THE EVOLVING EFFICIENCY CHALLENGE

Modern boilers are becoming increasingly energy efficient as the drive for low carbon buildings continues to motivate new legislation. Francine Wickham, Global Marketing Director at Fernox discusses the design of energy efficient boilers and how chemical water treatment combined with filter technology is now more important than ever.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, heating accounts for approximately 60% of household annual energy bills. Therefore an energy efficient boiler can have a significant impact on household running costs. Consequently, since 2005, all new gas central heating systems in the UK have been required to be gas condensing boilers. Offering efficiencies of more than 90%, gas condensing boilers extract additional heat from the water vapour produced by the boiler, increasing the system’s overall efficiency. This significantly reduces heat lost to the surrounding air and the flue, resulting in lower running costs and carbon emissions.However, to achieve these high efficiencies, modern boilers have much smaller components than previous designs. For example, the passageway diameter in a boiler heat exchanger was previously up to 10 mm wide – this same component can now have a passageway as narrow as 1mm. This means modern new boilers are extremely vulnerable to any debris and sludge within the system that can circulate and become trapped in the heat exchanger, causing a blockage and potentially damaging internal pipework. Often resulting in fluctuating hot water temperatures and overworking the boiler, a blocked heat exchanger can impact on overall system efficiency, increasing fuel bills and ultimately, decreasing the service life of the boiler. Furthermore, recognising the impact of inefficient boilers and water heaters, the European Commission’s EU Heating and Cooling strategy predicts that up to 135 million tonnes of CO2 can be saved by 2030, if a conscious effort is made to prioritise the efficiency of heating systems.

Therefore, the correct water treatment and maintenance of a modern boiler is essential to ensure the system remains efficient throughout its lifespan. For example, to ensure compliance with Part L of the Building Regulations a system clean and flush is required when commissioning a new boiler along with the addition of a Protector or inhibiotr to help prevent future corrosion from taking place. Following this, installing a system filter is widely acknowledged as industry best practice by boiler manufacturers to provide the continual capture and recovery of any loose, circulating debris. This has been further demonstrated within the supplementary information of the Domestic Heating Guide, which states: ‘a filter can also be fitted to the central heating circuit to help maintain the efficiency and reliability of the system.’ Clearly indicating the inherent benefits of filter technology when considering the efficiency of a central heating system. Modern efficient boilers that contain significantly smaller components are no different. In fact, due to the system design, it could be stated that it is even more important to capture and remove effectively any circulating debris. Presenting an innovative solution to this evolved issue is the precision-engineered, nickel plated, brass Fernox TF1 Omega Filter. Contributing to the system’s overall efficiency whilst protecting the internal components of the boiler, the filter is small, smart and simple to install and clean. Designed for use in the most confined and awkward of spaces this neat and  compact unit can even be angled at 45o, if necessary. Collecting both magnetic and non-magnetic debris, the filter incorporates a powerful Neodymium magnet alongside Hydronic Particle Separation (HPS) technology to optimise flow trajectories and capture the smallest of particles to ensure superior system protection. Easy and simple to clean, the TF1 Omega Filter remains in situ throughout the process, with no need to remove the lid or dismantle the unit – resulting in a cleaner, quicker process. Furthermore, the TF1 Omega Filter also acts a dosing point for the Fernox Express range of chemical water treatment. Filter technology is at its most effective when combined with high quality chemical water treatments, such as Fernox Filter Fluid + Protector. Utilising the tried and tested benefits of the Fernox Protector F1 alongside a unique, active dispersant, debris is continually detected, lifted and delivered to an in-line system filter.

Fernox Filter Fluid + Protector has a unique chemical composition that contains both hydrophilic (‘water-loving’) and a lipophilic (‘oil-loving’) elements. The lipophilic part of the molecule is able to interact with foreign bodies, such as dirt, sludge and other magnetic and non-magnetic debris and bind to them, while the hydrophilic part keeps the chemical soluble in the system water. Designed for longevity, the solution can be permanently left within the system. The treatment also safeguards the central heating system against corrosion and the formation of scale in mixed metal systems as well as increasing a filter’s own effectiveness by aiding the delivery of system debris to the magnet.

Energy efficient boilers are paramount for lowering both household running costs for homeowners and  domestic carbon emissions. However, these systems need to be correctly maintained, using the latest innovations in filter and chemical water treatment technologies to ensure the system remains efficient and effective throughout its lifespan.