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The right combination

Francine Wickham looks at how chemical water treatments and in-line filters work hand-in-hand to provide the ultimate protection for commercial heating systems
All commercial heating systems should undergo regular maintenance checks to ensure they are working effectively and running efficiently to help reduce unnecessary carbon emissions and maximise the system's energy rating.

Heating systems will deteriorate over time if left untreated - this is due to the damaging effects of sludge and corrosion, which occurs when water comes into contact with metal in mixed metal central heating systems.

Sludge and corrosion can lead to blocked radiators and a boiler that has to work much harder to heat a room, which results in excessive fuel usage and increased carbon emissions.

Any contaminants circulating in the system also affect the life of the boiler(s) - causing internal damage and the boiler is much more likely to require repair or early replacement.

Adhering to best practice therefore makes sense, as taking the necessary steps to protect a system means it not only works to optimum efficiency but for a longer time period.

When you consider that owners and facilities managers responsible for commercial buildings are conscious of energy consumption and maintenance costs - the benefits of combining chemical water treatment with a central heating system filter to ensure maximum system efficiency is likely to be of interest.

System filters are designed to provide long-term protection of the boiler, to ensure the heat exchanger is not damaged by any system contaminants.

The Fernox TF1 Total Filter, for example uses hydrocyclonic and magnetic action to remove and contain magnetic and non-magnetic contaminants from central heating systems, providing a robust approach to system protection.

With multiple orientation capability enabled by the unique inlet/outlet port design, a TF1 filter can be installed at 45 degrees if headroom clearance is limited and can be fitted directly onto 22mm vertical or horizontal pipework.

It can also be cleaned thoroughly and quickly, without dismantling the unit. The TF1 filter range has a maximum flow rate of 50L/min, a maximum temperature of 125°C and a maximum working pressure of 3bar.

With the revisions to Part L of the Building Regulations coming into play later this year, it is highly likely that the use of central heating system filters will be included as part of the regulations.

This means that any installers who may not have considered filter technology before - may now want to review what is available on the market ahead of the revisions.

However, it is important to remember a system filter is not designed to work in isolation, no matter how well it performs. Filters are only capable of dealing with the symptoms of a dirty and sludged system (debris).

High quality chemical water treatments are designed to treat and combat the root cause - preventing corrosion from taking place in the first instance, thereby maintaining energy efficiency, as well as offering long-term protection for the whole system.Once the correct filter and water treatment chemicals have been selected the first step towards correcting a heavily sludged system is to ensure it is thoroughly cleaned - ideally by powerflushing the system using a chemical cleaner such as Fernox F3 or F5, which will remove the majority of sludge and debris quickly and effectively.

Once a system is clean, it needs to be protected with an inhibitor such as Fernox Protector F1 to help prevent further corrosion from taking place.This is a vital stage as tests have shown that without appropriate treatment - a system can lose over 6% efficiency in just three weeks.

The Carbon Trust has independently assessed real-system test data to determine the energy saving benefits of using Fernox Protector F1 and Fernox Cleaner F3 in combination.

Results concluded that if a central heating system is treated using Fernox Protector F1, after cleaning with Fernox Cleaner F3, system efficiency can be restored and maintained resulting in a gas saving of up to 15% every time the room is heated.

Furthermore, boiler manufacturers have acknowledged the need to protect boilers by taking a firm position on chemical water treatment.

Warranty repairs can be affected if boiler or system failure has been caused or exacerbated by sludge and scale in the system.

This is why it is crucial that all contractors or installers complete the warranty label that is provided with Fernox inhibitors to confirm that the correct procedure has been followed.

Combining filter technology and chemical water treatments makes good sense, as it offers a robust and professional approach to maintaining system longevity and efficiency.

By taking a proactive approach to system maintenance and taking
advantage of all the latest technologies on offer commercial systems can be protected longer term, helping to avoid any unnecessary and unwanted costs.

// The author is global marketing director for Fernox //
14 August 2013

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