Altecnic – Prevention is better than cure

Mark Mogey, Head of OEM sales and ROI at Altecnic explores some of the latest technology to help keep the heating system clean...

Research from the Energy and Utilities Alliance suggests that 80% of all central heating system issues are related directly or indirectly to sludge/debris in the system, so it makes sense to not only clean the heating system thoroughly but to also take preventative action so that it does not happen again in the future.

Modern heating systems regardless of size are becoming more and more dependent upon clean, suitable water quality. Materials used in the construction of expensive components such as boilers, fan coils, heat pumps and cylinders mean that having a clean, filtered or flushed supply is paramount to maintain the efficiency of the system.

While many domestic and commercial heating systems will have some sort of dirt and air removal, the technology has moved on considerably in the last few years so it’s important to ensure that all systems are reaping the benefits. This can be addressed by taking a whole system approach to preventative maintenance whilst conducting the annual servicing and safety check of the boiler.

Air and dirt are serious issues in a heating system and need to be removed. Air will cause noise in the pipes, low flow rates or even total circulation blocks and inefficient heat transfer to the environment resulting in cold customers and greater heating costs. It can also cause corrosion of the system that results in weakening and even the breaking of components such as pipes, radiators or boiler heat exchangers.

To reduce air in a system you can fit valves that automatically vent air as it accumulates in a riser and of course standard and automatic air vents can be fitted to radiators. The advantage of having automatic valves is that the air build up is managed on an ongoing basis rather than at its annual inspection or worse when it breaks down. The new Altecnic DISCALSLIM is designed for continuous venting of air, down to the level of micro-bubbles (gradual and continuous degassing) and may be installed on either a vertical or horizontal pipe.

For debris removal older systems may well have filters or strainers fitted, which will remove larger particles. There are two issues with this. The first is that smaller particles will not get trapped such as fine sand, rust and magnetite. Second, the strainer will cause a loss in water pressure in the system, which is only made worse as it gets clogged up.
Whilst strainers need to be regularly removed and cleaned if they are not going to affect the efficiency of the heating system, modern dirt separators exploit gravity to remove even very small particles down to 5µm by reducing the speed of the water passing through it, which also means that it minimises any loss in operating pressure. Some, such as Altecnic’s Dirtmag Mini, have triple dirt and air separation features. This includes an air vent for air separation, an internal polymer element for particle separation and hydraulic performances and also features a power magnetic dirt separator.

Ferromagnetic particles are retained in the collection chamber and prevented from returning to circulation. A drain cock with a hose connection allows for the simple removal of impurities. Full bore isolation valves also allow for ease on servicing while the filter is in-situ. They are also available as part of compliance packs which include aerosol cleaner and inhibitor chemicals.

There are many older commercial heating systems out there where air and dirt build up is an on-going problem and worse still, they don’t have the latest technology to manage it. The Altecnic DISCALDIRT 546 Series deaerator-dirt separator, available in sizes DN50 – DN 150, uses the combined action of several physics principles to solve this problem. The active part consists of a set of concentric metal mesh surfaces. These elements create the swirling motion needed to help release micro-bubbles and their adhesion to the surfaces.

The bubbles, fusing with each other, increase in volume until the hydrostatic thrust is sufficient to overcome the force of adhesion to the structure. They then rise towards the top of the device and are expelled through a float-operated automatic air vent valve. The impurities in the water, colliding with the metal surfaces of which the internal element is composed, are separated out and fall to the bottom of the valve body.

Preventative heating system maintenance helps keep them efficient so it is worth explaining to your customers how they may benefit from modern air and dirt removal systems.

“Modern heating systems regardless of size are becoming more and more dependent upon clean, suitable water quality.”

For more information, contact
Chris Reilly, Country Manager for Ireland,
on 00353 (0)85 2152288 or

Gary Swann, Northern Ireland Sales Manager
on 07760 596727 or
or visit the website at