Solved

Problems with boiler and power surge following smart meter installation - Why?


Userlevel 2
  • Carbon Cutter****
  • 11 replies

I joined OVO 10 days ago, and had the smart meter fitted yesterday. Great service, and very polite installer. also changed the gas meter.
However it caused issues. the power reconnection seemed to cause a power surge and blew an audio component power supply. plus the boiler isnt working today (was serviced last week, and was fine until yesterday), so cold water and no heating this morning.
Any idea who I should speak with about these?

 

icon

Best answer by Jess_OVO 4 May 2021, 12:28

Sorry to hear of the issues with your supply following your Smart Meter installation, @Siy

 

Our helpful community members have already given some great advice as to what might be causing the gas flow woes, there is also some helpful advice on how to get this  sorted here -

 

 


the power reconnection seemed to cause a power surge and blew an audio component power supply

 

 

@PeterR1947 also gives some useful advice in protecting your electrical equipment during a meter exchange - 

 

When power is switched off to a home, it’s always wise to turn off the main switch and all mcbs/rcds at the consumer unit, then when power is restored turn them back on one at a time.  Also, any devices such as NAS drives, TV set top boxes etc that are normally left on should be turned off before the power is switched off.

If the consume unit switches are left on, there could be quite a surge when power is restored although I personally have never know a component failure occur.

 

View original

33 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +3

Hey there @Siy .

Welcome to OVO and to the Forums. :)

That’s not the best start and I’m really sorry about that. I’d recommend letting the Support Team know what happened and ask them to see if any remedial work can be performed. If you let them know about this thread and that Blastoise186 had a chat with you, they’ll know you’ve taken advice.

I hope you get this resolved. Please keep us posted and we’ll try to help out as best we can!

If there’s anything else we can do, feel free to let us know.

Userlevel 2

Thanks.   Actually found their details but they said i need to find an engineer to come and see it and report.  
bit of a shame as we aren’t without water.  
 

Despite this had been very impressed by OVO until now

Userlevel 7
Badge +3

No worries @Siy . Hopefully your experience will improve and recover despite this setback.

It’s extremely rare for something like this to go wrong during a meter install, so I’m really sorry that you got unlucky with this one. It’s definitely not what should have happened at all and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone else mention issues like this here before.

It’s possible that the issue could have been caused by a few different things, but there’s always something that will have caused it. I think the reason that an engineer report will be needed is probably to help identify what happened and why, so that OVO can figure out what to do next. I’m pretty confident that there’s a solution though.

Any thoughts on this one @Transparent @Jess_OVO ?

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Ooo, yes. We’d like to know why this occurred, rather than just have the OVO Engineer fix it.

Can I please check a few things with you whilst we’re waiting @Siy ?

1: Whereabouts in the country are you? (Or fill out your Forum Profile page because that’s where I look for such information).

2: What sort of “Consumer Unit” do you have? Is it using old-style fuses or new-style trips?

How happy are you to have a look at this and provide us with a visual description or a photo?

a typical Consumer Unit with trips

 

Userlevel 2

Thank you for paying attention. I am impressed!

 

am in Weybridge Surrey and yes it is a new style box. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Great. So is the boiler/central-heating on its own trip (labelled)?

And is that trip in the UP (on) position?

 

Is it an MCB, or does it have a “push to test” button (red arrows above)?

Userlevel 2

Not at home at moment but it def has power going to it.  Just not firing up.  Seems to struggle to light.  It’s as if not enough gas flow

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

OK. So when the OVO Engineer completed the installation yesterday, did he/she run up the gas appliances within the house and keep them operating for at least 2-minutes?

This is standard procedure and is required in order to ensure that there’s no air trapped in the system.

The engineer must also take a series of photographs which get added to a check-list on their mobile phone. One of these photos must be of a working gas appliance - usually a hob or cooker-ring.

Userlevel 2

I believe so - yes.  

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Please forgive the pedantic series of questions. I’m trying to see if this fault is really due to the Smart Meter installation or purely coincidental.

Do you have a gas cooker/hob or gas-fire?

Or is the boiler your only gas device?

Userlevel 2

Totally understand.  The boiler was recently serviced  a week or so ago.  All fine and no issues until today.  
 

no other gas appliances.  Just the boiler am afraid

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Is the gas meter within the house or outside in an approved enclosure?

semi-concealed meter box (left) and wall-mounted box (right)

(ignore the arrows in the photos above.)

 

Do you know the make/model of the gas boiler?

If it’s old it might still use a constantly-on pilot light. Do you know if it has this?

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Please remember @Siy that this is a bank-holiday weekend. We’re running short of time to diagnose this fault sufficiently.

I still can’t quite decide whether you need an OVO engineer recalled to site, or a Gas-Safe registered heating engineer to check and purge the boiler.

It’s more difficult to ensure that air is removed from the system if the only gas device is a boiler. There is a thermocouple within the flame which senses the level of heat output. If this is too low then it assumes that ignition has failed and so shuts off the gas supply for safety.

Thus it is possible for a Smart meter installer to run up a boiler, which operates correctly by using residual gas within the household pipes. He then shuts it down again, but the trapped air arrives at the boiler later when it tries to restart in the morning.

That’s why the engineer must evaluate the capacity of your internal gas pipes, and then operate the boiler for a sufficient length of time.

If it fails after a couple of minutes, then he purges air from the system by a process which you are not permitted to do… and I’m not going to describe here on the open Forum!

Userlevel 2

hahah - yes thsi sounds very much like it may be the issue. the engineer was a great chap… no complaints on his service at all. I think he ran the boiler - but dont think it was on for long, as the thermostat was on a timer to switch off at 1pm… i checked with him, but he said it was ok….

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

But even if you recontacted OVO Customer Support and they agreed to send out an engineer as an urgent job, that’s no good if there’s no one at home!

Userlevel 2

errm - i work three mins from my house - so thats not an issue…!

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Ah… so let’s back-track a moment.

Can you be sure that the gas isolation valve has been left on?

That’s the lever on the input-pipe to your gas meter. It should be pointing in the same direction as the pipe. If it’s been moved across the pipe’s direction then it’s off.

There would be enough pressure in the bellows of the gas meter to operate the boiler for a minute or two. So that’s another reason why the flame-test has to done for a long enough time.

Userlevel 2

yes thats in the correct direction

 

must say - this is a great help.. thank you

Userlevel 5

Sorry to hear of the issues with your supply following your Smart Meter installation, @Siy

 

Our helpful community members have already given some great advice as to what might be causing the gas flow woes, there is also some helpful advice on how to get this  sorted here -

 

 


the power reconnection seemed to cause a power surge and blew an audio component power supply

 

This is a new one for me though, not sure I’ve heard of a meter exchange causing a power surge, have you anything to add on this one - @Transparent , @PeterR1947 ?

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

That surge (if that’s what it was) shouldn’t have had any effect on an electronic device within the home, @Jess_OVO . But I’ve ignored this for the moment as the provision of DHW (Domestic Hot Water) over a long weekend seems to be the higher priority!

I asked @Siy where the house was because I have access to fault reports for some electricity distribution regions. But I have no data for the area served by UK Power Networks - SE England.

When things are less urgent we can discuss surge-arrestors and the type of power supply in that audio device.

On the balance of probabilities, the loss of boiler operation is more likely due to something that happened during yesterday’s Smart Meter installation.

If it is a fault with the gas supply, then it could yet transpire to be a piece of debris in the pipe which has become stuck in the first ignition jet of the flame grid. But even then, I’d suggest that the debris was most likely introduced during that meter installation.

I haven’t cross-checked all possibilities yet. But time is ticking on, and I’m unconvinced that OVO Customer Support was right to so quickly come to the conclusion that @Siy should bring in a local heating engineer.

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

@Siy  you are quite welcome to re-contact Customer Support and give them the address of this discussion on the Forum.

That gives them the option to refer my arguments to someone of greater technical knowledge within the company.

I am merely a fellow customer like yourself. But unlike @Jess_OVO , who is a new Moderator, I do have a complete set of spanners :wink:

Userlevel 6
Badge +1

When power is switched off to a home, it’s always wise to turn off the main switch and all mcbs/rcds at the consumer unit, then when power is restored turn them back on one at a time.  Also, any devices such as NAS drives, TV set top boxes etc that are normally left on should be turned off before the power is switched off.

If the consume unit switches are left on, there could be quite a surge when power is restored although I personally have never know a component failure occur.

Userlevel 7
Badge +3

That is actually a fair point as well, especially with more sensitive electronics.

Some Wi-Fi Routers for example, don’t like being powered off and back on randomly, without going through the proper method. I would also therefore recommend shutting down everything properly, turning off all the wall sockets and then unplug as many of your gadgets and equipment as possible from the wall (especially things that are sensitive or high value!). It might sound a bit overkill, but it’s another safeguard that helps to protect against any possible damage from power surges.

And as with the consumer unit, I’d also recommend reconnecting each device one at a time after the power is back. It breaks up the potential surge into far smaller and more manageable chunks that are more likely to be tolerable.

Userlevel 2

Thank you so much for all this assistance.  My boiler engineer has been and it seems tgat debris has made its way into the boiler.  This debris was not there last week as it had just been serviced. 
 

the good news is that it is now firing up.  So thanks for all the input.  
 

just a shame I have to pay for a gas engineer and the repair/replacement of the Nuvo audio component.  
 

great forum though guys

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

I’m not yet sure whether the “audio component power supply” which @Siy mentioned is

a: an electronic component within a power supply

b: an audio system comprised of component parts (CD-player, radio, pre-amp, power-amp etc) within which a Power Supply seems to have failed.

Either could be the case. And it’s possible that @Siy uses a high-quality valve-based power amplifier, or at least a Class-A design for linear frequency response.

That’s why I’ve left that part of the discussion until I know that the boiler is operational!

 

Reply