Recommended use of a Birmingham screwdriver

A Birmingham screwdriver, in case you don’t know, is the alternative name for a hammer.

Our central heating pump has failed. Central heating is available upstairs, though not downstairs. I isolated the problem as a failed hot water circulating pump. Looked online for possible remedies and read that a gentle tap with a hammer might free the pump.

Well, well. I’m certainly skilled in using a hammer. However, a number of judicous hits with the hammer failed to solve the problem. I sort of knew it would fail, as the pump was too hot to touch, a sure sign that something has gone wrong inside the pump.

Never mind, I enjoyed giving the pump a whack or two.

5 thoughts on “Recommended use of a Birmingham screwdriver

  1. David, our pump is next to the hot water tank upstairs, and not next to the boiler which is in our kitchen. Perhaps it’s that hot water rises, and the pump maybe letting hot water through even though it’s not working as a pump. I’ll find out when an engineer arrives.


  2. If the pump isn’t working, the boiler would overheat within a minute an cut out (it is only the circulation of the water taking the heat away that stops this) so the hot water wouldn’t have the opportunity to rise to any meaningful extent. Also, bearing in mind the pump is pumping water often at up to 80c, it wouldn’t be unusual for it to be too hot to touch and if it is the water from the boiler causing it to be hot, it is a sign it is working.
    You may have a service contract, but if not, Mr Holland (of Holland Heating) is based in the village near the Red Lion. I am not affiliated in any way, just he has helped me out recently…


  3. Of course, if your hot – tap – water relies on a pump, and it’s still working (and the tank is up to temperature), then the pump must be working too? I’d be nore inclined to blame a motorised valve, though that doesn’t explain the hot radiators upstairs. Convection, perhaps. (I’ve had a long and unhappy acquaintance with domestic motorised valves! I now keep spares…)


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