It’s a no brainer that healthy living lengthens your life, especially if you suffer from an ailment – like thrombosis or varicose veins – that could develop into a life threatening condition. So just as you’d take your doctor’s advice on treatment and medication, it makes sense to follow your plumber’s advice on servicing and maintaining your central heating system.
Think I’m over-dramatising the situation? Well think about this: the pump and pipes of your central heating system function in much the same way as your heart and veins. Corrosion and silting up of your domestic pipework can put a terminal strain on your heating pump as surely as a blood clot can give you a heart attack!
Want the gruesome details? Corrosion in pipework – especially in mild steel radiators that are particularly vulnerable to water acidity – causes a build-up of iron oxide sludge. This filters through to the heat pump, which grinds in up into a sticky paste that causes blockages in the system, resulting in cold spots and, eventually, complete seizure of the heat pump itself.
As in the human body, the condition can develop virtually unnoticed and the strike unexpectedly. But treated early enough the prognosis is good. The first priority is a power flushing of the system. (We’re talking about the heating system here, by the way, although fasting and taking plenty of liquids might be good for anyone who needs a detox!)
And having flushed the system (something that we at Harpers do as standard after every new central heating installation) the next objective is to prevent subsequent build up or break down. If you’re in danger of developing a blood clot your doctor might put you on Warfarin or some other blood thinner. The equivalent in plumbing terms is what is called an inhibitor.
There are various different types of inhibitor that can be used according to the hardness or acidity of your water supply, but essentially they are chemicals that coat and protect the inside of your pipework to prevent corrosion. They’re also designed to keep water acidity at an optimum level to prevent the build-up of lime scale.
In short they help ensure that nothing flakes off or clings on to your pipework, keeping your tubes clean, clear and healthy! Wear and tear will take its toll of course, and a regular yearly maintenance and top up of inhibitors is recommended to ensure your system is running at maximum efficiency. That in turn adds up to welcome fuel savings, and provides the best insurance against breakdown.
But as any doctor will tell you, prevention is better than cure!