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  • Power Flushing The Heating System

    Power flushing your central heating system will restore it to its original state as when it was first installed.

    The reason why you would start power flushing your central heating system is if you notice black water when removing air from the radiators or If your heating system is slow to heat up then the chances are your system is sludge up and you need to carry out power flushing.

    A central heating system will start to sludge up as soon as it is installed and filled with water.

    The water that enters your heating system is either from a tank located in the loft area or from the direct water mains supply if you have a pressurised system,

    When a new heating system or even a new boiler is installed, the system should be flushed out 2 times, once with cold water and the second time with hot water. The reason you need to flush the system is to remove any fluxes or paste that has been used when installing the system, also if any debris is in the system this gets removed.

    When flushing a heating system out for the first time you don’t need to use any flushing chemicals just water is enough, you could use them if you want to, but on the new system, water is normally enough.

    If installing just a new boiler, then its advisable to use a flushing chemical, as this will clean the rest of the system.

    So why has the central heating system sludge up and what has caused it to happen?

    When a new heating system is installed you have many different types of metal in the system, the radiators are normally made of pressed steel, the pipework and fittings are of copper and some brass, the boiler sometimes cast iron and copper or stainless steel.

    All these different metals start to react with one another in water.

    The by-product is sludge, first it turns the water black then into oil like substance, then eventually it starts to go solid which then starts to cause blockages within the system.

    To overcome this problem, an inhibitor should be added to the central heating system when filled with water, this will prevent any sludge build up and also protect the boiler and the system.

    If at anytime the system is drained down, then when refilling an inhibitor needs to be added.

    The amount of inhibitor within the system should be checked each year to make sure your system and boiler are protected.

    If your system becomes blocked due to sludge build up it can become a costly exercise to restore, depending on how bad it is.

    You may have noticed that your pump in your system has failed a couple of times or even a pinhole has appeared in one of the radiators, and you have had to have these parts replaced.

    This could have been avoided if an inhibitor had been added to the water in the first place.

    Power flushing will clean your system back to new, but you have to be careful when power flushing, what I mean is, sometimes power flushing cleans so well that it can cause pinholes to appear in the radiators.

    These pinholes appear because the sludge has started to eat away at the radiator wall, and once the sludge is removed by the chemicals used in the power flushing it sometimes removes some of the metal.

    When power flushing you have to try and find out how bad the system is.

    I tend to start off the power flushing with a mild chemical first, this way it cleans gently and should avoid the pinholes, not all the time but most of the time. If you need to use a strong cleaning chemical then do so and keep an eye open for leakage.

    Once the power flushing has been completed then an inhibitor needs to be added.

    Always read the instructions on the bottle before adding to the system, don’t worry about overdosing, it’s better to have more in the system than not enough. But like I said read the instructions first.

    There are many inhibitors and cleaning chemicals on the market to choose from today, what I would advise is when buying these chemicals don’t mix up the makes.

    What I mean is if buying both cleaning and inhibitor chemicals make sure they are both made by the same company.

    This way you know they are safe if using two different makes they may react with each other.

    Once you have carried out the power flushing and restored your central heating system to new like you will notice that the boiler works more efficiently and the radiators heat up a lot quicker.

    Now you may notice a small drop in your fuel bills.

    With a sludge up system, the boiler and the pump have to work harder, thus using more energy, thus higher bills.

    Power flushing and adding an inhibitor to the central heating system can save you a lot of money over time.

    Your boiler will last longer as will the radiators and pipework, so it worth making sure your system is protected.

    Why not enter your details in the box below to find out how power flushing could save you money and we will send one of our Gas Safe engineers to advise you accordingly…