High efficiency, high risk: Introducing condensing boiler protection

Non-condensing, low efficiency boilers are rapidly being phased out on a global scale as part of the drive to reduce energy usage, associated costs and emissions. This is a welcome change considering the benefits that condensing boilers have to offer – such as higher efficiency, lower energy bills, modern design and compact size – but it is also a significant change for the US heating market, which historically has been dominated by less efficient (energy rating Bands D-G) non-condensing boilers. Wholesalers and installers will now not only need training in selling and fitting high efficiency condensing boilers, they will also need to learn about protecting them.


With higher efficiency comes more sensitive components

In order to deliver high efficiencies, modern condensing boilers are necessarily constructed very differently to low efficiency, older technology boilers (such as cast iron boilers). For example, the metals used in condensing boilers offer significantly higher efficiency levels but have smaller voids , higher heat flux density and require greater protection from untreated water, while circulator pumps are now modulating dependent on system temperature, more compact, and have fine tolerances between shaft and bearings.


These changes, while increasing energy efficiency, mean that condensing boilers are less tolerant of untreated mains water compared with traditional boilers. Without treatment of the circulating system water, corrosion and limescale buildup (the latter being a problem where the system is filled with  hard water) are inevitable.


Corrosion and limescale are likely to give rise to a number of costly and inconvenient problems in high efficiency condensing boilers and other system components such as ECM (Electronically Commutated Motor) pump technologies, from premature breakdown and parts replacement, reduced lifespan, and increased energy consumption and emissions, poor system performance, cold spots in radiators, excessive noise, and leaks. In fact, testing and research carried out by a major boiler manufacturer (in a market where condensing boilers have been mandatory for a number of years) found that approximately 87% of boiler call-outs are to systems without correct water treatment.


Preventing problems in systems with high efficiency condensing boilers


Water treatment helps to prevent corrosion and limescale and their associated problems, and is considered best practice by leading international heating industry bodies and its application is incorporated into many building regulations and quality standards. Importantly for wholesalers, installers and householders, water treatment is also part of the warranty terms and conditions of most leading boiler manufacturers. 


For more than 30 years Sentinel has partnered with leading boiler manufacturers internationally to provide water treatment solutions which deliver lifetime boiler and system protection across both domestic and commercial markets. The company’s high quality water treatment products, which are endorsed by leading boiler manufacturers across the globe, help to preserve the energy ratings of high efficiency heating and hot water systems and components, reduce energy bills and CO2 emissions, meet boiler warranty conditions, prevent breakdown and repairs, and increase system longevity. 


Ultimately, heating systems where high efficiency condensing boilers are installed should be cleaned, protected and maintained for best practice. In the interest of simplifying water treatment in order to successfully introduce the practice in markets new to condensing technology, wholesalers and installers should focus on delivering Sentinel water treatment products that are designed to protect high efficiency condensing boilers and high value components from corrosion and limescale. Thankfully this can be easily achieved with the award-winning, industry-leading Sentinel range of products.


Protect it with Sentinel X100 Inhibitor

Sentinel X100 Inhibitor is a heavy-duty inhibitor that provides protection for clean central heating systems against limescale and corrosion. Featuring a unique Anti-Corrosion Technology and a pH neutral formulation, Sentinel X100 Inhibitor is suitable for all system metals. It is specifically designed to protect modern, high efficiency condensing boilers and other  components and will extend the life of the system, ensuring maximum efficiency and minimising fuel usage. Importantly for installers, Sentinel X100 Inhibitor is easy and quick to dose.

Sentinel products are available from all premium wholesalers alongside system component manufacturer’s products, such as boilers, radiators, controls and pipework.


Support for OEMS, wholesaler and installers


Sentinel works closely with leading boiler manufacturers to support system protection messages. The company can provide  a range of support material, such as literature, “HOW TO…” videos and point of sale materials and have developed training on and offline modules for system component manufacturers and installers. 


In the meantime, to discuss boiler protection or raise any questions, please contact Gary Roebuck, Business Development Director.