made abroad and transported to both the UK and the US. All our fitters now need licenses and mandatory training which forced out the handy man. You can’t even install your own electrics nowadays. The US demands lower prices while we just whine.

However, I don’t want to go on any more about this. I just want you to consider buying items abroad. It may work out cheaper despite the fact you are paying for postage. Of course if you fit it yourself it is illegal so don’t do that.

Over complication of modern equipment

The boiler is a perfect example. All I want is for something to heat up water and pump it around the house. What do I get? A £1400 heating unit with several circuit boards which when they fail cannot be fixed but require replacement, cheapest £70 and this one £350. The fault on this one is a faulty relay, the engineer can see it but can not repair it, just swap it out. Because you have to be registered to work on gas I can’t even buy the circuit and do it myself. It need an engineer. Government mandated jobs for those that pay the taxes on licensing and training. I’ve built my own computers, designed and built my own circuit boards but am I skilled enough to swap out a circuit board? Nope.

However, again I don’t want to get sidetracked.

My situation

I have an older house, been around since early last century. The back boiler in the house was replaced over six years ago because I needed a new shower and my plumber recommended a combi shower. Worse mistake I made. It has broken every few years and each time it is a circuit board that has gone. A part that shouldn’t even need to be replaced.

I’m looking at this expensive bit of equipment knowing that after an event, even if I managed to get the gas going from a tank it will only last a maximum of two years before it breaks again. I’m seriously thinking of replacing the boiler with an old style one if I can get my hands on one. Even though I will also need to replace the shower. That way after an event I may be able to keep civilisation a little bit longer.

It’s not just boilers either. My washing machine and dishwasher has more computing power was available in WWII and in my experience it is usually the timers in those that break in the same way to the boilers whilst microwaves, cookers, etc. which also have computing power in them although to their credit they rarely go wrong. House meters, etc. also have transmitters so the Stasi can control your fuel consumption. They are a recipe for disaster and I have shielded mine from being controlled by radio.

About five years ago when my dishwasher failed, what a catastrophe that was, the engineer who was a friend, came out to fix it and told me about the problems with the electronic timers. He pointed out my old washing machine was going strong and I’ve had that for a long time. The new dishwasher had broken about 2 minutes after the warranty had run out and it was going to cost me as much to replace as to buy a brand new cheaper model. He suggested one and at this moment, fingers crossed, it is still going strong. Even better I have some spares and know how to replace them.

Look around your house. Accept some things are not worth keeping going after an event, I won’t be running any of the washing machines, I will be using different cooking equipment but I may use my boiler to heat the house whilst I can. It is all connected up. This means I don’t have to buy the modern crap that needs a Phd in Electronic Engineering or an NVQ in circuit board replacing and I can’t get any spare boards for.

I think I will aim for old technology. An old back boiler or cooking bench that I can burn wood or gas in. That should do nicely for my needs and I’m ignoring any bit of equipment that has any brain power where it doesn’t need it.

20 comments to Keeping your home equipment simple

  • mike

    My lads boilers gone with exactly the same fault as yours SD.
    similar stupid relay, last call out cost the landlaord £85 for a part as big as a 5p piece…
    mondern stuff rubbish quality compared to the old stuff.
    I’ve got a vango vista 8 berth tent old style and a new version as well. New version is thinner and not quite as well made, still good quality but you can see the difference.
    Same as cars, the last car I had was a Citroen xsara, to change a headlight bulb you had to take off half of the front of the damn car, bumper, mountings etc… The light bulbs for my present car cost £25 each… new… I go to the scrap yard for all my parts and fit them nyself, saves me thousands literally.

  • mike

    AND as for rip off britain.. I’ve seen bipods for rifles over here selling upwards of £85 EXACTLY the same one from hong kong £25 They charge so much pure profit over here, no wonder the countrys in shi* state order…

    • Northern Raider

      I got a bi-pod pistol grip off E bay for a tenner from Hong Kong, same one in our local gun shop £70 !!!, I’ve bought Luxeon LED Alloy bodied flashlights from Hong Kong for £15 that are easily as good as the ultra expensive posh brand names.

  • grumpy old man

    mike i would be worried if my car needed thousands of pounds how relable is it ???
    hope it’s not you bov lol

  • Northern Raider

    Did you know that the new A rated energy efficient condensing combi boilers are only designed to last for 10 years compared with older types that were designed to last 20 to 25 years. The Condensate in the modern boilers is apparently highly corrosive but the gubbens in the boilers would be to expensive to fit with resistyant materials. So eventually we will end up paying out £2000 for a new boiler evry ten years.

  • mike

    The cars very reliable, I meant over the years of fixing my own cars has saved me thousands… not just on this one… I’d have got rid long ago if it needed that much on it..

  • Northern Raider

    SD did you know you can buy brand new wood / coal burning stoves with back boilers built in, 30 year operational lidespan on average.

  • fred

    As someone with a WCB [relatively new], I read this and quietly make a mental note of what’s coming down the track. Can’t imagine much worse at this time.

  • Paul

    It don’t really matter how simple things are if there ain’t no mains so I was wondering how many of you can operate your home if the mains goes off?

    Are there many folk out there with generators?

    • Northern Raider

      Thermosyphon central heating powered by wood or coal ?? I think the word is thermosyphon anyway!!, basically its a CH system without a pump that uses the hot water rising / cold water sinks principle to circulate the water !!!

  • Skean Dhude

    Exactly why we should be prudent and make the most of our limited funds.

    NR,

    I’ll be interested in discussing that further. I was aware but don’t know that much about them.

    Paul,

    The mains may go off but many of us are preparing to power certain appliances ourselves. See the power section on the site.

  • Paul

    Recirculation only works if you have a height difference and I do have from the tank to the boiler BUT as the radiators are on the same height as the back boiler, you needed a pump else all that happened was the tank got warm and we shivered.

  • grumpy old man

    i figured that mike i’am the same hate parting with good money when i can do it myself lol

  • Northern Raider

    What many people dont realise that most modern gas central heating boilers rely utterly on ELECTRICTY to function, They no longer have gas pilot lights to operate the thermocouple gas valve ignition system, they are electronically ignited and computer comtrolled, so if you loose the leccy you lose the heating and hot water as well.
    But it goes further nearly all UK gas, water and sewage systems are electronically controlled, regulated and moved so again if the power goes off you lose your gas, water and sewage system, imagine that in any given city after a couple of days !!!

  • Northern Raider

    One day I will learn how to spell check my posts !!!!!

  • Skean Dhude

    NR,

    very good point. I tend to skip over it because I will have limited electricity at first. Longer term though I’m countining on a small amount for very infrequent use.

    Spellchekking is a gud idea. I should do the same. 🙂

  • Tommy

    We all need to be aware that after even a minor event we may not have electricity for a few weeks, Fire Flood war ETC. This means no Washing machine, no dishwasher, no central heating, no oven or cooker, no hoover, and so on. This is why I prep. I have a camping cooker so thats sorted and I can wash dishes by hand.
    The one thing I cannot replace and am utterly dreading is the loss of the washing machine. Washing clothes by hand requires a stream (None near me) and lots of time. Resly not looking forward to that. Even if there is a minor event that shuts off electricity for a month or two I will run out of clean clothes after about 8 to 10 days. Sandals looking good as socks become a health hazard.

  • Tommy

    Baaa spellcheck not work 🙁

  • Skean Dhude

    Tommy,

    There are a few reasonably priced hand operated washing machines. There is one on a thread in the forum somewhere. Can’t find it atm.

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