Anytime you have a system that relies on water to operate, you are going to encounter sludge build-up over time, and boiler systems are certainly no exception. Each year, roughly 20 percent of boiler issues that require a service call is the result of sludge build-up. So what is boiler sludge made up of, and how can you prevent it from damaging your system?
What is Boiler Sludge?
All water contains deposits, such as minerals, oil, and other contaminants. Over time, mineral deposits like calcium and lime bond together with corrosion matter from pipes and solder joints and build upon the interior surfaces of your boiler system, including within the piping and radiators.
Why is it Bad for My System?
As these deposits bond together to form build-up within your boiler system, it can cause a few different negative side effects. Build up within the tank and pipes makes the system have to work harder to heat water, and thus use more energy to get it to the correct temperature. This will result in an increased utility bill, especially over time. In addition, deposits within the piping will restrict the water’s ability to flow efficiently through your system. This means the water cannot get circulated throughout your home or building at the correct rate and will begin to provide less efficient heating. Left untreated, these deposits can eventually create solid clogs in your system, at which point the system can no longer be repaired and must be replaced.
How to Check for Sludge
It is possible to check your system for sludge build-up with relative ease. Simply drain some of the water from the system from a radiator bleed valve into a light-colored cup or bowl, and take a look at the color of the water. The darker it is, the more build-up there is in your system.
Another way to check your system is by paying attention to your radiators. Set your heat to its highest temperature, and go check each of your radiators. If they are cold at the bottom and warm at the top, that is a sign that you have build up inside of your radiators.
Getting Rid of Sludge Build Up
There are many chemical-based products available on the market that help to remove build-up from your boiler system. These products, which typically contain either muriatic or hydrochloric acid, can work well to remove scale and sludge from your boiler. Unfortunately, both of these chemicals also pose a danger to the user, and require the use of personal protective equipment. Both acids give off noxious fumes, which are harmful to your respiratory system and eyes, and can also cause irritation if it comes into contact with your skin. These acids are also harmful to the environment and pose a significant hazard to plants and wildlife if not disposed of properly after use.
If you are instead looking for an acid-free boiler treatment that is safe for both the user and the environment, try our Boiler Treat ULTRA+. Our acid-free formula will not irritate skin or eyes, and does not pose a danger to wildlife. And because it is neutralized by water, it is easy to dispose of after you have cleaned your system. In addition, tests have shown that Boiler Treat ULTRA+ is 10 to 15 percent more effective than muriatic acid at removing scale and build up.
So the next time you are in need of a solution for your boiler build-up issues, give our Boiler Treat ULTRA+ a try!