Why Your Heating System needs A water sample analysis

Reasons why you should test your heating water and what tests are needed

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Why heating systems need water sampling analysis

The main reason boiler and sometimes even chiller systems or heat pump systems will have a water sample analysis conducted is to identify any signs of corrosion, limescale build-up, sludge build-up and microbial growth. The data gathered from the tests can then be interpreted and used to decide whether any preventative or proactive measures are necessary to enhance the efficiency of your heating system and lengthen its lifespan. Some of the measures that may be taken as a result are: the introduction of inhibitor chemicals (via a dosing pot or other means) to prevent corrosion / limescale / sludge / microbial growth, a power flush to remove any existing build up of sludge / limescale, the installation of additional filters, pipe replacements and even equipment repairs or leak repairs.

If you require a water sample analysis the feel free to hit the button below and give us a call. A water sample analysis is also apart of our maintenance contract and block management major service and can even be performed in tangent with a boiler service for an additional charge.

A close up of a water sampling analysis kit.
A close up of a water PH test.

What Tests Are Conducted?

Oxygen levels: the oxygen and oxide levels present in the system water are crucial indicators and causes of corrosion. If there is oxide in the system it indicates that there is air getting into the system and this is quite often caused by a corroded pipe or piece of apparatus and any air caught inside the system will cause pipes to corrode at a much higher rate.

Hydrate alkalinity & PH levels: the water inside heating systems needs to be kept slightly alkaline, as acidic water is corrosive and water that has a high level of alkalinity will cause a greater deal of limescale build up. The ideal PH level of heating system water is between 7 and 9.

Ferrous ion and metal levels: the presence of any ferrous ions or other metals are another indicator of corrosion and both a cause and byproduct of corrosion itself. If the level of metals in the water is high this is likely the result of said metals used to contain the heating system i.e. pipework, heat exchangers etc. The metal in the water will also increase its conductivity, the higher the conductivity of the water will in turn lead to higher levels of corrosion.

Phosphate levels: a minimum of 10ppm of phosphate is essential in heating water systems as it acts as a form of PH control and also prevents limescale formation inside your system.

Water hardness levels: the level of input water hardness should not exceed 50ppm. A high level of water hardness can lead to limescale formation and a build-up of sludge inside the system. It can also increase the conductivity of the water, increasing the chances of corrosion. The water hardness is often tested at the source of the water for comparative reasons between the source hardness level and the level inside the heating system.

Microbial growth levels: if the levels of microbial growth go unaddressed in a closed loop system all of the previous issues mentioned may occur depending on the microbes present. For example nitrate and Phosphate reducing bacteria can affect the levels of inhibitor chemicals, leading to corrosion and can also release by-products like ammonia which have their own implications. Other damaging microbes can be sulphate reducing bacteria which again can cause corrosion amongst other issues.