How To: Choose the Right Central Heating Cleaning Chemical

I'm not sure which of Sentinel's cleaners is appropriate for the situation at hand

About the problem

You’ve arrived at your client’s property and some quick checks have made it evident that their central heating system is in need of a clean. Perhaps you have identified radiator cold spots and boiler noise, a jammed valve or a noisy pump. You have explained to your customer the benefits of central heating cleaning, these including improved performance, increased energy savings, and lengthened system life.

Legislation and best practices recognise that in order to effectively clean a system, a chemical cleanser ought to be used, but it is important to ensure that you choose a suitable cleaner and don’t simply pluck one off the shelf at your local merchant. To achieve the best results for the system and for your customer, and to minimise callbacks, a little light research is necessary.

The kind of debris and the amount of it will depend on the type of system, its age, and how well it has been maintained previously.

The solution

The system I’m dealing with is new

Sentinel X300 Cleaner for New Systems

In this scenario, your customer may struggle to understand how the system could possibly need cleaning. New systems can easily succumb to debris during and after installation as a result of carelessness in the manufacture and installation processes. 

A few examples of the kind of debris that can be found in new systems include copper swarf, flux residues, casting sands and rust. Other contaminants can include greases and stamping oils used in the manufacturing process, sometimes applied excessively. When introduced into a central heating system, these materials can cause problems such as corrosion.

So why X300 Cleaner for New Systems?

X300 Cleaner for New Systems is designed to target excess flux residues, greases, and oils in addition to installation debris and sludge. Not only this, but X300 passivates the metal surfaces and helps to prevent copper deposition, a common cause of pinhole corrosion in radiators. Ideally, the product should be added at the first filling of the system. The water should then be circulated at normal operating temperatures for 2 hours before being flushed out. If you are using cold water, leave to circulate for 24 hours. Powerflushing is not necessary when using this product.

The system I’m dealing with is not new, but is less than 6 months old

Sentinel X300 Cleaner for New Systems

If a system has not been cleaned prior to use, all of the aforementioned issues for new systems will be present, with the installation debris causing issues and damage to the system.

So why X300 Cleaner for New Systems for systems less than 6 months old?

As for new systems, X300 Cleaner for New Systems is designed to target installation and manufacture debris and contaminants. Once cleaned, it will passivate the metal surfaces and prevent copper deposition.

In this scenario, the system may benefit from a manual flush using with X300.

The system I’m dealing with is older than 6 months

With older systems, the specific problem which you are trying to address will dictate what cleaning chemical will yield the results you desire.

Sentinel X400 High Performance Cleaner

Why X400 High Performance Cleaner for older systems?

If you are tackling circulation problems, identifiable as cold spots in radiators, most often caused by sludge build-up. The formation of this sludge is almost impossible to completely prevent and it often settles in low flow areas of the system.

X400 High Performance Cleaner is the best central heating cleaner for this job as it breaks up, lifts and suspends this sludge, then allowing it to be flushed out of the system. In order to do this, it should be circulated, ideally at normal operating temperature, with all valves open and the pump set to maximum flow for a minimum period of 2 hours or until satisfactory performance is restored. In badly fouled systems, a period of circulation of approximately 3-4 weeks is recommended. This product can be used in conjunction with a powerflushing machine such as the Sentinel JetFlush 4 to improve cleaning effectiveness and shorten cleaning time.

Sentinel X800 Fast Acting Cleaner

Why X800 Fast Acting Cleaner for older systems?

Sometimes a more general clean is required, aimed at removing iron oxide and limescale deposits from pipework, heat exchangers and radiators. X800 Fast Acting Cleaner is ideal for these purposes, designed for use in conjunction with powerflushing equipment, but also proving a highly effective cleaner when manually flushed, too. It is effective both hot and cold.

When might I need Deposit Remover?

If the deposits you are dealing with are proving to be particularly stubborn, not remedied by the application of the aforementioned cleaners, a more potent product may provide the solution. Sentinel Deposit Remover is a mildly acidic formula designed to dissolve obstinate magnetite and scale deposits.

Products related to this guide: