Millions of homes in the UK have unsafe gas appliances because homeowners and tenants don’t ask the correct questions or know what to look for when looking for an central heating engineer.
A Powerflush is a cleansing process which aims to remove deposits of sludge, rust and any other debris from your central heating system.
These contaminants, if left, can seriously affect the efficiency of a heating system and, in severe cases, a powerflush could be the only option available. Over time the water in your pipes, boiler and radiators deposits unwanted byproducts like rust. This rust (plus other dirt and debris) becomes an unpleasant, mud-like substance that professionals affectionately refer to as ‘sludge’.
Sludge in your heating system can cause to blockages and corrosion which will lead to both inefficiency and / or breakdown. In extreme cases it can be so damaging that a complete boiler replacement is needed.
When do you need a Powerflush?
If you carry out regular servicing and maintenance (professional servicing is recommended annually) then a preventative Powerflush should only be necessary every 5-6 years to clear debris and prevent significant blockages from taking hold.
However, this will vary depending on the system you have. For example, some boilers use copper heat exchangers rather than stainless steel which will corrode quicker.
IMPORTANT: If you are planning to replace your boiler it’s important that the engineer performs a Powerflush before the installation. Otherwise, you risk contaminating the new boiler with damaging sludge and debris that’s hanging around in the old pipework.
Get quote for a poweflush from Abbey Boilers here.
Signs you need a Powerflush
There are signs to look out for that suggest that all is not well in your central heating system.
- Cold areas on radiators e.g. at the bottom
- Excessive noise from the boiler or the heating system pump
- Discoloured water when you bleed the radiators
- Heating is slow to warm up
- Cloudy tap water (limescale in system)
- Some radiators struggle to heat up as well as others
- Radiators cold but pipes are hot
- Boiler regularly shuts down and needs restarting
- No water escapes when you bleed a radiator
- Noisy radiators and or / boiler
- Small leaks in radiators.
If any of these problems sound familiar to you, it’s time to contact a professional engineer. While a Powerflush may be all that is required to get your heating back on track, unfortunately, it is not always that simple. A system may be so damaged that it is actually cheaper to replace rather than repair. If that’s the case you will need to consult with at least two professionals to make sure you’re getting the right solution at the best price.
What are the benefits of a Powerflush?
It’s not all doom and gloom; there are lots of positive reasons to get a Powerflush carried out too.
- Radiators will heat up quicker
- Radiators will get hotter
- Quieter radiators / boiler
- More energy efficient system = cheaper energy bills
- Higher hot water temperatures
- More reliable i.e. less chance of breakdown
- Increase the life of your heating system.
How does a Powerflush work?
An engineer will connect a pump to your central heating system. If it’s a Combi it will be connected at the pump head but if it’s a system boiler it will be connected at the circulation pump. This pump will push special chemicals through the pipes, boiler and radiators.
This includes a chemical that will remove sludge and rust, a descaler to remove limescale and corrosion inhibitor to help prevent future rust from forming. The engineer will collect and dispose of any contaminated water, debris or particles that they remove from the system.
The engineer may also use special tools on the exterior of the radiator to dislodge stubborn blockages. They should be able to measure the temperature of your radiators before they have started work and then show you the improvement after the Powerflush.
The whole process can last anything from 6 – 10 hours depending on the number of radiators in your home, the age of the system and the severity of the sludge in the system. The engineer may find more problems than originally anticipated such as needing new parts to replace those that have been damaged beyond repair. Most Powerflush jobs can be completed in one day but some of the more severe cases may require longer.
A qualified engineer will be able to perform repairs, replacements and carry out a Powerflush.
Who should carry out a Powerflush?
Not all companies will perform a Powerflush to the same standard. There are a range of chemicals and equipment on the market and, as with all industries, there are providers with varying levels of expertise and attention to detail. Always check independent review sites and request customer recommendations. We recommend sourcing at least two quotes from professionals so you can compare costs.
Boiler Guide has a network of 5,000 reputable engineers across the UK and can provide you with up to 3 free of charge, no obligation, competitive quotes.
Can you perform a Powerflush without a professional?
Put simply, not really.
While there are Powerflushing kits for hire and instructional videos available on the internet, it’s a risky and complicated job. A professional will make a Powerflush look easy, clean and safe but the reality is it’s a job that has the potential to get very messy. Specialist chemicals and equipment should only be handled by those trained to do so.
It’s also possible that carrying out the work on your heating system by yourself may invalidate any manufacturer’s warranty you have. A professional engineer will provide you with a certificate to prove that the Powerflush has been carried out. This is crucial if you need to evidence to a manufacturer or insurance provider that you have had all work carried out by a professional. Get quotes.
Finally, if the work is completed incorrectly it could cause more damage than you had to begin with.
NOTE: Installing a magnetic filter will not deliver the same benefits as a Powerflush procedure, but it can protect a system (that is still working well) from future sludge blockages.
How much will a Powerflush cost?
There are lots of factors that will affect the price of a Powerflush such as size and complexity of the heating system, not to mention any incidental troubleshooting that crops up. A Powerflush can cost anything between £300 to £1000+ but will also vary from engineer to engineer. Sometimes there will be additional costs like extra descaler chemicals or replacing the TRVs.
It is important that your central heating system is as efficient as it can be at all times and, although a Powerflush can be an expensive process, it can also save a lot of money over time in reduced heating bills.
Is a Powerflush always the solution?
In some particularly severe cases you may find it is actually more cost effective to replace the system than carry out a Powerflush. A Powerflush will not fix broken parts. If a blockage has caused a part to break that will add time and cost to the job to get the system back to optimum performance. A professional will be able to advise you if this is the case.
Below, is a brief guide to oil tanks. From price to size to oil regulations Abbey Boilers has the experience and the expertise to answer all your questions.
The tanks themselves:
Oil tanks can be installed inside, outside, or underground. Heating oil tanks are made of fabricated steel or plastic. Both of which can be integrally bunded (tank has two layers) or single skinned. Integrally bunded tanks are made of one tank inside another. The outside one housing the main tank's fittings and vents. This type of tank tends to offer better protection than the single skinned tanks because there is more room between the two layers to prevent oil leaking externally.
Most single skinned tanks need to have a bund built around them for protection. However, the necessity of this is dependent on where you live and the position of your tank. The bund is designed to hold up to 110% of your tank's contents in order to avoid spillages.
Checking your tank:
OFTEC (the Oil Firing Technical Association) recommend you look over your tank weekly, for any cracks, bulges or rust, which may allow fuel to leak and damage the surrounding environment.
Nonetheless, it is also important to get a qualified oil engineer to inspect your tank annually. Abbey Boilers inspects your oil tank as part of your annual service for just £72. It is also recommended to do this if you have recently moved into a new property with an oil tank.
Furthermore, steel tanks have an oil-resistant coating. this coating needs maintaining in order to prolong the life of the tank. It is best to check with the manufacturers to find out what kind of maintenance your tank needs besides its annual service.
Buying your oil tank:
It is essential for your safety and the safety of the wildlife and the environment that you get an oil tank that is OFTEC approved and fitted by an OFTEC registered engineer.
Abbey Boilers both supplies and fits oil tanks. Click here to contact us for more information about the type of tank you should have and where it should be placed in order to meet oil tank regulations.
Tanks vary in size depending on your requirements. They can hold between 1,000 to over 3,500 litres (although the larger tanks tend to be for commercial use). The prices of the tanks generally vary between £500 to £2000.
All about the oil:
The amount of oil you will need is hugely determined by different factors including:
- The size of your house
- How long and often you have your heating on
- How efficient your boiler is
The best way to ascertain how much oil you are using is to monitor the gauge on the tank over a period of time.
There is usually a gauge of some type on your heating oil tank. It could be on the tank, next to the tank or displayed remotely. However, sometimes this is not the case, you can buy a gauge for anything between £25 for a basic gauge, to over £80 for a digital remote one. It's crucial you monitor your oil levels so they do not get too low. Make sure you order before it becomes less than a quarter full, especially in winter. It's worth noting that you only need to fill your tank to around 80-90% of its capacity to avoid spillages.
Get in touch with Abbey Boilers to find out more about Oil tanks, Oil services and how to maintain your oil heating system.
Is there any point? Is it necessary? Is it worth the money? These are all common questions people ask themselves when considering getting a boiler service. Getting your boiler serviced is just one of those chores that people often put off or neglect and as a result, your boiler doesn’t get the attention it needs. But your boiler shouldn’t get overlooked and here are 7 reasons why.
1. Save money on your energy bills.
Part of a boiler service will include checking the boiler is running efficiently, which, in turn, can save you money over time.
Naturally, the model and age of a boiler are factors in its energy efficiency. However, maintaining a healthy boiler system, you are putting your boiler under less stress and so are using less energy to run, which reduces fuel costs.
2. You can catch your boiler problems early.
The adage, prevention is better, and cheaper, than cure can be applied to your boiler. Your boiler is in constant use all year round, not just in the winter. It is your boiler that allows you to have those nice warm showers. However, most people only notice a problem with their boiler in the winter when they are using it more frequently. By this time, the problem has often escalated to a more severe, and thus, more expensive problem.
3. A service is cheaper than replacing a boiler.
A service probably costs less than you think. At Abbey Boilers a service costs as little as £65.45, whereas a new boiler can run into the thousands. A boiler service is intended to keep your boiler running properly and to pick up on any minor issues. They ensure these small problems are picked up quickly before they grow into problems big enough to require a new boiler.
A well-maintained boiler should last longer than one that is not regularly services, so you are limiting the risk of prematurely needing a new boiler.
4. You can rest easy knowing your boiler is safe.
Getting a boiler service means checking your boiler is running safely. Around 4,000 people go to A&E for Carbon Monoxide poisoning every year because of leaking boilers. Carbon Monoxide poisoning is so dangerous because the symptoms are like those of common illness, including dizziness, headaches, and fatigue, so It can be hard to distinguish between the two.
Having your boiler serviced means you can relax knowing you and your family are safe from harmful fumes.
5. Keeping your warranty valid.
Most boilers only remain under their warranty if they are serviced annually. Most warranties and maintenance agreements require your boiler to be serviced every year for the above reasons. Failure to do so can result in your warranty being negated. This means that if your boiler does break down you won’t be covered, costing you a lot more money.
6. It can cut your carbon footprint.
Just like getting your boiler serviced can save you money, it can also help reduce your carbon footprint. Depending on its age, a serviced boiler will run at its optimum energy efficiency because it isn’t overcompensating for any problems the boiler may have. When a boiler is running at its peak efficiency it means it requires less energy, thus less fuel, saving both the planet and your bank balance.
7. For landlords and businesses, it is compulsory.
Every tenanted property and business must receive a gas safety certificate that needs to be renewed every year. The only way to receive the certificate is to have all the gas appliances on the property serviced properly by a gas safe engineer. This includes boilers but also other gas appliances such as gas stoves and fires. Abbey boilers offer Gas safety checks from just £65.45.
Has your boiler been serviced in the last 12 months?
To get in contact please click here.