What is Heating System Flushing?
Heating system flushing is the process of running water and cleaning chemicals through the boiler, radiators, and heating system pipework. The purpose of this is to dislodge and remove any debris that has built up in the system overtime, such as sludge, rust, and magnetite.
Why Flush a Heating System?
Over time and without adequate protection, heating systems will start to become blocked with black sludge known as magnetite. Magnetite is compromised of dissolved rust and metal from the pipework and radiators of a central heating system. It is created when air and water react with ferrous metals e.g. radiators and copper pipework.
The build-up of sludge in a system can lead to several problems, including:
- Blocked pipework, leading to restricted waterflow and poor heat circulation
- Irreversible damage to boiler heat exchangers
- Damage to boilers and pumps due to overheating
- Higher energy bills
See Boiler Breakdowns and Repairs and Heating System Repairs for more on sludge related faults.
Statistics suggest that a heavily sludged system can increase heating bills by up to 25%. A boiler installed on a dirty heating system will need to work harder in order to circulate the heat to the radiators. Also, a condensing boiler will only condense if the return water temperature is below 55 degrees. If your condensing boiler is overheating and has a high return temperature, it will be working at a much higher rate, reducing its efficiency. An unclean system can take up to four times as long to heat up than a clean system, resulting in more gas being consumed.
Flushing a heating system prior to the installation of a new boiler is not only good practice but is also required to validate the manufacturer’s guarantee. A clean system heating system is more efficient and drastically prolongs the life of your boiler. Click here for more on condensing boilers and Boiler and Heating System Installations.
Do I Need a Heating System Flush?
There are a number of signs to look out for which could indicate that your heating system requires flushing:
- Radiators are hot at the top but cold at the bottom
- Ground floor radiators are much colder than upper floors
- Certain radiators struggle to heat up
- Boiler goes into lockout and requires frequent resetting
- Black or dirty water when bleeding radiators
- Heating takes a long time to warm up
- Noisy boiler, pump, or radiators
- Radiator pipework gets hot, but radiators don’t
- Higher energy bills
Thermal Imaging cameras can be great tool for diagnosing and identifying blockages or poor circulation in heating systems. Visit our Thermal Imaging page or give us a call on 020 3858 0277 for more information.
What are the Benefits?
There are many benefits to flushing and properly protecting your heating system. These include:
- Improved energy efficiency and a reduction in bills of up to 25%
- Hotter radiators
- Increased system circulation, resulting in radiators heating up quicker
- Extended lifespan of your boiler and heating system components
- A more reliable boiler and heating system
- Quieter boiler and radiators
What are the Risks?
Very rarely, system flushing can cause leaks or bursts within heating systems. Occasionally systems may have radiators with heavy amounts of corrosion preventing the water from leaking out. The high flow rate delivered by a powerflushing machine may dislodge the corrosion or rust, leading to a leak from the radiator. It is important that you are aware of the risks before booking a powerflush as ASP Plumbing and Heating Services cannot be liable for any leaks or damaged caused as a result of the process. If you have old pipework under concrete floors, or if you are in any doubt about the potential risks of powerflushing, then it is best to opt for a regular system flush or a MagnaCleanse flush instead.
ASP Plumbing and Heating Services always carry out a full heating system inspection prior to advising on a particular method of flushing.
How Can I Protect My System After a Flush?
After a system flush, the best way to protect your heating system is with inhibitor chemicals and the with installation of an Adey MagnaClean filter. At ASP Plumbing and Heating Services, we include inhibitor chemical as standard with all of our flushes and will always recommend the installation a magnetic filter. A MagnaClean filter is a magnet that fits permanently onto your heating system pipework and collects debris and sludge from the system over time, keeping your boiler clean and healthy. These filters are typically cleaned out at the same time as your annual boiler service. See our Heating System Installations section for more information on magnetic filters
What is the Cost?
We offer a free quotation service for any system flushing related enquiries. Please see our Prices section for details on the cost if system flushing and magnetic filter installation.
Our engineers have taken part in powerflushing training and courses through Kamco, the UK’s leading power flushing machine manufacturer. We also have extensive experience using MagnaCleanse system cleaners. Please use our contact form or call us on 020 3858 077 if you would like to discuss heating system flushing or to arrange a visit.