Who are Sentinel?
Originally launched by Grace Dearborn as a subsidiary of the multinational conglomerate GE, Sentinel was established in 1988. A few changes of ownership and name led them to 2005 and independent operation. As of 2021, Sentinel is owned by Aalberts N.V., and sits in the hydronic flow control cluster – more on that later!
The company’s goal was then as it is now, to clean, protect and maintain heating systems – this is at the core of the business. From the original range, all of the products that were launched in 1988 are still available, a testament to the quality, reliability and trust placed in Sentinel’s products by stakeholders at all levels – whether it be manufacturing partners, distribution and merchant partners or end-user customers, heating professionals or competent homeowners, they can all benefit from Sentinel and the products they provide.
Since those early days, the business has gone from strength to strength and undergone significant growth, leading Sentinel to become an international business in their own right. Whilst headquartered in Daresbury near Warrington, in the north-west of England, they also have offices in Paris and Cologne, for conducting their worldwide affairs.
Full sales teams operate in the UK and France, with extended sales teams across Italy and Germany. For those countries where direct employees are not present, the company work with distribution or OEM partners, in order to give excellent penetration and links throughout the market.
Sentinel products are available in more than 25 markets across the world – with a truly global footprint. The flagship X100 Inhibitor is available across the world and can be found in millions of systems. In many of the markets in which Sentinel operate in, X100 is THE market-leading inhibitor product, a real-life representation of how widely known and trusted the brand and reputation is, as quality is assured when buying Sentinel.
Since 2021, Sentinel have been part of the Aalberts group and sit within the ‘hydronic flow control’ cluster of the business. Under this ownership, they sit amongst a portfolio of businesses who are all experts in the field, with the goal of engineering seamless energy-efficient hydronic systems. Other companies within the ownership group include renowned industry brands like Flamco and Pegler.
What do Sentinel do and how do they do it?
It was mentioned earlier that Sentinel clean, protect and maintain heating systems – this is true. But how exactly do they do that? Read on and discover…
The product range has grown since 1988, naturally – now operating in a number of sectors, covering domestic and commercial heating, cooling and hot water systems, offering additive and physical products. Different technologies are available, from water conditioning to softening and the product range encompasses modern and sustainable renewable energy technologies such as heat pump systems, both air source and ground source, as well as solar thermal installations.
All of Sentinel’s products are underpinned by the best practice process of clean, protect and maintain. It sounds like a simple system, and it is!
All of the products, regardless of system or application, fit into the categorisation. Cleaners clean, inhibitors and filters protect, maintenance is done with test kits and other products to ensure ongoing protection – it’s that simple! Using this process, Sentinel can provide lifetime protection to your heating system.
Since inception, way back in 1988, Sentinel have championed a best practice approach to water treatment; always advising that best practice should be followed and adhered to, using the available and contemporary technology – they pioneered powerflushing with the JetFlush machine, which has evolved over the years to the current, 5th generation JetFlush Rapid and have embraced filter technology – Sentinel are rightly proud of their Vortex filters, which lead the way in technology and design for magnetic central heating system filters.
Recently, Sentinel have expressed their happiness in seeing that the current UK guidelines on water treatment have been updated to reflect the best practice approach that they advocate. The British Standard guideline that deals with water treatment, known as BS 7395, gives a clear nod to their ‘Clean, Protect and Maintain’ stance. Earlier this year, the section of the Building Regulation that deals with the same, Part L, incorporated BS 7593 into its text, elevating the importance of water treatment.
The importance of water treatment
How important is water treatment, you may wonder? Put simply, all major boiler manufacturers and may other industry OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) and partners recommend using water treatment at install and service. What’s more is that all of these also endorse Sentinel and use of their products in systems to protect their components! If you have a look in their boiler manuals, you’ll see the company’s name and products listed, proudly sitting there, waiting for heating professionals to take the advice and use their products, knowing they will do the job and protect water quality.
This is a privileged position that Sentinel occupy, one that has been earned through trust built up over many years. The quality and reliability of Sentinel products is once again emphasised by their inclusion in these manufacturers’ instruction and once again, they are very proud of these endorsements.
Sentinel firmly believe that heating systems are undervalued as a household asset and people need to know the benefits of treating systems. One of the simplest arguments comes down to cost. By using a simple, relatively inexpensive product like Sentinel X100 Inhibitor and the delicate components in a central heating system, for example, a pump which can easily become damaged or blocked, are protected. The alternative is an extremely costly repair or replacement, which in the current climate is not ideal for anyone.
Following on from this, it is worth noting that using Sentinel products, and in particular cleaning, protecting and maintaining a system, is going to help with efficiency, saving energy, reduce energy consumption and ultimately reduce bills…
Independent research has proven that correctly treating (cleaning and protecting) a system with Sentinel additives, and in particular the addition of Sentinel X100 Inhibitor, can typically improve energy efficiency and therefore reduce energy bills by up to 15%.
In the current climate, as all of us face an unprecedented cost of living and energy crisis, a 15% saving can make a significant difference to your bank balance. In real terms, using the energy price cap data, savings could be upwards of £500 per year, thanks to a correctly treated heating system.
How do Sentinel’s products save energy? Things like corrosion, limescale and sludge build-up in a system will impair heat transfer and reduce the energy efficiency of a system. Inevitably, there is a human reaction to a poorly performing heating system – most of the time, it is to turn the thermostat up. This means that a system has to work harder to get to the required comfort level. By treating using Sentinel and crucially protecting using X100 Inhibitor, systems run smoothly and efficiently, which in turn means heating systems do not have to work as hard to reach the desired temperature – saving energy!
Prevention is better than cure, the saying goes. But corrosion, limescale and sludge are not always prevented. Sometimes they are acting in the background and you only find out when things come to a head. Not everyone has their boiler serviced every year, not everyone is aware of the problems that can be lurking in a system. Fortunately for you, Sentinel products, and in particular their cleaning products, can be used reactively, to restore system effectiveness, regardless of how badly fouled a system is. Then your system is protected and you can reap the benefits going forward.
The Sentinel product range
Let’s take a look at the Sentinel product range in detail…
The original range consisted of X100 Inhibitor, X200 Noise Reducer, X300 New System Cleaner, X400 Cleaner and X500 Inhibited Antifreeze. Guess what? All of these products are still available now! To say they have stood the test of time is an understatement. Day in, day out, time and time again, heating professionals turn to, and come back to Sentinel’s products.
Let’s imagine you became a heating engineer in 1988. If you’ve been working since then, almost 35 years, you will have been accompanied by Sentinel all the way. The products are staples of the heating industry, backed up by quality and the trust of engineers for more than 3 decades.
Since then, Sentinel have added X800 to our range and these days, it’s the biggest-selling central heating system cleaner in the UK! The ability to clean in only 1 hour was a gamechanger, and it remains so to this day. The original fast acting cleaner still leads the pack.
Many people are surprised to discover, especially when they see the results, that X800 is non-acidic and pH neutral. Sentinel love to point out that actually, this is normal is in line with all of their additive products! Sentinel products are kind to system metals and will not harm components in systems.
Moving with the times saw Sentinel introduce products for renewable technologies. Whether heat pump or solar thermal systems, they have products that can be used, with the best practice process still in action – to help you clean, protect and maintain a renewable system just like any other heating system.
Even more recently, system filters were introduced to the product range. After development, Sentinel now supply a range called Vortex, consisting of a filter for any job type and system size:
- Vortex250 – A truly ultra-compact filter, for fitting even in the tightest spaces with a revolutionary service process
- Vortex300 – Quick install and simple service are the order of the day for this compact yet powerful filter, with full isolation
- Vortex500 – The largest option, which is equally adept at protecting heat pump systems too
Whatever the job, size, type or technology, Sentinel have a solution that can help achieve your aims.
Their products are perfect at various points of use, whether installation of a new boiler or system, annual service or ongoing testing. If you are powerflushing a system or looking to restore system effectiveness, they have products for that. Got a pinhole leak? Give Sentinel Leak Sealer a try! Need to make sure your underfloor heating system stays free from fungus and bacteria? That’ll be X700! Add Sentinel to your boiler package today with WarmZilla.