Why should you use a Powerflush Pump?September 7, 2016
Keith MacBain, Director at Kamco Ltd, discusses why Plumbing and Heating Engineers should be using a Powerflush Pump to clean water and heating systems effectively and avoid costly component replacements.
Modern boilers have increased rapidly in efficiency over the last decade, a welcome characteristic for most household’s budgets.
Efficiency gains have come through more compact boilers, with smaller heat exchangers and waterways, but the downside is that these smaller waterways and heat exchangers require good quality, clean, water in the system.
When a new boiler is fitted to a heating system, boiler manufacturers stress that the heating system MUST be thoroughly cleaned and checked before the installation. This will remove the scale and corrosion debris found in most systems more than a few years old. Manufacturers know that failure to clean the system results in higher guarantee claims and maintenance requirements, and they now making extended guarantee cover dependent on rigorous cleaning of the system.
As detailed in BS7593 of the Code of Practice for treatment of water in domestic hot water central heating systems, the most effective way of cleaning heavily sludged systems is to power flush them. This can be done using a powerful cleansing chemical projected at high velocity through the system to mobilise sludge and debris and to force it out of the system to waste.
Plumbase Spares is well placed to see the nature of the problems when systems aren’t thoroughly cleaned, as components that most often need replacing are heat exchangers and diverter valves. Failure of these is a clue that all is not well, and simply replacing them is not the answer.
The solution is to clean the system properly, and many Plumbase Spares branches (Click here for full list of participating branches) can now hire out a fully equipped Kamco CF40 Evolution powerflush pump to heating engineers which enables them to restore systems to good condition. The pumps come with full instructions, although powerflush training sessions can be booked direct with Kamco.
Powerflush Pump: Frequently Asked Questions
Could a power flushing pump cause systems to leak?
It’s unlikely because the CF40 power flushing pump is a centrifugal type pump, with a maximum pressure of approximately 2 bar. It is the high flow rate of the pump which dislodges debris, and a high pressure is not needed for this. If a heating system cannot handle 2 bar pressure then there is something wrong – combi boiler systems often function at higher pressures than this.
Power flushing process will cure most circulation problems, but of course cannot undo the corrosion and gradual decay of heating system components that has led to the need to power flush the system.
How long does it take?
Naturally this will depend on the size and type of the heating system, but as a rough guide, a ten radiator system could take four hours, but during this time it is often possible to undertake other work on the system. Also as with every job, the more experience you have, the less time it takes.
Isn’t it enough to just fit a magnetic filter to the heating system on the return to the boiler?
Whilst installing a permanent filter is a good idea after first cleaning a system thoroughly, the filter can only remove debris from the water that is actually passing through it, invariably leaving debris elsewhere in the system to break loose at a later date. Most permanent filters have a limited capacity and the debris in many systems would overwhelm their capacity. Relying on the standard circulator pump to remove corrosion debris is a triumph of hope over experience as it can never be as effective as the much higher flow rate of a power flushing pump.
What happens to the debris? Where does it go?
When the high flow rate and reversible flow of the power flushing pump have done their work in loosening and dislodging corrosion debris, the power flushing pump is switched to ‘dumping’ mode, and fresh clean water is forced through the system to force contaminated water to waste, and replacing it with clean water.
What is the reversible flow mentioned above?
The CF40 Evolution has an instantaneous flow reversing device so that with a flick of a lever the water flow through a heating system is sent in the opposite direction. This creates turbulence and will reach and move debris which would be sheltered from water moving in the usual direction of flow.
Do I have to be trained to power flush a heating system?
When you hire a pump from Plumbase Spares you will be supplied with instructions, and you can prepare yourself with further information from the Kamco website.
If you have a good working knowledge of heating systems it is very straightforward to operate the powerflush pump, but if heating engineers want to understand in depth how to get systems really clean and efficient, then Kamco run training sessions twice a month. During these a power flush is carried out and engineers will not only learn what to do, but also what NOT to do, and learn many other tips and wrinkles.
Book training with Kamco here.