Over time, the water that is running through your heating system will naturally deteriorate and will cause a reduction in efficiency within your system.
The reason that the water deteriorates is due to corrosion that occurs within the pipework and other components within your system. The water reacts with the metal, eventually causing small flakes of metal to break off into the water which are then pumped around your system.
If steps aren’t taken to address this issue, you will find that your heating system starts to work less efficiently with more energy required to heat your home. A common symptom is a radiator that has hot and cold patches, which is usually caused by radiator sludge - a build up of corroded particles that have built up at the bottom of your radiator. This inevitably leads to higher heating bills as well as running the risk of a complete system breakdown, due to the extra stress placed on all parts of the system.
One of the most important ways to tackle internal corrosion is by adding a chemical inhibitor to your system, a method that every single plumber in the world will tell you is an absolute must to maintain efficiency and to prolong the life of your heating components. You can watch our excellent video on the results and benefits of using chemical inhibitor here.
The second option available to you, and one that is becoming increasingly popular to work in tandem with chemical inhibitor, is the installation of a magnetic filter.
If you have a small property, then installing a filter with a magnetic dirt separator is a very practical solution to the issue of internal corrosion. As the water flows around your home, the magnetic filter will capture the metallic particles, stopping them from passing further around the pipework and causing damage. The filter should then be periodically emptied, preferably when you have your annual boiler maintenance check.
For those in bigger properties, it may be worth two or three dirt separators in parallel with each other, although this could require some pipework alterations, which you will have to decide whether or not is worth the extra cost. Making sure you get a filter that can trap miniscule particles, invisible to the naked eye, may also be worth shopping around for for maximum benefit.
Filter technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years and can also be very effective at removing non-magnetic particles as well as the more well-known magnetic particles. ‘Cyclone’ filters have become a popular filter to install, as they are very good at accelerating the water through the filter, removing the particles which are then easy to flush out.
So, while filters should not be considered a complete replacement for chemical inhibitor, when used in addition, they have a very important role to play in keeping your heating components clean and ensuring you have an efficient and reliable heating system running effectively for years to come.
Article by Benjamin Clarke