Boiler manufacturers recommend it. Many boiler warranties rely on it. The Compliance Guide to Part L of UK Building Regulations requires it. So what is system flushing and why is it so important? In this blog, Daniel Cheung, UK Trade Marketing Manager for Sentinel, outlines the benefits of the most effective form of system cleaning – powerflushing – and provides valuable tips for achieving a best practice powerflush.

What is powerflushing?

Of the several standard methods used to clean, drain and flush a heating system, power flushing is the most effective and provides the highest level of system cleanliness. Powerflushing is a process that thoroughly cleans a central heating system, restoring circulation by removing sludge, limescale and other debris. It involves pumping water and a chemical cleaner, such as Sentinel X800 Fast Acting Cleaner, through a system at high velocity using a powerflushing machine. Without system cleaning, heating systems can experience poor circulation, cold spots on radiators, and increased wear and tear on components.

What are the benefits of powerflushing?

There are many reasons why a homeowner may want their heating system cleaned. Here are just a few of the advantages offered by powerflushing:

1. Improved heating system efficiency and performance 
2. Energy bills can be lowered by up to £142 a year*
3. A warmer home (sludge build up in domestic system radiators reduces overall effectiveness by typically 15% according to independent research by Gastec@CRE)
4. Helps to keep boiler warranties intact
5. Contributes to maintaining boiler, component and system energy ratings
6. The boiler and system components are likely to last much longer, saving hundreds or even thousands of pounds in the long run.

Powerflushing is also great for installers, providing a valuable revenue stream while helping to avoid many unnecessary callback scenarios (according to a major boiler manufacturer, 87% of all boiler callouts are to systems without correct water treatment). Additionally, an installer that recommends and can competently present the benefits of powerflushing to customers will appear knowledgeable and professional, giving them a head start on much of the competition.

Top tips for powerflushing

Since powerflushing machines each operate differently, installers should refer to the manufacturers’ instructions to find out how to use the machine. However, there are some general tips to consider for all powerflushes:

• Heating systems should be powerflushed before a new boiler is installed. This will remove adherent, loose, settled and even compacted debris such as heavy sludge and corrosion rusts.
• Choose a cleaning chemical that is appropriate for level and type of debris to be removed. For example, older systems sometimes contain significant amounts of compacted, hard to dislodge sludge which required a specialist penetrating dispersant (like Sentinel Deposit Remover), while cleaning of typical levels of adherent rusts can be successfully cleaned by a general system cleaner formulation (such as Sentinel X800 Fast Acting Cleaner).
• Check the integrity of the system before powerflushing and carry out any remedial work if necessary.
• Powerflush with the old boiler in situ if possible, otherwise isolate the new boiler from the water circuit to protect it from circulating debris.
• Finally, get buy-in from more customers by using a timesaving powerflushing machine. Sentinel’s JetFlush Rapid is able to clean 20 – 25 radiators from one location thanks to its 20 metre head pressure, allowing installers to get the job done much faster.