Controlled Air highly recommends the cleaning of a hydronic system to provide the best heat transfer and longevity of the system. Any closed loop system, that has water under pressure and recirculates it would need cleaning. The pH of the water should always be tested to prevent the effects of too much acidity, which will deteriorate the system from the inside out. If in doubt a complete flush with plain city water (which is usually 6.0 to 8.0) should at least bring the pH to neutral. This will introduce oxygen into the system so it should be accompanied with the proper inhibitors.
Besides Ph there is also a loss of efficiency when the system is not clean. Iron oxide, scale, oil, and even bacteria can coat the internal surfaces of the heat exchangers and heat coils, which will prevent proper transfer and result in loss of energy dollars. We have found in many cases the need to chemically clean and then flush the entire system to remove the buildup. Some systems have not been cleaned or treated since they were first filled with water.
Often this concern becomes an out of sight, out of mind, situation until there is a failure. Some failures start off as small as a leaking fitting, or as large as leaking boiler sections. There are other reasons for components to start leaking, but water condition should not be one of them. A simple water test and maintaining a proper inhibitor level will keep the system clean, efficient, and save you the cost of clearing blockages.
Controlled Air can help you identify problems with you heating and cooling loops, and can offer the services of professional water treatment experts. We can provide the cleaning and flushing needed to prepare a system to receive treatment.
This is the best time to ask questions about your heating system. Is the water clean, treated and is the pH at the proper level? Have all of the safety devices been tested and functioning properly? Is the fire side of the boiler clean – for better efficiency? Has the burner been serviced? Has the combustion been tested and set to maintain a clean fire chamber and the most efficient use of your fuel?
For further reading about water treatment please Google ‘Section 15189 – HVAC’ and you will find industry specifications that outline the requirements and benefit of this valuable service.
Contributed by Dave Eger
HVAC Support Manager