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Eavesdropping[fblush] talking of heating Pigletjohn....

(6 Posts)
motherofluvlies Mon 17-Dec-12 17:32:02

We are in a 5 bed roomed large 1920 house.An extension was added at that point we think.When we put the radiators on and close off upstairs....toasty but last week when we turned all the radiators on the downstairs ones didnt work ( so we were very cold downstairs ,I,m the one with the smoking fire)my dad bled he m all,balanced them all e.t.c but has gone home now .We keep getting told that the pump just isn't powerful enough to heat all the rads but me da says that his is not the case I.e he heard the water blowing off in the loft( presumably too hot ) and that somewhere the hot water is managing to bypass the rads downstairs on its way back to source.He is wondering if the pump could be fitted in reverse and would it help to have it changed?Now Di you follow that.He wants me to check some pipe coming from the pump upstairs?Can you shed any light on the problem?you seem very knowledgeable.

PigletJohn Mon 17-Dec-12 18:35:00

If it is an old open vented system with a feed and expansion tank as you describe, it is almost certain to hold a large amount of sludge and sediment which will cause partial (at least) blockages.

I suggest you go to the DIY shed tomorrow and buy two litres of Sentinel X5
400 chemical cleaner (not any cheap substitute they may offer, and not an acid cleaner, which would be effective but needs more skill and is more likely to cause leaks in old radiators. Buy two litres of X100 as well but you will not use it for four weeks. The chemicals will cost about £16 a litre. Buy from Screwfix if you can.

Find the drain cock on your radiatior system.

Climb into the loft and tie up the ball valve in the SMALL tank. Bale all the dirty water and mud out of it and sponge it clean with a bit of bleach. If you find a blanket of fungus, or white bacterial jelly, you will have an extra step later.

Ask your assistant to drawe two buckets of water out of the drain cock. Tip the X400 into the F&E tank and untie the float so the tank refills. Adjust the float so the depth is only two inches above the feed pipe at the bottom.

Now turn the boiler on. There may be some bubbles you need to bleed out of the rads. Turn the pump down to speed 1 and see if this stops water gushing out of the vent which is the 22mm pipe bent into an inverted 'U' over the small tank. BTW how high is the top of the U above the tank?

You will know the cleaner is starting to work when the circulating water goes jet black with dislodged sediment. You can leave it working for four weeks with the heating running before you have to drain it out, rinse to clean, and refill with fresh. When you are sure you have finished cleaning and draining, add the X100 to prevent future corrosuon, tying up the float and draing out a couple ofbuckets first, so it will be drawn down when you refill.

As for downstairs radiators being cold, turn off all the hot ones and I expect the cold ones will then heat up. We can talk about rebalancing another time.

My finger is tired now.

PigletJohn Mon 17-Dec-12 18:36:11

X400 is the name of the cleaner.

harbingerofdoom Mon 17-Dec-12 19:01:57

Wonderful advice smile

PigletJohn Tue 18-Dec-12 00:53:30

this is the stuff it is a very mild cleaner, and safe for DIY use.

For a small to medium house, one litre is enough (you use it at 1% in the circulating water) but I estimate your house is a bit bigger, with an old iron boiler, and probably holds more than 100 litres of water

After four weeks it starts to lose its power and the sedimant can start to settle again, so that's when you drain it out and let the water carry away the loosened sediment.

If you are fond of DIY plumbing and can cut and join pipes, you can add a system filter which will cost about £100 and will trap future circulating particles before they can settle into a blockage.

If you are in a hard-water area and you have an old boiler which clonks and bangs, they also make a mild non-acidic cleaner which slowly washes away the hard limescale.

Simple and inexpensive DIY chemical cleaning can usually get the system clean enough to save you £hundreds on a powerflush. Once you get a solid blockage it is too late because the chemicals can't flow through it.

motherofluvlies Tue 18-Dec-12 14:33:37

Wow thank you so much.I have a full house from tomorrow on so might leave it to the weekend?am slightly concerned that you mentioned leaking rads so in the light of it being Xmas and no plumbers available I might leave it to after Xmas but Tx u so much

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