Central Heating: How to Boost Efficiency

woman servicing a boiler
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Central heating systems consist of many different parts made of many different metals (and plastics) with water circulating through them.

The different chemicals and limescale can lead to:

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ProblemPossible ReasonSolution
Poor circulationSludgePower flushing
Discolouration of the carpet belowLeaksReplace faulty parts and check quality of the water
Reddish waterPresence of iron oxide — indicating corrosion of iron materialsFlush and treat with inhibitors
Black particlesProbably magnetite, indicating advanced corrosionFlush, replace faulty parts and treat with inhibitors
Tops of radiators stay cool or lukewarmAir in radiatorsVenting
Smell of rotten eggsHydrogen sulphideDisinfectant before power wash
Leaks after power flushing Power flushing has removed limescale that was sealing holesReplace faulty parts and treat with inhibitors
Some radiators much cooler than othersCentral heating system needs rebalancingMap the pipe system and create increased resistance from the closest radiators
David Hilton

David is a renewables and ventilation installer, with over 35 years experience, and is a long-standing contributor to Homebuilding and Renovating magazine. He is a member of the Gas Safe Register, has a Masters degree in Sustainable Architecture, and is an authority in sustainable building and energy efficiency, with extensive knowledge in building fabrics, heat recovery ventilation, renewables, and also conventional heating systems. He is also a speaker at the Homebuilding & Renovating Show. 

Passionate about healthy, efficient homes, he is director of Heat and Energy Ltd. He works with architects, builders, self builders and renovators, and designs and project manages the installation of ventilation and heating systems to achieve the most energy efficient and cost effective outcome for every home.