As long as their central heating system works, most people don't worry about how they get hot water flowing through their home. However, when an issue arises, knowing the different types of heating systems, and how to best care for them, ensures you get your water flow back to normal as quickly as possible.
The key difference between the two is that combination boilers provide hot water and heat in a single unit. A traditional boiler has a separate cylinder for hot water and a cold water tank.
This means there is a slight difference in maintenance work, so make sure you know which central heating system you have. If you have a combination boiler, this guide informs you the best way to get rid of limescale from the appliance, ensuring your water flow is reliable.
Removing limescale from this style of boiler can be a complex process, and it's best to consult a professional plumber or heating engineer. However, here are some general steps to take to remove limescale, which commonly occurs when calcium and magnesium ions stick to pipes, from a combination boiler: You can also check out our post on how to prevent limescale in boilers.
Before starting, be sure to turn the boiler off.
Drain the water (hot and cold water) by turning off the water supply to the boiler and opening the drain valves. This flushes the limescale out of the system.
Use a limescale remover solution or a descaler to clean the heat exchanger. You do this by filling the solution into the boiler's system and circulating it through the heat exchanger. Leave the liquid in the heat exchanger for the recommended time, then flush the system with water to remove the solution.
Clean the boiler's internal components, such as the diverter valve and the pump, using a limescale remover solution or a descaler.
Flush it with hot water to remove any remaining limescale and descaler solution.
Once you have flushed the system, refill it with fresh cold water and turn the water supply back on.
Turn the power back on to the boiler and let it run for a few minutes to circulate the water through the system and ensure you have removed all traces of lime scale.
It's worth noting that some of the chemicals used to descale the boiler can be harmful if inhaled or ingested. Hence, it's essential to take proper safety precautions and follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. Also, if you are uncomfortable performing the descaling process, it is best to consult a professional for help.
The time it takes to descale this kind of boiler can vary depending on the severity of the limescale buildup and the method used to remove it. Some of the steps that take longer are: waiting for the descaler solution to work on the limescale and flushing the system correctly with hot water, and then cold water.
For example, using a chemical descaler solution can take 1 to 4 hours, depending on the product and the amount of limescale deposits. Once the solution has been circulated through the system, the boiler should be flushed with water for at least 30 minutes to an hour to remove any remaining descaler solution and calcium carbonate.
If the limescale buildup is not severe, the process may only take a few hours. However, the buildup may take several hours or even a day if the buildup is extensive. It's also important to note that if you don't descale appropriately, you might have to repeat it, which adds time to the overall process.
In any case, it's best to consult a professional plumber or heating engineer for a more accurate estimate of the time required to descale your combination boiler. They will have the knowledge, tools, and experience to ensure that the job is done quickly and efficiently.
Given the effective and ease of use of water softener products, it is natural that people want to know if they can use it on all central heating appliances, including a combination boiler. You'll be pleased to know you can use a water softener with this style of boiler, and it will descale the heat exchanger. This should help to lower your heating bills and delay the need for a new boiler anytime soon.
If you live in a hard water area, and you are concerned about the drinkable nature of tap water, it makes sense to add a water softener to your mains water process.
When looking for products to descale this type of boiler in the UK, choose products that are safe for use with your specific type of boiler and are suitable for central heating appliances in the UK. Here are a few popular options to consider:
Fernox Magnetic Scale Reducer: This product is an in-line scale reducer safe for all combi boilers. This product reduces calcium carbonate buildup and prolongs the life of your boiler.
Fernox limescale preventer and central heating protector: When used in the recommended quantity, this product does the job properly. Its an effective anti scale device, and can create soft water from hard in no time at all.
Sentinel X400 Scale Reducer: This product is a liquid descaler that is safe for use with all types of boilers. This process should protect the boiler and heating system from limescale and corrosion.
HG Professional Limescale Remover: This product is a descaling solution suitable for use with all types of combi boilers. This liquid removes limescale and other deposits from the heating system.
Magnetic Water Conditioner: This product is a magnetic filter which removes limescale from combi boilers. If you are looking for soft water all year round, no matter where you stay, this is the sort of product you can rely on.
Fernox F3 Cleaner: This option is a cleaner for central heating systems and boilers. It removes sludge and other debris from the system and helps remove calcium carbonate.
Plumbflex Corrosion inhibitor: This is the sort of corrosion inhibitor which provides any household with confidence about removing lime scale, preventing corrosion and prolonging the life of central heating systems.
Yes, it is possible to power flush this style of boiler. This is a fantastic way of removing debris, sludge and rust that permeates central heating appliances. By carrying out this flush, you improve the boiler's efficiency, and extend the lifespan of the central heating system.
This process works by connecting a strong pump unit to the central heating system (it can also connect across the tails of radiators). The pump flushes chemicals through the pipes, destroying limescale and removing sludge and rust. This process also prevents rust from reforming.
After this step, flush clean water through the system, removing all contaminated liquid.
It depends on the individual's comfort level and experience with descaling.
Descaling a combination boiler can be a complex process and requires using chemicals and tools, so it's crucial to have the knowledge, skills, and equipment to do it safely and effectively.
If you are comfortable with the process and have the necessary tools and chemicals, you can descale your boiler's water tank yourself. However, if you are not satisfied with the process or are not confident in your abilities, it's best to hire a professional cleaning company or a plumber to do it for you.
Professional cleaning companies or plumbers have the experience and equipment to descale your combination boiler safely and effectively. They are also able to troubleshoot any issues that may arise during the process, and they will also be able to advise on the best method to descale your specific boiler.
In any case, it's essential to consider the cost and the time involved in the descaling process and weigh it against the cost of hiring a professional cleaning company or a plumber. It's also important to remember that if the descaling process is not done correctly, it may need to be repeated, which would add to the overall cost.
Whether you are focused on reducing energy bills, making your water more palatable in a hard water area, or want to preserve important appliances like boilers, a coffee maker, your radiator system and everything part of your hot water circuit, help is available. You often don't need a new boiler, you just need to take better care of your sealed systems, and Plumb Guardian is here to assist you.
We offer plumbing services, tips and product recommendations that prevent limescale with negative effects. If left untreated, boilers and radiators can suffer with a limescale issue, but we are here to assist you, so contact us today.