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That'll cost ya...

Updated: Nov 20, 2020

“That’ll cost ya.”

He sucks on his top lip as he rubs his chin and shakes his head slowly left to right. This apparently is the worst example he’s ever seen. He almost has you feeling sorry for him. The hours of work stretching ahead of him, the late nights away from the family. The technical manuals which will need to be studied. This is not going to be easy.

“I was hoping it would be a pretty simple job.” You hear yourself say with a slightly deferential tone.

“I wish it was, I wish it was son, but this my friend is anything but. I’ve seen a few like this over the years and they’re never simple. Hours I’ve slaved over these things and the answer is always the same, start with a power flush and see where we are after that.”

“How much is a ‘power flush’?” 

“Ohh, they’re not cheap I’m afraid, the whole system has to be drained, that means finding somewhere we can connect to and then allow the sludge to drain. And they’re always sludged up these, like black oil it comes out, full of particles. It’s the constant flow round and round that does it, slowly builds up over the years. The draining in itself can be quite a challenge. Some guys don’t think ahead when they install a new system, don’t put a drainage tap in a sensible spot and that then causes poor sod’s like me untold headaches when the system eventually needs draining - as they always do. A little planning would save untold headaches. A little more time to install for sure. But worth every penny in my book.”

You breathe in deeply and then out slowly in resigned submission. This is more than you wanted, more than you’d hoped. Why can’t life be simple?

“When I bleed the radiators they always seem clear, not black and sludgy at all”.

“They’re all the same these Combi’s trust me. I spend all my time fixing these things”.

“Let me just make a call to my friend Nigel, he knows about these things.

“Nigel, it’s Kev, I’m here at the flat with the Plumber. Yes, I know. Anyway, he says that we need to 'power flush' the boiler. Yes, I told him that. Yes, I said the water runs clear from the radiators. Yes, he said he does this all the time. No way around it he says. What? You think the heat exchanger? Just flush it with a light acid? Should solve the problem? Let me ask him.”

“My mate says the rads run clean, no need for a power flush, just take the heat exchange off, give it a little flush. Should fix the problem in five minutes.” 

“Well we can try that of course, but it’s not guaranteed and if it fails, we’ll have to do that and then the power flush afterwards”.

“Let’s give it a go? Can’t hurt and could save me a fortune.”

As you sip your coffee half an hour later you reflect on what a great mate Nigel is. If there was a plumbing God, Nigel would be the power flush.


Cambridge ICE: We had 30mins to write a scene with dialogue where two or more people talked but one had more power than the other(s). I've just corrected two small typos since the original. It's impressive what can be written in 30 mins.

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