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Building Products October 2017

NEW-BUILD AND SOCIAL HOUSING of ‘clean, protect, maintain’ and the use of appropriate, high quality and boiler manufacturerendorsed products. In contrast, Part L calls for systems to be properly cleaned and flushed before the addition of a chemical inhibitor to control corrosion and limescale, but maintenance (the critical process of checking water quality on a regular basis to ensure on-going protection) is missed out. Part L is also open to interpretation to some extent; for example, stipulating that inhibitors should meet the manufacturer’s specification ‘or other appropriate standard’. The three-step best practice system begins with cleaning, which is the process of removing contaminants from circulating water and the preparation of a system for inhibitor addition. Protection is the dosing of a sufficient amount of inhibitor into a system to prevent corrosion and limescale. Maintenance involves regular testing of system water using a system check kit. These check kits form part of water treatment analysis services which provide rapid confirmation to contractors and authorities that a central heating system has been correctly cleaned and then adequately protected with inhibitor. The kits can also be used during the commissioning of a new or older system following the replacement of any components. When engaging with system check services, housing associations would be wise to select those 18 BUILDING PRODUCTS | OCTOBER 2017 which use independent laboratories for water analysis in order to ensure truly accurate results. Other exceptional features worth looking out for include ‘smart’ online result monitoring - which, for example, provide suggestions for contractor performance improvement - and bulk uploading for speed and efficiency. Each stage of best practice water treatment has to be undertaken properly for lifetime protection to be achieved. For example, system cleaning forms the foundation of system protection – without proper cleaning, complete protection is impossible. Sadly, research suggests that many systems fail at this first step, with more than 50% of systems over five years old and more than a third of systems under five years old suffering from dirty water. Improper system cleaning is usually the result of the wrong type of chemical cleaner being used and/or a lack of testing circulating water to ensure the satisfactory removal of contaminants from system water. This can be overcome easily by insisting that contractors use an appropriate cleaning chemical (for example, a new system cleaner for those under six months old, or a fast acting cleaner for use with power flushing on older systems) and check system water post-cleaning. Following a best practice clean, inhibitor should be added to a system and a quick test kit used to ensure sufficient concentration. A filter <<< Continued from page 17 can also be added as extra insurance against residual corrosion debris. Once the system is fully protected, maintenance is all that is left in order to ensure lifetime system protection. As mentioned, maintenance involves regular water analysis – at annual boiler services, for example - followed by corrective action (such as topping up inhibitor levels). Maintenance is necessary because inhibitor concentration will drop in a heating system if it is partially or fully drained and replenished with mains water (which might happen during a radiator replacement or home redecoration, for example) or if the system is suffering with oxygen ingress due to poor system design, leaks, and so on. Housing associations that specify best practice water treatment, a method which includes the critical process of water treatment maintenance, have much to gain. Long term heating system protection means significantly reduced breakdowns as well as fewer premature repairs and parts replacements, delivering huge savings on contractor call-out charges, remedial works, and temporary heating and hot water solutions. Furthermore, tenants are happier as they are free from the hassles of breakdowns, enjoy better performing heating systems, and will save money on heating bills. Daniel Cheung is UK Trade Marketing Manager at Sentinel


Building Products October 2017
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