Power Flushing

Power Flushing Machine

Power Flushing Machine

Power Flushing

I will point out at the start of this article that I am a plumber and once having read this article and watched our video, that should you have any further Power Flushing questions do get in touch and we will try and answer them as best we can.

All central heating systems become clogged with sludge, small iron particles and the residues from soldering copper pipes during the installation process.  This sediment can over time block heating pipes, and thus reduce the efficient distribution of heat throughout your home. This may over time lead to higher fuel energy bills, whilst also reducing the life span of your heating system.

What is Power Flushing ?

Power Flushing is the process by which the removal of sludge, rust and other debri from a central heating system is removed using a purpose made Power Flushing machine, in conjunction with water and chemical based products to help break down the debri build ups within the heating system. The water and chemical mixture is then pumped around the system at high velocity, whilst also multi directional, to aggregate all the particle debri within the heating system prior to dumping this sludge water to an appropriate drainage point.

Power Flushing

Should your heating system show signs of any of the below, Power Flushing may help;

1 The system is slow to warm up?

2 Are some radiators completely or partially cold, with cold spots?

2 Do radiators need frequent bleeding?

3 Is the central heating water dirty and discoloured?

4 Radiators with pin holes perforations and or leakage?

5 Are there kittling noises from the boiler?

6 Do you have repeated pump failures?

7 Do you have repeated diverter valve failures?

Power Flushing Equipment

Power Flushing Equipment

Any new heating system will start to corrode the moment it is first turned on. This is a result of the 2 primary metals found within a heating system, one being copper and the second being iron from the radiators. During the radiator manufacture lots of small iron filings are produced and remain lodged within the radiator upon installation in your home. When the two metals meet they start a process called electrolysis, this process with the constant flow of water passing through the system creates a black iron oxide/ magnetite, which will build up quickly restricting the flow of water passing through the central heating distribution pipework, putting more pressure on the heating pump, which ultimately will result in pump failure and may eventually result in a complete system breakdown all together. Black iron oxide/ magnetite, makes your boiler work harder, which in turn uses more fuel and increases global warming. The overall effect will cost you more money to run and maintain your heating system.

During the Power Flushing process a sludge removing chemical will be added to assist in removing any and all debri from the heating system.  On completion of the Power Flushing, and all radiators having been fully flushed by a competent trades person a central heating inhibitor is added. The heating inhibitor should be checked annually and will protect your heating system for life.

If you live in a hard water area I would advise the installation of a water softener on the cold water fill to your heating system after power flushing.

Power Flushing Chemicals

Power Flushing Chemicals

New Boiler Power Flushing

Thermal Radiator Image Of Slug Build Up

Thermal Radiator Image Of Slug Build Up

When you are having a new A rated energy efficient boiler installed, or serviced, your qualified installer should also need to clean and flush your central heating system. It is a requirement of manufactures that a power flush is carried out on old heating systems that are being installed and connected to a new boiler. This is now a requirement under Part L of the building regulations when replacing an old boiler with a new A rated Energy Efficient condensing boiler. There are pluses and minuses to this but in our experience although the pluses out weigh the negatives.

Whilst cleaning the heating system a chemical may be required to help in the cleaning process to remove sludge from the system. In general day to day use the flow of water in a heating system is one direction and therefore deposits are left in the bottom sections of older radiators, whilst this can create cold spots over time within radiators. The use of power flushing creates multi directional flow, which changes during the process and agitates any and all debris within the heating system. Power flushing is the most thorough and effective way to cleanse an existing heating system, and hot water flushes are more effective at removing debris than cold flushing. The dirty water is then flushed to the nearest drain.

Radiator Sludge Deposits

Radiator Sludge Deposits

What deposits might you find in a heating system ? Typically in the manufacture of radiators you will have iron filings, oil, grease, and sludge deposits. These deposits have a detrimental effect on the working parts of any boiler and heating system and can reduce the expected life span of any boiler. This can result in breakdowns such as heating pumps etc.

The method of flushing used can depend on your boiler installed, whether a new system install, a replacement boiler or an old existing system, as does the type of cleanser and inhibitor used.

With older radiators it is worth bearing in mind that they are like an old car that has been left in the rain constantly corroding and rusting away. Unlike a car which we may walk around and assess the corrosion, we do not have this luxury with radiators as we cannot look within them. Therefore everything is based on the installers experience. Therefore during power flushing pin holes can appear in old existing radiators and these radiators will require replacing.

Typical Power Flushing Machine

Typical Power Flushing Machine

The power flushing process may also highlight any possible weak plumbing joints within the heating system. The entire process of power flushing can highlight areas of your existing heating system that may need updating or refurbishment. The over all positive results can extend the life expectancy of your new boiler and during the course of the boilers life create greater fuel efficiency.

On completion of flushing a chemical inhibitor which helps to reduce lime scale and any future corrosion should be added to the heating system on the completion of the new energy efficient boiler installation.

If your home is in a hard water area a water softener may be required to be fitted to protect the new boiler and heating system.

t is also a recommendation under part L of the Building Regulations that Thermostatic Radiator Valves are fitted to all bedroom radiators ( TRV’s ) Although this not a full requirement but I personally would advise doing this while the heating system is drained down.

Your installer should always check and stick to the manufactures instructions.

Radiator Thermal Image

Radiator Thermal Image

A system may benefit from cleaning;

If a system is cold-spotting where the radiators do not provide uniform heat and feel cold to touch in places, although make sure the radiators are fully vented when you try this at home.

When the system pump can be heard labouring – this is due to the system pumping around a build up of sludge or lime scale. This could also result in blockages within the existing heating system.

Once the power flushing is complete the heating system has chemicals introduced to stop any further corrosion of the system. Stickers are placed on the boiler and dated to confirm the chemicals used.