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James, Plumber
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The Zone Valve Actuator has failed on my central heating.

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The Zone Valve Actuator has failed on my central heating. Hot water is fine. I"m having a nightmare with a shady, agressive plumber. I don't want to use him, but already 120gbp down on his initial evaluation visit. SO I need some honest advice on the issue and what to expect from a decent plumber so I can decide next steps.The plumber said the entire system needed to be drained to do this job and it would take him about 5h. He also recommended that with the entire system drained, it would be best to replace both heating and water valves now rather than have to do this again for the water valve when it breaks down another time. He wants 550gbp on top of the 120 I already paid to do this job. This is a 1 bed appt with like 3 radiators!!!From what I can see online, the motorized valve actuator can be repaired by replacing the motor and NOT draining the entire system.I see from instruction videos that these actuators have plastic parts that may be vulnerable to wear or breakage, so perhaps the entire Actuator should be replaced? can that be done without draining the system?
Customer: replied 18 days ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call.
Customer: replied 18 days ago.
Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Customer: replied 18 days ago.
phone or text / email is fine. Whichever you prefer. Thx
Customer: replied 18 days ago.
Actually in writing would probably be best after all, in case I need to share the correct terminology with an in-person plumber :)

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer!

This is James, I'm a Plumbing Technician with over 10 years of experience, and I'll be assisting you today

Sorry to hear your appliance is having issues, please stand by while I find the answer for you, this is not an immediate service however I will try and respond as soon as possible.

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
Thx ��

Has the actuator failed or the actual valve, since the actuator is just a motor which sits on top of the valve, so could be replaced without removing the valve (and hence not drain the system).

You can generally prove this by using the manual leaver on the valve, if when using it the valve opens and you get central heating then this rules out a valve fault and you just need an actuator.

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
Ok so I could ask my tenant to test the manual override and see if the heat comes on? I saw that lever in a video of This drayton za5?
Customer: replied 18 days ago.
My liability of course!!)
Customer: replied 18 days ago.
If it is the valve how long should that job take? (As I said he said 3h, then 5h and online I’ve seen as low as 2h) see pics if that helps
Customer: replied 18 days ago.
Just looking for whatever is “reasonable”

All zone valves (well most) have the manual leaver on them, obviously the thermostat \ programmer will also need to be set to demand heat from the boiler, and if after 10 minutes radiators should start to get warm.

Once you know if they are getting heat to the radiators you can be confident if you need to ask the plumber to come and replace the actuator (or programmer if they haven't tested the programmer), or at least give you a quote for just replacing the actuator\programmer.

However if you do not get heat then a drain of the system would be reasonable but think its about 3 hour job.

If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to ask them!
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Customer: replied 18 days ago.
Thx!, If it’s just the actuations, is it possible to replace the entire actuator without draining (vs just the motor)... if it’s the valve, is it possible to replace without buying a new actuator?
Customer: replied 18 days ago.

Yes if the actuator is only at fault this can be replaced without draining the system, it just unbolts from the valve and needs rewired, takes about 45 minutes. The the valve and actuator come as two separate parts, but normally if you change the valve you would change the actuator.

James and other Plumbing Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 18 days ago.
thanks! I think that’s it! Big help ��