Frequently asked questions:
Do I need a power flush?
Depends on the level of rust in your system. If you have never had a power flush done, your system probably needs it. For reference: (Picture of sludged water)
The only real way to know if you need one done is to have a water sample tested. If you need a professional to have a look / give an opinion on your system and your water quality we offer a consultant visit.
Does power flushing systems work?
Yes they clean the system internally. This stops further damage and future breakdowns related to sludge.
What is "sludge flake" and how is it different from normal sludge?
Normal sludge is mud like and does not easily block parts of your system. Sludge flake is when normal sludge has been converted into flakes of various sizes. They are rigid and easily block parts on the system, causing shut downs. It is extremely hard to remove from a system and rarely gets removed by standard power flushing without other techniques. We consider flushing out sludge flake as a specialist procedure and not all our members will be willing to work on this problem, because the results are unpredictable and it is a lot more work than a standard power flush. Read more >>>
My boiler heat exchanger is blocked with sludge. Will power flushing my central heating system fix this?
It will depend greatly on where in the boiler the block is and the boiler layout. Some boiler makes are easy to flush clean, other cannot be flushed clean at all. Also read about "sludge flake" as it is commonly associated with blockages in the boiler and other places in the system.
I had a power flush done and it didn't work. What now?
There are 4 main possibilities:
- The power flush was not your only problem, in the system and there are part/s that needs to be replaced on your system as well. It is very common to need remedial work, as well.
- Sludge flake:
This is when the sludge in the system has been converted in flake like pieces. They are large and easily block parts, pumps, pumps, heat exchangers and radiator valves. Standard power flushing does NOT always deal with this problem and is unlikely to if the flakes are big enough. Read more here>>
- Your sludge problem is bigger than what a power flush can handle.
Power flushing has limits and will not clean all hardened sludge out of your system, if normal power flushing fails you should try powder flushing. Powder flushing is much more aggressive on hardened sludge and cleans much better than normal power flushing. Standard power flushing works well on sealed systems while powder flushing is designed for older systems like open vented and microbore (under sized pipework).
- The power flush was wrongfully advised by the plumber/person who advised it and you only needed a part/s replaced.
It all starts with the person who recommended a power flush. They are rarely experts in the field and often get it wrong, as they don't understand the limits, a power flush has as. It is a common misconception to think that all boiler engineers/gas engineers know about power flushing or has been trained or experienced in power flushing systems. Remember, having been "recommended a power flush" or “power flushing will be beneficial” does not mean "definitively needed a power flush" and "a power flush will work".
Will a power flush increase my central heating's efficiency?
Yes, the amount depends on on how much sludge it had in it before the flush.
How long does it take to do a power flush?
It depends greatly on how much sludge is in your system and system layout. Basic idea: Half a day for a small system and a full day for a large one.
Why is POWDER flushing more effective than power flushing on badly sludged up and old central heating systems?
Power flushing uses water cycling around the system at high flow rates, but water is frictionless and cannot dislodge hardened sludge of the inside walls of the system. POWDER flushing adds an abrasive powder or pellets to the water, while cycling through the system. The abrasive acts like sandpaper on the inside walls, scraping off even the most hardened sludge. It also cleans "sludge flake" much better than standard power flushing can. (Picture of a POWDER flush)
What is sludge?
Sludge is a cumulative name for rust and debris found in your central heating system water.
Does power flushing cause leaks?
Not that high a risk.
When do I power flush and when do I powder flush?
Power flushing a system is for when the sludge is light and loose in the system which normally means that the system is less than 10 years old (very rough guide and subject to system maintenance). For older systems, like open vented and microbore, the sludge would have hardened onto the internal surfaces. This process can limit the flow through the pipes down to a full block. This reduction of flow happens over many years and is not apparent until it all goes wrong. Powder flushing takes care of the hardened sludge which the chemicals used for power flushing will simply leave behind in the system, it is also extremely safe to use on metallic and non-metallic systems. An abrasive, in powder or pellet form, is used in the water when the central heating water is circulated with a powder flush machine. This "sands" the sludge down or knocks it off the internal walls, so that it can be removed. The abrasive powder slowly dissolves in the water and is finally removed by changing the water in the system, leaving it sludge and abrasive free.
Does power flushing fix leaks?
No, even though sludge often cause leaks.
Does my newly installed central heating systems need
to be power flushed?
The manufacturers of the boilers require the central heating system to be chemically cleaned, for your guarantee to be valid. You will be silly not to flush it out properly.
Who demands that systems should be power flushed and
- Most boiler insurance schemes will want your system power flushed as standard.
- Manufacturers of your boiler, before they do any work.
- Plumbers that can see it has not been done on your system.
Why? Most central heating problems relate directly or indirectly to sludge or lime scale in your system. Eliminating that would make problems easier to diagnose and prevent future problems from occurring and limiting repetitive future callouts and breakdowns.
If a magnet stick to my central heating pipes; Do I need a power flush?
Copper pipes are non-magnetic while sludge on the other hand is magnetic. If a magnet sticks to the copper pipes in your system, it is being attracted by the metallic sludge inside the pipes. Yes, you will need a power flush or powder flush. Be careful, some of the solders used are magnetic so don't test near a joint.
Can't I just drain the system down and refill it instead of power flushing it?
If you have a real sludge problem "NO". Sludge is metallic rust and the bits causing problems are large clumps that are heavy. Draining a system down will only get rid of the finest lightest sludge; the real problem will be left behind. Just because the water runs clean does not mean all the sludge is out. Some plumbers will do a chemical flush; they add a chemical, days before draining the system down. It doesn't work because there is no increase in the water's flow rate and draining happens through just one flow path, when there are many flow paths in the system. It will help a little if the problem is small but 90% of the time, you are wasting time and money. Rather get it a power flush or a powder flush done from the start.