A clean system is an efficient one, but research by ADEY has shown that heating systems in four in ten (40%) homes are either dirty, or not protected with inhibitor. With the nation’s boilers set to be working harder, the inclusion of system deep cleaning in the government’s latest energy saving tips is not only timely, but a welcome addition.
Maintaining your heating system, including a Deep Clean of the System and Servicing, is now part of a government awareness campaign. This is something that ADEY, along with the wider industry, has been calling for and also follows a meeting between ADEY and its local MP, Siobhan Baillie. She then raised the issue of sludge in parliament and subsequently met with the Secretary of State for the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (ESNZ).
The campaign gives homeowners help and advice about how they can prepare their heating systems for winter. But with many homeowners unfamiliar with system deep cleaning, Colin Yearp, Head of Training at ADEY, considers how installers can talk to their customers about why it’s important and the benefits it can bring.
For a homeowner, they’re most likely to notice the effects of sludge build up in their heating system when their radiators aren’t getting as hot or they have cold spots. While bleeding might fix the problem temporarily, it doesn’t treat the root cause, which is where a system deep clean comes in. Explaining that the dirty water that comes out during a radiator bleed is the sludge that has settled at the bottom is a helpful starting point when talking to homeowners about the benefits.
If the sludge isn’t removed, it can build up quickly, not only floating around in pipes and radiators and blocking heat from coming through properly, but causing damage to the boiler. Here it will clog up components, which will start to reduce efficiency, meaning the boiler has to work harder, more gas will be used and bills will increase. Carrying out a system deep clean will help to remove virtually all of the debris that has built up over time and the demonstrable benefits are significant.
While energy bills are tipped to come down this winter, there’s no doubt that cost is still a big concern for most, which is why it’s important to demonstrate the proven benefits that come from carrying out a system deep clean. Just as a car will run more efficiently on clean oil, clean water in a heating system is key to optimum performance, and a system deep clean, when carried out as part of a best practice approach, radiator heat output can increase by up to 47% as well as reducing the amount of gas used and carbon emissions, by up to 7%. A system that’s been deep cleaned can also extend the life of a boiler by up to 7 years.
Test and treat
While reduced heat output from radiators indicates a potential build-up of sludge, a water test is the most effective way for installers to check the water quality and find out if a system needs attention. This can be done quickly and on-site using ADEY ProCheck, a digital water test.
In just three minutes, it tests four main parameters which contribute to boiler breakdown: turbidity, pH, corrosion and inhibitor, with results delivered straight to a smart phone or tablet. These can then be shown to the homeowner, helping them to see exactly what the problem is and then providing a recommendation for treatment.
If a system deep clean is needed, using ADEY MagnaCleanse is an efficient and time-effective solution. This has a pump at its heart and is carried out under low pressure, using the velocity of water to flush away deposits in the central heating system. Once any sludge has been loosened, clean water is forced through the system, pushing out the contaminated water through a dump valve.
As most installers know well, this can be an incredibly time-consuming process because it relies solely on gradual dilution of the dirty water with incoming mains water. This means it can take between four to six hours, or even longer for heavily sludged systems, as well as using a lot of water.
Using ADEY MagnaCleanse directly targets and captures the root cause of blocked systems, saving the installer time and using significantly less water. With the help of the VibraClean agitation tool, which helps to loosen even hardened debris and reduces the likelihood radiators need to be removed, the process can be completed by one person in an average of two hours for a three-bedroom system.
The addition of a premium chemical cleaner can also help lift the debris, especially where there is a large and very settled amount. Powerful magnets then capture the magnetite which is easily disposed of, a process which is visible to the homeowner. This provides an ideal opportunity for installers to show their customers exactly what’s been clogging up their system and explain why dosing with inhibitor and regular servicing can prevent their now clean system getting clogged with sludge again.
As a water treatment solution that’s relatively unknown to homeowners, with system deep cleaning now being included in government advice to homeowners, it’s an ideal chance for installers to demonstrate its effectiveness. With proven benefits including reducing gas bills, improving radiator heat output and extending boiler lifespan, it’s a valuable tool in an installer’s armoury from which their customers can reap the rewards.
Adey has resources available that installers can use to talk to customers about system deep cleaning.
To find out more about MagnaCleanse click here.