One of the great improvements seen in the heating industry in the last few years is the amount of heating engineers getting the message across to their customers regarding the importance of having their boilers serviced regularly. Having boilers that are operating safely and efficiently is vital for an overall healthy heating system, reducing the likelihood of your boiler breaking down when you need it most.
We know the heating installers are putting the message across, but not all homeowners listen to the advice, often citing ‘financial restrictions’ for not proceeding with the recommendations. However, most of us would not expect our cars to run efficiently and trouble-free without an annual MOT or regular check-up of oil and water levels, so why should the most important component of our heating system, that is vital for providing us with warmth and hot water, be treated any differently?
A way that this problem has been addressed is by making the annual service of a boiler part of the conditions of a boiler warranty. The majority of boiler warranties are now only valid if the boiler has been serviced on an annual basis, and awareness of this fact has started to permeate into the minds of homeowners.
However, there is still a lot of work to be done on educating people of the importance of keeping their central heating system clean. An interesting recent estimate is that around 80% of central heating problems are caused by dirty systems, yet many people are unaware of the connection between a clean system and lower energy bills. This highlights the need for the heating industry as a whole to educate the public on keeping their system clean.
When a heating system is clean, it uses less fuel (gas, oil biomass etc…), which means it costs less money to run, as well as the added environmental benefit of producing fewer carbon emissions.
The Building Regulations and Domestic Heating Compliance Guide requires the use of chemical inhibitors for new builds and when a boiler is replaced on an existing system. Adding inhibitor fluid to your system hugely reduces the corrosion that can take place in your pipework, helping to prevent the buildup of radiator sludge, which can massively impact the performance of a heating system. (Watch this video to see the huge difference inhibitor makes to your system).
Additionally the Regulations and Compliance Guide states the need for a system to be completely flushed before a new boiler is installed and recommends a chemical water treatment before the final filling of the system. Again, this helps prevent internal corrosion and the buildup of sludge and limescale. Anything that causes the narrowing of your pipework puts a strain on your system, hampering efficiency and putting extra strain on all the components, and should be avoided as much as possible.
It’s the responsibility of heating installers to educate homeowners on the importance and benefits of a clean system. Installers should not be afraid of discussing internal corrosion, radiator sludge, power flushing and preventative maintenance. If installers can explain why a system should be kept clean and what the consequences are if maintenance is not carried out, we will have a general public comfortable with heating system check ups, just as they are with keeping a car running smoothly. Customers will feel the benefits of heating system efficiency, while saving money in the long run, due to a cleaner system and component longevity.
Article by Benjamin Clarke