How to tell if a power flush of your central heating system is required

Unless your central heating system has sufficient corrosion inhibitor from the day it is installed, the water starts to deteriorate. The steel and iron components will start to rust. This leads to the formation of magnetite and a build up of sludge which is evidenced by the water in the system becoming black. As the build up of sludge increases it can block waterways and seriously impair the efficiency of your heating system, leading to higher energy bills and ultimately failure of pumps, radiator valves or the boiler itself.

If you have radiators which have cold spots at the bottom you probably have a build up of sludge and flakes of rust blocking the waterways within the radiator. If your radiators have cold spots at the top it may just be due to air in the system or it could be caused by hydrogen gas which forms due to a chemical reaction which is a part of the corrosion process. On top of this if you live in a hard water area and your system has not been regularly treated it may well also have a build up of lime scale which only serves to exacerbate the problem.

The following are all symptoms of corrosion:

  • Black water in the system
  • Radiators requiring frequent bleeding
  • Radiators partially or fully cold
  • System very slow to warm up
  • Noisy boiler
  • Central heating pump failure

Regardless of these symptoms, systems 10 years old or more will have a build up of corrosion. If you recognise any of these symptoms then your heating system could almost certainly benefit from power flushing.

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How does power flushing work?

It's the application of specially formulated cleansing chemicals pumped at high velocity but low pressure, to facilitate a thorough removal of all the products of corrosion without causing any damage to the system. The process will take several hours and once the system has been thoroughly cleansed the cleansing agent is neutralised and a corrosion inhibitor is added to the system for future protection.

Why should you power flush your central heating system?

  • Power flushing is essential if you want to realise the published high energy efficiency levels of 90-97% of new boilers.
  • Your new boiler cannot be expected to fulfil its potential if your heating system is full of sludge and scale.
  • Modern boilers have much smaller waterways and are therefore far more prone to clogging than their predecessors.
  • Several boiler manufacturers insist that the system is thoroughly flushed as a requirement of their warranty.
  • You will save money on the running costs of your heating system by anything up to 15%.