Potterton Flamingo 50s - Noisy

Discussion in 'Plumbers' Talk' started by red.barchetta, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. red.barchetta

    red.barchetta New Member

    Dear All (and definately one for TomPlum),

    I have the above boiler and while is works a treat, it has become very noisy!
    I am not sure what to do, or indeed whether draining the entire system will clear the noise?

    Once you put on the central heating, all radiators get hot, upstairs and downstairs. The heat in the radiators constant, i.e. top and bottom of the radiator is the same temperature indicating little or no sluge, or trapped air?

    However, when you turn on the central heating, the boiler turns on, and inside the window you can see a blue/orange flame however, within 45-60seconds later, the boiler makes a wheezy/grinding noise which progressively has got worse and now quite loud!

    Furthermore, over the last 6-months or so, I have observed that once the heating has been on for about 1hr or so, there is large whooshing sound which travels within the pipe work - that sound I have lived with, but it is the wheezing sound that has prompted me to send a note in the hope of some pointers.

    I know the boiler is old and I am looking to have it changed but being out of work has made me think of making a temporary fix.

    I enclose wave file and a picture of my Potterton boiler (front panel removed).
    Happy to provide you with any more information you need.

    Thank you kindly.


    Attached Files:

  2. tom.plum

    tom.plum Screwfix Select

    howdy red, that noise is what we call kettling. cos its similar to the sound of the old wistleing kettle that we used to use on the stove, and its caused by the water not getting away from the boiler quick enough,
    there are two probable causes,
    the pump is not working fast enough
    the boiler waterways are scaled up
    as the heating is still working, i would put up with the noise for the time being, you'd be throwing money away, keep your fingers crossed it will get you through the cold months, and contact warmfront, if you have finactial hardships they will fit you a new boiler free,
  3. red..barchetta

    red..barchetta New Member

    I have seen your "Top Tips" video where you show how you flush individual radiator. I am happy to do that but I will need to make the pipes to connect in place of one of the radiators. Equally I am happy to replace the pump (seen your replacing pump video too) if that would be worthwhile?Hello Tom,
    Thank you so much for your quick response.

    The noise is quite unbearable and not sure if waiting until the weather improves and trying to get my case qualified with Warmfront is an option.

    I had a look at the pump and increased the setting on it to 4. This I believes pumps the water faster hence addressing one of your probable causes. The pump is a Grundfos Selectric4. This has made no difference.

    Would draining the entire system be an option? I have seen some videos suggesting the heating system may not work properly after draining it as you may get locked air? Here is how I plan to drain:-
    I would connect a hose to the drain valve on one of the radiators and go around opening all the bleeding valves on the remaining radiators to fully flush out. I am then thinking of adding some inhibitor to the headertank and let it run with that for a day or two and then flush out again repeating the process and adding Fernox.

    I have seen your "Top Tips" video where you show how you flush individual radiator. I am happy to do that but I will need to make the pipes to connect in place of one of the radiators. Equally I am happy to replace the pump (seen your replacing pump video too) if that would be worthwhile although a slightly more costly option perhaps than draining...

    Many Thanks,
  4. tom.plum

    tom.plum Screwfix Select

    have you seen my video on how to flush the system, i make two pies from old washing machine pipes and connect to the system taking off a rad, then there is the explaination of that on the next clip, you will need to plug the open vent with a speed fit blank and similar with the cold feed, after you cold flush it add sentinal x400 for a week then flush again and add setinall x100 inhibitor,
    let us know what results you get,
  5. red..barchetta

    red..barchetta New Member

    Hello Tom,
    I sure have seen the video and it was that which really prompted me to do this myself as they were so GOOD if not EXCELLENT.
    I fully understand your explanation in the video as well as the diagram video...

    Removing a rad and replacing it with the self-made pipes is the bit I find tricky but willing to take on the challenge. Prior to performing that action I am looking to simply drain the entire system and see how that goes, if the noise subsides then I can make do, until such time the cold spell improves and I can flush out and do it properly?

    I sure will keep you posted and thank you once again!
  6. red..barchetta

    red..barchetta New Member

    Hello again,
    I spent most of yesterday afternoon and early evening draining (not flushing) and it has improved the noise level by a little but not a lot. Here is what I did and observed....

    I tied the ball valve in the header tank to prevent it refilling and emptied out the tank with cup and basin - it had a lot of gunk (orange deposit).

    I then connected a hose to one of the rads in the hallway which had a drain valve fitted and opened it together with its bleeding valve. I then moved to open all UPSTAIRS bleeding valves could hear air entering. After about 40-mins and when water was only trickling out on the hose, I attempted to open the living room rad bleeding valve and could hear air entering, however, all remaining (Dining Room, Kitchen, Cloakroom) DOWNSTAIRS rads still had water coming out with pressure when attempting to open the bleeding valve. So I left it for another hour and tried opening the valves again, and yet again, water had not emptied out of these three rads! I presume this is an airlock? I left it again for a further 30-mins and this did not change.

    As all the upstairs and two downstairs (Hallway and Living Room) had successfully drained I moved to refill the heating system.

    I closed all bleeding valves and the drain valve and removed the hose connection. I then went to the header-tank and un-tied the ball valve and could hear all rads filling. I thoroughly bleeded all rads of air (took me several attempts) to repeat on all rads and turned on the heating.

    The boiler was still making the groaning sound and as the rads began to get warm, I bleeded all rads again. This noise is different from the kettling one which was evident prior to draining and more interestingly it suddenly stops after about 20-30mins! So right now, I belive I had successfully drained not all, but some rads, and while the noise from the boiler is reduced it is still very apparent but only for 20-30mins at the time of the heating coming on.

    As you read you will notice I did *not* put in sentinalx400 but would be more than happy to repeat this exercise. My reluctance was due to the rads that did not drain.

    Is there any reason why some of the downstairs rads did not empty? I presume your "flush the system" will get around that as it will have mains pressure to deal with?

    Any other pointer would greatly be appreciated.
    Thank you.
  7. Captain Leaky

    Captain Leaky New Member

    The downstairs rads may be on a drop down leg and will need taking off individually. You MUST use x400 to do any good, don't worry if some is left in the system, it won't do any harm. Do not get a new boiler installed by Warmahome, they always use cheap cowboys. They have just lost the Government contract so wait and see who gets the new contract.
  8. red..barchetta

    red..barchetta New Member

    Aye aye Captain. Thanks for the info. I will certainly bleed the rads which did not drain and use x400. Will keep you all posted of the results - probably within the next few weeks. So far the heating noise is evident for 20-mins or so.
    Thanks for all the contributions so far. It has been a great learning experience for me.
  9. longscrew

    longscrew New Member

    Noisy boilers used to be common, with the old cast iron heat exchangers Glow worm  seem to be the worst !   we used to remove the boiler and flush the heat exchanger out with a hose pipe out side. Usually this worked but not always.
    We found the easiest cure was to put Fernox MB1 in to the system.  Some times this was like flicking a switch and the noise stopped (but not always)  If I remember correctly it used to say only use on boilers with cast iron heat exchangers and we were warned later when condensing boilers came out that all of the MB1 must be flushed out otherwise it would eat the new Aloy heat exchangers.

    This is years ago so maybe they have changed the properties of MB1. For flushing I have never been impressed with X400  and found Sentinel Ferroquest to work better.

    As mentioned earlier sounds like you have a dropper system and the hall and living room are on the same drop ?
  10. midlands heating

    midlands heating New Member

    has the boiler been serviced recently.?
    If not partially blocked waterways or flueways or the gas valve not set on the right pressure can cause the symptons you talk off !!
  11. red..barchetta

    red..barchetta New Member

    @longscrew - I too think it is on a different drop, so I am planning to drain out the one in the dining room - thanks for your comments too...

    @midlands heating - the boiler was service about 14-months ago, and I have been trying to get in touch with the same person I have used in the past with no joy. You know the score, once you develop a relationship is difficult to go elsewhere. Hence the post to attempt to fix what I can in his absence. So far I am impressing myself :) and of course learning a trade which I never got around to doing... Thank you for your comments too...
  12. Crowsfoot

    Crowsfoot Screwfix Select

    Here's how to silence your noisey boiler red.
    Tie up header tank ball valve and drain off a couple of bucketfuls of water.
    Add a good cupful of fairy liquid to the system and refil.
    Switch on boiler an schhhhh in an instance.
  13. tom.plum

    tom.plum Screwfix Select

    i've heard of that before tappy, but i've never used it, does it work on all boilers or just cast iron ?
  14. midlands heating

    midlands heating New Member

    fairy does work tom same trick I used years ago. Cheap to ! also good as leak detector for gas LOL
  15. red..barchetta

    red..barchetta New Member

    OK folks. Here is an update.
    I drained out the system again, and this time found a drain valve, located in the garage, which sucessfully drained out the dinning room, cloakroom and kitchen radiators. I put in x400 mid refilling the system again, and the boiler is very quiet again :). I will drain out again in 2-3weeks and put in x100 and hopefully this will get me going until such time I can afford to replace the boiler system.

    A big THANK YOU to all that have contributed and I missed out on reading Crowsfoot response about fairy liquid.
    Until next time - hopefully not too soon,

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