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Central heating power flush – worth it?

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perfectionist

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2-Jan-14 10:56

My gas combi central heating stopped working. The pilot light is still lit and I can get hot water but rads are cold. My service man thought it could be the pump and replaced and although this now briefly starts and stops the system (10 seconds start) he does not think this is the answer. He is suggesting a power flush but reading these posts there seems to be a difference of opinion. My rads and pipes are from 1973, boiler from 2000 but still going OK. Any advice about power flush please? thanks.

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John Creasey - Boiler Installation & Service, Gas & Heating Maintenance

New Malden, Surrey

2-Jan-14 17:14

Originally posted by: perfectionist : View

My gas combi central heating stopped working. The pilot light is still lit and I can get hot water but rads are cold. My service man thought it could be the pump and replaced and although this now briefly starts and stops the system (10 seconds start) he does not think this is the answer. He is suggesting a power flush but reading these posts there seems to be a difference of opinion. My rads and pipes are from 1973, boiler from 2000 but still going OK. Any advice about power flush please? thanks.

Hadn't noticed earlier that the boiler is 2000 and still has pilot light. This for a Combi does 'date' it a bit and whatever else you may need to do to clean the system, you do need to have in the back of your mind that combi boilers simply do not last like the older generation of appliances.

Radiators from 1973 really really do need changing and updating, and money would be far better spent on updating these and then cleaning the system, rather than just cleaning what you have.

Check out energy saving tips in this months Which (Jan 2104 P76) - and you will see that 'somebody' has covered this already.

Sorry to have to suggest that you may be looking at investing some money into your heating system rather than throwing 'sticky plasters' at it.

Probably not what you wanted to hear but it sounds like the job needs addressing properly.

Hope that helps a little.

Good Luck

John C

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Brec

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14-Apr-14 20:22

This is my first Forum post. My issue is related to this discussion so decided to follow this thread rather than start new discussion.

I have just had the diverter valve,circuit board and pressure gauge replaced on my Vaillant Ecoplus 831 boiler by a Vaillant engineer. The valve was sticking due to debris build up and I was getting no hot water. He informed me that the system water was contaminated (770 ppm) and it needed a Flush and a filter fitted. I have been quoted £552 for this job by Homeheat part of Vaillant group and advised it should be done before any further visits by Group Service. I had been advised to contact Vaillant by the guy who installed the boiler as a cheaper option. I havegot back to the plumber/engineer who installed the boiler, a gas safe and Vaillant advance installer who also fitted new radiators. the boiler was installed in 2010 (2 yr warranty), the radiators the following year 2011. ( Just before Vaillant introduced their 5 guarantee in 2012). He is very sceptical about the need for a flush and filter so soon after installation. It was flushed when the boiler was installed. It cost me £288 for the repairs which included a years Home serve guarantee. If i go through with this recommended 'Gold flush' and have the filter fitted plus my annual sevice due at the begiining of May the bill for all this work will be nearly £1000 .A week ago I had a recommended boiler working properly that had been serviced regularly and a system that had been refurbished. I am not sure what to do now and am concerned that if I wait for the May service to investigate this issue further with the installer the valve will clog again. Any advice appreciated

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Real Boiler Servicing & Maintenance Ltd

Enfield, Middlesex

14-Apr-14 22:26

Hi Brec,

770 is a high reading indeed but if am not wrong this is from a turbidity tube which measures suspended partials, their are other tests that will high light further, such as TDS (total dissolved solids), dissolved copper/iron, water hardness/PH and chloride levels.

If the problem is only suspended partials, and other reading are relatively stable, I would initially suggest installing a filter only and using chemicals to treat the system such as sludge remover and inhibitor, and you may not need a flush, as the filter will collect the suspended particles as the system works naturally.

I would recommend acting sooner rather than latter as suspended particles may attack "O" rings and seals resulting in leaks as well as over working or blocking the pump and jamming moving parts like the diverter valve.

You may just want to think about having a filter fitted initially which will work straight away, and having a full water test carried out in order to understand what's actually happening to decide were to go from their.

all the best.

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John Creasey - Boiler Installation & Service, Gas & Heating Maintenance

New Malden, Surrey

15-Apr-14 08:08

Originally posted by: Brec : View

This is my first Forum post. My issue is related to this discussion so decided to follow this thread rather than start new discussion.

I have just had the diverter valve,circuit board and pressure gauge replaced on my Vaillant Ecoplus 831 boiler by a Vaillant engineer. The valve was sticking due to debris build up and I was getting no hot water. He informed me that the system water was contaminated (770 ppm) and it needed a Flush and a filter fitted. I have been quoted £552 for this job by Homeheat part of Vaillant group and advised it should be done before any further visits by Group Service. I had been advised to contact Vaillant by the guy who installed the boiler as a cheaper option. I havegot back to the plumber/engineer who installed the boiler, a gas safe and Vaillant advance installer who also fitted new radiators. the boiler was installed in 2010 (2 yr warranty), the radiators the following year 2011. ( Just before Vaillant introduced their 5 guarantee in 2012). He is very sceptical about the need for a flush and filter so soon after installation. It was flushed when the boiler was installed. It cost me £288 for the repairs which included a years Home serve guarantee. If i go through with this recommended 'Gold flush' and have the filter fitted plus my annual sevice due at the begiining of May the bill for all this work will be nearly £1000 .A week ago I had a recommended boiler working properly that had been serviced regularly and a system that had been refurbished. I am not sure what to do now and am concerned that if I wait for the May service to investigate this issue further with the installer the valve will clog again. Any advice appreciated

Hi Brec -

A couple of thoughts....

You say that the system was 'flushed' when the boiler was put in...

Questions:

How old are your radiators ? If fairly old, they are likely to have been heavily 'sludged' at the time the boiler was changed.

How was the system 'flushed' ? Was it 'flushed through' or actually chemically cleaned or 'power flushed' ?

I would hazard as guess (and only a guess) that the rads are oldish and the system was never properly cleaned in the first place and that the problem really dates from then.

Certainly, a magnetic/particle filter sounds like a must and as soon as possible (agreeing with RBS), but a filter alone will help but not solve the problem. A proper clean does sound like it is needed - or even updating radiators if really poor.

An option may be to install a filter like the 'Adey Professional2' or which can easily have a magna cleanse unit connected to it which has very powerful magnets to flush and clean easily. Once cleaned, the P2 unit will carry on removing particles and debris.

Note that there are other filter units which can very easily have cleaning units attached to them. Suggestions here are not necessarily recommendations.

I still suspect that the source of your problem may date from when the boiler was installed -

You have a very good boiler there and it is well worth protecting.

Hope that is a little help.

John

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Stuart, Hertford

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15-Apr-14 17:10

I have also heard that you can get a hot flush done; this sounds less intensive than a power flush. Has anyone used this?

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John Creasey - Boiler Installation & Service, Gas & Heating Maintenance

New Malden, Surrey

15-Apr-14 19:32

Originally posted by: Stuart, Hertford : View

I have also heard that you can get a hot flush done; this sounds less intensive than a power flush. Has anyone used this?

We use a heater as part of the power flush machine to help with the cleaning process.

When a unit like a 'magna cleanse' is used, the double magnet chambers form part of the heating circuit and therefore the system is also running hot through the boiler.

We also combine the power flush machine and the magna cleanse unit with the 'on board' heater when cleaning a system before a new boiler is fitted. The heat helps with the chemical cleaning and gives a perfect indication of exactly which parts of the system/radiators are be worked on.

hope that helps

John

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Brec

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17-Apr-14 02:27

Originally posted by: Real Boiler Servicing & Maintenance Ltd : View

Hi Brec,

770 is a high reading indeed but if am not wrong this is from a turbidity tube which measures suspended partials, their are other tests that will high light further, such as TDS (total dissolved solids), dissolved copper/iron, water hardness/PH and chloride levels.

If the problem is only suspended partials, and other reading are relatively stable, I would initially suggest installing a filter only and using chemicals to treat the system such as sludge remover and inhibitor, and you may not need a flush, as the filter will collect the suspended particles as the system works naturally.

I would recommend acting sooner rather than latter as suspended particles may attack "O" rings and seals resulting in leaks as well as over working or blocking the pump and jamming moving parts like the diverter valve.

You may just want to think about having a filter fitted initially which will work straight away, and having a full water test carried out in order to understand what's actually happening to decide were to go from their.

all the best.

Thanks for the prompt reply and advice, very useful. I will get back to my installer asap

Brec

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Brec

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17-Apr-14 02:36

Originally posted by: Brec : View

This is my first Forum post. My issue is related to this discussion so decided to follow this thread rather than start new... Read more »

Originally posted by: John Creasey - Boiler Installation & Service, Gas & Heating Maintenance : View

Hi Brec -

A couple of thoughts....

You say that the system was 'flushed' when the boiler was put in...

Questions:

How old are your radiators ? If fairly old, they are likely to have been heavily 'sludged' at the time the boiler was changed.

How was the system 'flushed' ? Was it 'flushed through' or actually chemically cleaned or 'power flushed' ?

I would hazard as guess (and only a guess) that the rads are oldish and the system was never properly cleaned in the first place and that the problem really dates from then.

Certainly, a magnetic/particle filter sounds like a must and as soon as possible (agreeing with RBS), but a filter alone will help but not solve the problem. A proper clean does sound like it is needed - or even updating radiators if really poor.

An option may be to install a filter like the 'Adey Professional2' or which can easily have a magna cleanse unit connected to it which has very powerful magnets to flush and clean easily. Once cleaned, the P2 unit will carry on removing particles and debris.

Note that there are other filter units which can very easily have cleaning units attached to them. Suggestions here are not necessarily recommendations.

I still suspect that the source of your problem may date from when the boiler was installed -

You have a very good boiler there and it is well worth protecting.

Hope that is a little help.

John

Thanks for your reply and advice Muttley. I had new radiators put in the year following the boiler installation by the same guy. He seems very proficient to me and is a Vaillant installer listed on Vaillants own web site He flushed the system for the boiler but not before the radiator installation. I need to get back to him after the Easter break.

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John Creasey - Boiler Installation & Service, Gas & Heating Maintenance

New Malden, Surrey

17-Apr-14 05:59

Originally posted by: Brec : View

This is my first Forum post. My issue is related to this discussion so decided to follow this thread rather than ... Read more »

Originally posted by: John Creasey - Boiler Installation & Service, Gas & Heating Maintenance : View

Hi Brec -

A couple of thoughts....

You say that the system was 'flushed' when the boiler was put... Read more »

Originally posted by: Brec : View

Thanks for your reply and advice Muttley. I had new radiators put in the year following the boiler installation by the same guy. He seems very proficient to me and is a Vaillant installer listed on Vaillants own web site He flushed the system for the boiler but not before the radiator installation. I need to get back to him after the Easter break.

Hi Brec - sounds like you have explained it. If the radiators needed changing (as they were changed following year) it sounds like they were ready for changing at the time of the boiler replacement anyway.

However well cleaned, very old radiators will always retain some 'debris and contaminants' which will find its way into the new boiler. This is why with very old rads, it often makes more sense to update them at the time of changing the boiler - along with the fact that new radiators are far more efficient anyway.

Sounds like the old radiators which remained started to release particles from day one.

Magnetic/particle filters are brilliant, but it should always be remembered that while they will help keep the system clean, they do not 'solve' a sludge problem.

Clean first and then fit filter.

Good Luck - it sounds like you are onto it and let us know how you progress.

John

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