Magnetic filters are now commonly used to protect and maintain domestic heating systems, but Dr Neil Watson, Global Technical Officer at Adey, explains why installers should consider using the technology for bigger scale applications.
Since it was invented by Chris Adey 15 years ago, magnetic filtration has revolutionised the maintenance and protection of domestic heating systems. With five million Adey MagnaClean filters installed throughout the UK, magnetic filtration is now a trusted technology that enables installers to help their customers reduce household energy bills, carbon emissions and maintenance costs through the collection and removal of magnetite from household heating systems.
Magnetite makes up more than 98% of all system debris, making it the single biggest cause of heating system issues. Magnetite particles are incredibly small – just eight microns (0.088mm) – so they can travel easily around a heating system, deposit in low flow areas such as heat exchangers, base boards and radiators, cause erosion in turbulent areas and clog up pumps. In homes, these damaging deposits can reduce heat transfer by as much as 15%, and reduce the efficiency of a boiler by 3%.
However, the effects of magnetite aren’t unique to everyday domestic central heating systems, they’re also a huge concern for light commercial systems through to large scale industrial applications too. So why is the type of filtration technology commonly used in these bigger system types so different to that being used so effectively in a typical domestic scenario?
Interestingly, the system components and materials used in commercial and domestic systems of every size are effectively the same; the same metals, plastics and elastomers. They are also treated with exactly the same chemical inhibitor formulations. The only real difference is system size and flow rate.
For many years commercial systems have traditionally relied on bag filters and dirt separators to capture and remove debris from circulation. These methods can be prone to a high amount of ‘wash-off’; particularly bag filters, where small particles get continually rubbed against the bag until they become so small that they potentially escape back into circulation around the heating system.
Other commonly used filters rely on a mesh but these won’t work effectively because magnetite particles are too small for them to be captured. Meshes we find in some filters are simply too big for the job. For example, one such mesh measures 8mm by 8mm in grid size, but that’s 1,000 times taller and 1,000 times wider than an eight-micron magnetite particle, making it a million times too big. Imagine if the holes in the mesh were as tall and as wide the Eiffel Tower, and we needed to use that mesh to filter particles that are the size of a football – it’s clearly not going to work.
Installers are gradually switching on to the benefits of using magnetic filtration for long-term maintenance and protection of commercial heating systems, yet there are many who don’t yet realise that magnetic filters are proven to be 10 times more effective than traditional filters. This is because they offer maximum performance regardless of particle size, and even the smallest magnetic particles will be attracted to the powerful magnets at the core of the filter for collection and removal.
In addition, Adey’s new MagnaClean DRX filter offers increased flexibility and versatility, enabling installers to fit it in-line or side stream, and in any orientation. This provides installers with a cost-effective solution for protecting commercial heating systems that will help improve performance, efficiency and reliability.
Performance enhancing support
Leading boiler manufacturers say that 85% of breakdowns are due to problems with system water. Similarly, pump manufacturers recognise that almost 70% of pump problems are also a result of the same issue.
This is one of the reasons that Adey developed its Best Practice approach to heating system maintenance and protection. We know that magnetic filtration will be even more effective when supported by the use of premium quality chemical cleaners and inhibitors, rather than used in isolation. In addition, we also understand the importance of regular testing and checking to maintain the quality of the system water and guard against the build-up of magnetite.
For many of our customers this approach has helped to enhance the performance of heating systems for the long term, improving efficiency, reducing energy bills, cutting maintenance call-outs and the need for repeat repairs.
The latest addition to Adey’s range of magnetic filters, the MagnaClean DRX, has been launched to help provide essential protection for commercial plant rooms. Designed to include a magnetic belt containing high-performing neodymium magnets wrapped around a precision engineered stainless steel case, the new DRX makes servicing quick and easy. The belt is simply released and the black iron oxide sludge is emptied via a drain valve.
The magnets are also spring-loaded to ensure they align perfectly with the canister to achieve maximum capture of both large and small particles, while the patented design ensures low pressure loss.
Crucially, the MagnaClean DRX can be fitted in-line or side stream to offer increased flexibility at installation. It is available in 2, 2 ½, 3 and 4in. pipe dimensions to meet demand from a variety of different applications and can be installed in any orientation.
Adey’s newly expanded Commercial Division is able to offer focused technical insight, help and advice, no matter what the system size, scale or problem. If you are interested in a free site survey from one of the team and would like to find out more about the new MagnaClean DRX, visit www.adey.com/drx. Every registration will be entered into a prize draw to win one of the new filters.