Ready for Service

An annual service is the ideal time to introduce water treatment services, but the key to success is preparation. Colin Yearp at Adey looks at the best way to approach customers, and the tools to bring along to ensure success.

When it comes to energy savings, a replacement boiler may not be the best way to cut down on fuel bills – as desirable as it might be. If the new appliance is left unprotected with poor water quality running through the system, its performance is likely to suffer, especially if it’s fitted to an old, untreated system.

As homeowners look to save money, it may be a tempting option for them to cut corners to reduce the cost of any heating maintenance work in their home. However, as an industry, we need to raise awareness of how improving the efficiency of existing heating systems isn’t just about installing high-efficiency boilers and controls: it’s about seeing the whole heating system.

Cutting out the vitals, such as fully flushing the heating system, can actually have a detrimental impact on the performance and efficiency of the heating system, and can cost customers more in the long run.

Failing to clean, flush and inhibit a system adequately during a service could mean that the boiler may break down in a matter of weeks.

As an industry, we should actively promote the importance of testing water quality, flushing the system, and adding water treatment before fitting a new boiler.

ADEY’s MagnaCleanse process is a recognised flushing methodology that can capture almost all magnetite on the first pass due to the dual power of the Rapid Flush Filter. Using the pressure of the boiler flow instead of the force of water pressure though a power flush means there is less risk of damage to older systems.

If you have a good working knowledge of heating systems, the process is very straightforward. But if you’d like to understand in-depth how to get systems really clean and efficient, ADEY runs regular training programmes. During these, a system flush is carried out and engineers can not only learn what to do, but also what not to do, as well as many other tips and tricks.

Homeowners might be hesitant about spending extra money on water treatment and filters when their annual service rolls around, but when the energy savings and the positive effect on their boiler’s life expectancy are explained, they should see that it’s worth the investment. Gas engineers are best placed to ask the right questions during a service visit, as the homeowner may not see the significance of certain procedures, such as venting their system regularly; keeping an eye on their boiler pressure; bleeding their radiators (and checking for cold spots); ensuring the boiler is well ventilated; and ultimately, what effect a lack of servicing may have on the warranty of their appliance.

By offering a free rapid water test, gas engineers can help their customers to visualise the lack of inhibitor protecting the heating system, and open the conversation to how they can offer additional services such as chemical treatments, so they can get the most out of their service visit.

To really put things into perspective, it’s worth using analogies: for example, we wouldn’t drive a car without its annual MOT, so why not give your heating system a full check-up? Or you could ask whether their boiler is making kettling noises or whether there are cold spots in their radiators, and explain why these are red flags.

In an industry where reputation is everything, not adequately cleaning a system during a service could even damage your reputation, in the event of a breakdown. Fully flushing the central heating system should be common practice for every service visit.

Convincing customers to follow best practice is always going to be a challenge, but with more resources from industry bodies and ongoing efforts from gas engineers, we hope that more people will be persuaded to make the right choice.

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