Archaeology-ish of a Central Heating System


Fieldwork was undertaken in the form of a brief walk through and photographic survey of Structure 1 (also known as ‘My House’)


(photo showing detail above boiler in kitchen)

The kitchen area of structure 1 shows several phases of development.
Decorative finish suggests the area has been painted a number of times.

  • Initially an area was left unpainted, assumed to have been inaccessible as it was obstructed by an original boiler.
  • Whilst the boiler was in situ the area was painted.
  • The initial decorative finish was yellow
  • This was later over painted with a shade of white, then repainted again more recently repainted again in white.
  • A new boiler has been fitted after this, leaving detail of previous decorative finish.
  • As well as leaving the detail of previous decorative finishes exposed, the current boiler installation can be seen to post date the most recent white decorative finish, as the flue cuts through the white finish above.

(Black sludgy deposit)

A sludgy grey/black deposit was found in the water in central heating header tank in the loft area of structure 1.
Material culture in the form of a central heating pump was found in a waste deposit adjacent to structure 1.  Whilst the pump has clearly been discarded it looks to be relatively new – it’s clean, no damage to paint, and exposed metal areas look untarnished. pump

(Find 1 – central heating pump)


Discoloration in the decorative finish in the lounge area of structure 1 suggests a minor flood event / water escape. This area is located directly below the area in which the current pump is installed.


Multiple redecorating ‘events’ in the kitchen suggest the heating system has been in place for a significant length of time. The sludgy deposit found in the header tank may indicate an overall buildup of sludge in the wider heating system which over time would cause a failure of of both the pump and the boiler.

The condition of the discarded pump (Find 1) suggests that it has been removed due to rapidly developed fault rather than a failure caused by years of wear and tear.  The water damage on the ceiling is directly below the upstairs area where the current heating  pump is located – this, coupled with the discarded heating pump would support the hypothesis that a failure or malfunction of the pump caused an escape of water, which caused the water damage to the ceiling.

By way of further conclusion, one boiler, three pumps, and one powerflush later – it would appear I need to paint the ceiling, and also the kitchen wall (again)!  It is winter and it’s cold outside – but indoors, currently it is warm & the heating is working.

….and if this blog looks familiar, yes, I did accidentally initially post it last week instead of today!


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