Before we go into detail about the different types of system cleansing available for your boiler and heating system, it might be a good start to explain what a system flush is.
It is recommended that you have a system flush during a boiler installation to flush out any built-up dirt and rust in the pipework and radiators left behind from the old boiler.
Your Gas Safe engineer will be able to access your system and perform this fairly simply.
If you buy a new or replacement boiler from WarmZilla, a system flush will be performed with every installation. We also add inhibitor at the end of your boiler installation to keep the system coated to reduce corrosion, limiting the amount of debris and rust that builds up.
If you don’t have a system flush when necessary, the water in your boiler could eventually be contaminated with rust and what professionals refer to as ‘sludge’, which is a build-up of debris and dirt.
Depending on your current boiler, you may only need to have a system flush once every 5 or 6 years. If you have a copper heat exchanger fitted, this is more durable and resistant, compared to one made from stainless steel.
If you are unsure if you need your boiler and heating system flushed, seek further advice from an engineer.
What's the difference between a Powerflush, a Chemical flush and a MagnaCleanse?
The difference between a Powerflush, Chemical Flush, and a MagnaCleanse is that the powerflush is a concoction of chemicals that is passed through your pipework at very high pressure, to get rid of any debris or build-up that may have been caused by the water circulating the heating system.
A Chemical flush is like its younger brother. Unlike the Powerflush, a Chemical cleanse does not use so much pressure and instead, circulates the descaling chemicals through the heating system using natural water and gravity.
A MagnaCleanse on the other hand is a high-tech cleansing method that is used to give your central heating system a thorough clean, working to remove even the most stubborn residues and magnetites.
Getting your system cleansed may sound like a great idea. However, unless you notice cold patches on your radiators (when they’re turned on), then the chances are you don’t need one.
I know that’s a lot to take in. So let’s break it down.
What’s a system cleanse?
On average, 20% of boilers break down every year because of a well-known cause (no, it’s not age!) – we’re talking central heating sludge! It’s really important to keep on top of regular boiler maintenance to keep your boiler running smoothly.
If your heating system isn’t maintained as well as it should be, and a cleanse/ flush isn’t carried out when it’s needed, the water in the boiler will eventually be contaminated with rust (or to get technical for a moment, iron oxide). The dirt and rust combine to make a gooey liquid that goes through the central heating components. This can result in blockages in pipes and radiators and eventually it may block important components such as the boiler’s heat exchanger which can be expensive to fix. Think of central heating sludge as a bit like your heating system having high cholesterol!
A system cleanse will help remove the internal build up and sludge, so your boiler will continue to work well and heat your home effectively. Without the right type of flush, you could end up with an ineffective heating system or even worse, no heating system at all!
How often does my boiler need to have a system cleanse?
It depends on your current boiler brand and how well it’s been maintained.
On average, you may need to do a system cleanse every 5 years.
If you’re unsure or need further advice the team are here to help. Just send us a message on our live chat or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How much will a system cleanse cost?
The cost of a system cleanse will depend on your location, type of home and system. On average, a heating engineer will be able to do a system cleanse for £150-300. Ideally, a system cleanse will be done before fitting a new boiler or if you’re having issues with your current boiler i.e. blockages.
What is a Chemical Flush?
As mentioned, unlike a Powerflush, a Chemical flush doesn’t require as much power and is essentially a more basic cleaning method. This method uses natural water flow and gravity to pass through the chemical descaler used to remove the debris from the pipework.
If you do need a system cleanse, this may be a better method to consider, as it is more gentle.
Chemical flush - How does it work?
Once the chemicals are inserted into the pipework, the chemicals are then left to circulate throughout the system using natural water flow, removing the debris, sludge and rust built up over time. After a while, the system is then flushed, and new, clean water replaces the old. It is common that a rust inhibitor is also added to the water during the Chemical Flush to help protect your boiler and metallic components from rust in the future.
Once this process is completed, your engineer will be able to test the boiler and the heating system in front of you to reassure you that everything is working just fine. They should also be able to identify and point out exactly where the blockage was and offer aftercare advice if necessary.
Depending on the age of your boiler, the money you will spend doing this, may not be worth it. It may be better to put the money towards a new boiler from WarmZilla. If your boiler is over ten years old, it may be time for a newbie.
A system cleanse will be carried out by your Gas Safe engineer during the installation of your new boiler.
WarmZilla new boiler prices start from £1489 inc. VAT and there are boiler finance options available if you’d prefer to pay for your boiler monthly. This price is based on a Vokera boiler with a 5-year guarantee, system filter, chemical flush, smart thermostat, and installation. Ideal boiler prices start from £1549, and Worcester Bosch boiler prices start from £1649.
What is a MagnaCleanse?
The Magnacleanse is a high-tech cleansing method. This method is well known for its removal of magnetites (debris) and stubborn residue in as little as 20 seconds. However, it is much more expensive, we’re talking between £300-£600 depending on the number of radiators you have in your home and once installation costs are covered. Again, unless you notice signs of a blockage in your radiator, such as a cold patch, you don’t need it.
There is a magnetic filter that can be fitted to your pipework, called the Magna Clean. This can be installed on your existing pipework, or you can ask your engineer to install it when getting a new or replacement boiler. This can be fitted to protect you from a buildup of debris, which could result in your heating system becoming inefficient.
Can I have a MagnaClean installed on my existing boiler?
If you feel you need this, technically speaking, this magnetic filter can be installed anywhere along the pipework of your heating system. However, it is most commonly fitted by engineers between the last radiator and your boiler. This is the best place to install it as the water passing through has been circulated throughout the entire system by this point.
You don’t need a brand new boiler to have this installed either. It can fit onto your existing pipes. However, if you are thinking of having a new or replacement boiler, this may be the best time to invest in a magnetic filter as you can discuss installation with your engineer. WarmZilla include a brand new system filter with every new boiler we install, so your boiler is protected from the start.
How much does a Magnaclean filter cost?
It all depends on the size of your pipework on your heating system. Prices vary from £50 to £300.
Here’s a cost breakdown of different types:
- MagnaClean Mirco 2 (22mm) = £50-£85
- MagnaClean Professional 2XP (22mm) = £75-£100
- MagnaClean Professional 2XP (28mm) = £150-£300
- MagnaClean TwinTech (22mm) = £100-£115
What is a Powerflush?
A Powerflush is much more effective at dislodging sludge in your system but it’s not our first choice because of a couple of reasons. The main one being the cost.
Powerflushing will cost at least £400 and sometimes as much as £600. This is a substantial amount toward the cost of a new boiler. The price can also be affected by the engineer that you have, how long it takes (can take up to 10 hours to complete), if extra chemicals are needed during the job or if the TRV’s need changing.
Your boiler should be serviced annually by a Gas Safe engineer. Unless you notice a change in the temperature of your home or if there is a cold spot on your radiators whilst the heating is on, then a Power flush can cause more damage than it’s worth.
Pros and Cons of a Powerflush
Pro’s of having a Powerflush
- Reduce the risk of debris and rust buildup
- Help your radiators to warm up faster
Cons of having a Powerflush
- Can cause leaks from your radiators
- The power can be too vigorous and shake the pipework, which could cause serious damage
- The solder work on older pipes could come loose
- Important: a Powerflush CANNOT be carried out on 10mm pipework (microbore)
- Damage to the pipework could result in new pipework and the cost of installation and any damage the leaks have caused.
As mentioned, your boiler should be annually serviced so unless you notice any of the signs above that suggest you need a system cleanse, then the chances of you actually needing one are slim.
To think that after spending a large amount of money on something that could potentially cause more harm to your boiler and heating system, seems a bit mad to us. You may as well get a new boiler from WarmZilla.
With WarmZilla, a system cleanse will be carried out on your boiler installation and an inhibitor will be added to reduce the risk of rust and corrosion.
However, if you think you might need a powerflush then you can find a trusted heating engineer from the Gas Safe register to quote on it for you. WarmZilla do not carry out powerflushes as in most cases they aren’t necessary and can cause more harm than good. We only carry out system cleanses as part of a new boiler installation, we don’t offer a system flush service standalone.
We hope we’ve helped you understand the differences between a system flush, powerflush and a magancleanse in this article. If you have any questions about anything related to your boiler or central heating system then please use our live chat, you will speak to a Gas Safe engineer with years of experience fitting boilers.