Power Flushing

Does Your Heating System Need a Power Flush?

Should the issue be due to poor quality system water, failing components as a result of sludge, cold spots in radiators, radiators failing to heat up, blocked heat exchangers or any other issue sludge can cause, we are here to help.

We offer a fixed rate power flushing service and are leading providers in the area. We are power flushing regularly and have a great deal of experience with the process. You are in the best of hands when you use us!

Power flushing is often done wrong, and as a result, consumers can end up paying far more trying to resolve sludge, scale and sediment related issues that they need to. There are many ways which the process could be done, but few correct ways. We have taken the time to explain this in great detail further down the page.

We adhere to the Approve Codes of Practice such as those set out by the Domestic Water Treatment Association and ensures treated water is physically examined, checked with a TDS meter (the total dissolved solids) to within 10% of the tap water supply and PH checked prior to inhibitor treatment.

So Why Use Us?

  • We are highly experienced power flushing experts
  • We have transparent prices, show up on time and are highly professional
  • We are WaterSafe registered
  • Our engineers are registered plumbers with the CIPHE
  • We are a TrustMark & FairTrades registered company

“Sludge and scale are the leading cause of premature boiler and heating system failure. Any boiler that beats the lifetime statistics usually has clear system water within it that contains inhibitors, whereas boilers that are regularly having issues will almost always have dirty system water. There are a large number of heating systems that would benefit from a power flush, potentially saving the owners a lot of money in the long run.”

What We Offer:

  • We are punctual and provide accurate time-slots
  • Excellent value for money
  • High-quality workmanship
  • Exceptional customer service

Please see our advertised rates for our power flushing prices.

What Is Power Flushing?

Power flushing is the process where a high velocity, a low-pressure pump is used to loosen sediment and other unwanted matter (flux, solder, bacteria, etc) in wet central heating systems. Following this, the undesirable matter within the system water is extracted from the heating system.

The Correct Way To Power Flush

The correct way to do this is by adapting onto, or removing the central heating pump from the system and connecting the power flush machine to the “heart” of the system. Alternatively, if there are dedicated power flushing connection points or a filter is installed, in some cases, power flushing can be as equally effective when done through these points. Power flushing central heating systems through radiators and other methods will often result in poor results and is not a recommended or approved process. However, power flushing a single problematic radiator is acceptable.
To increase the speed of this process, when sludge (ferrous oxide) is causing an issue, magnetic filtration may be used to improve the process, which will reduce the volume of water used.

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The Correct Use Of Chemicals

Using correct methods, equipment and suitable chemicals at the proper doses will increase the chances of power flushing success. Strong acid-based chemicals (these require neutralising with a separate product before being drained) will often be more effective than using a single flush product that identifies as “environmentally friendly”.

We stand by the use of dedicated, specialist power flushing acid chemicals such as Scale Breaker & FX2 instead of the use of such products as X800 on existing central heating systems.

Ferrous oxide, flux residue and limescale are the common solids that can be found in central heating systems. These can cause blockages and restrictions within heating systems, reducing or even preventing the flow of water and the transfer of heat. The power flushing chemicals we advocate will often breakdown such unwanted matter and allow it to be mobilised in the system water by the power flushing unit. More severe problems, such as dense blockages, especially in micro-bore pipework (8 & 10mm) can reduce the effectiveness of the process.

Power Flushing Microbore Systems

Micro-bore systems can be effectively power flushed, but the lower smaller diameter pipes restrict the flow of water; thus power flushing is not always successful. Additional methods can be employed to increase the amount of sediment removed from heating systems successfully, such as individual radiator flushing and draining the radiator individually post-treatment, but it must be understood that there are limitations to power flushing. The more obstacles put in the way of the process, the less effective it will be.

Blockages From Building Aggregates

Aggregates that may have contaminated the system during the installation process, such as materials used as the house building process, will often not be broken down by the chemicals. The power flushing process may not remove the particular foreign matter that may have collected in the system as a result of poor installation practices.

Issues with aggregates, causing restrictions/blockages within heating systems, are more prevalent in new-build properties. In modern homebuilding methods, central heating systems are put together in stages. If workers have left heating pipes open during the first fix process, it can allow debris from the site to contaminate the heating system. In some instances where we have suspected this, particularly where single, lower floor radiators have been the issue, we have had to recommend to remove the affected pipework before power flushing.

Why Power Flushing Can Not Always Remove Everything

Small pockets of discoloured water containing sediment can get trapped in radiators where the flow of water becomes restricted by such things as radiator size, location, pipework diameter, the number of bends and pipework length. When sediment gets trapped, it is usually in one or more of lower level radiators. More often than not it will just be a small amount of fluid in the bottom of the radiator that will run clear quickly when drawn off. We advise lockshield radiator valves with drain-offs are fitted on all low lever radiators to allow for the removal of trapped sediment and ease of maintenance in the future.

Conventional Heating Systems

Header tanks (F&E tanks) that feed traditional central heating systems are disconnected during the process to prevent fluid overflow back into the tank. Over long periods, F&E tanks can become heavily soiled with contaminants such as sediment and when reconnected to the system will reintroduce unwanted matter back into the heating system. Where an F&E tank is accessible, we advise that the tank is removed and cleaned out during the power flushing process. However, inspection and/or the removal of F&E tanks are not always practical, due to possible locations. In such instances, if the client is not willing to pay for a replacement tank, the client must accept that sediment and other contaminants were left in the tank may re-enter the system.

Can Power Flushing Cause Leaks?

Power flushing will not cause leaks, but it can highlight defects in the heating system. Some examples of this are:

Fittings that have not been correctly jointed
Components, such as radiators or valves that sludge has been preventing water from escaping through a defect

Issues with components may become visible because the cleaning process has removed the corrosion/scale/sludge, thus allowing water to pass. Although not typical, if these problems do occur the cost of power flushing does not include the cost to such defects.

Is Power Flushing Effective?

Overall, power flushing is a very effective way to make significant improvements to the longevity and efficiency of a central heating system. A contaminated central heating system will often have increased maintenance costs, plus and decreased efficiency, which over time will lead to increased operational costs.

In our experience, the majority of central heating systems have contaminants present that are harming the system. The severity of this effect is often dictated to by the level of contamination. Repairs to the boiler and central heating systems will be reduced by ensuring that the water contained within the heating system is of good quality and treated with inhibitors.

We have yet to find a system that’s contaminated that has not benefited from a correctly applied power flush. Although restoring flow to all aspects of a central heating system is not always possible through power flushing. We have very high success rates for power flushing.

Common Problems Caused By Sludge/Scale/Sediment

Conventional systems:

  • Radiators heat up when the system is set for hot water only
  • Hot tap water getting scalding hot
  • Hot tap water failing to heat up
  • Reduced pump life
  • Reduced motorised valve life
  • Kettling from the boiler
  • Overheating of the system
  • Cold spots in radiators
  • System water “pumping over” into the F&E tank
  • Thermostatic radiator valves failing to work

Combination (Combi) boilers:

  • Radiators getting warm when systems demand is for hot water only
  • Hot tap water getting scalding hot
  • Hot tap water has fluctuating temperatures
  • Hot tap water failing to heat up
  • Reduced pump life
  • Kettling from the boiler
  • Overheating of the system
  • Cold spots in radiators
  • Thermostatic radiator valves failing to work

System Water Analysis

Generally, heating engineers will diagnose sludge and scale in your system through experience and visual detection. Sediments, such as ferrous oxide when in sufficient quantities, will be visible in the system water in the form of sludge. Limescale, on the other hand, cannot be detected visually in the water and only becomes noticeable when it solidifies to form a white deposit. Limescale formation is generally noticed visually within components of the heatings system, such as pipework.

Using visual test equipment, such as turbidity tubes, experience and TDS meter is good practice for identifying the presence of sediment in a system. However, this approach will not tell you precisely what contaminants are in the heating system. The only true way to identify precisely what is present is to collect several water samples and have them tested in a laboratory. Generally speaking, this is an expensive process and would not usually be used.

Post Power Flushing

After a system has been thoroughly flushed, inhibitors are added to reduce the corrosion process, and the accumulation of limescale and biological contamination. The full effectiveness of inhibitors is debatable, as most of the product research usually comes from the manufacturers.

There are several brands, all that vary in their effectiveness. Nobody independent can tell you which of the products are the most effective, but in our experience, most appear to work reasonably well to very well when added to a correctly cleansed/power flushed system. We have witnessed treated heating systems as old as ten years with little to no sediment formation.

Usually, 1-2 tubs will be enough to treat an average heating system. Most brands will work on one container per 100 litres (or 10 radiators as rule of thumb).

One thing to note with inhibitors, brand dependent, is they can discolour the water slightly following treatment, depending on the colour of the product. Mostly now inhibitors are clear, but in some instances, the inhibitor can tint the colour of the water.

We prefer Fernox, Sentinel and Adey inhibitor products, all of which perform extremely well over sustained periods.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, but not with acid-based chemicals! Aluminium reacts readily with acids and strong alkaline, thus less effective compounds must be used, or the boiler needs disconnecting from the heating system where acid-based chemicals need to be used.

It is very high, 99% of the time it will resolve the issue(s) without any further work. However, it will not be fully effective in certain situations.

The process its self will not create leaks, but where components within the heating system are being held together by debris, the removal of the debris can result in parts weeping/leaking. These situations are rare, and where it does happen, it is usually a weep on such things as radiator valves.

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