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How To Clean Your Central Heating System For Winter And What Tools Your Need

Central Heating System

Do I need to clean my central heating system? The answer is a straightforward yes.

For any central heating system, be it a modern advanced system or an old one, there will be a build-up of “Radiator Sludge”. The sludge is a mix of debris from the internals of the system, dirt particles, and bits of rust that break off from radiators and joints. Obviously, the older the system the more it will need to be cleaned.

What are the signs that your radiators are clogged up with sludge? You may think that your radiators are becoming slower to warm up, there may be cold spots, or they need bleeding more often. Any of these issues can mean that the system needs to be cleaned.

How To Clean Your Central Heating System For Winter & What Tools You Need

Winter is the time your system will work at its peak, so this is when a yearly clean will benefit you and your central heating system. Cleaning the system before you need it the most will improve its efficiency and reduce stress on the heat pump due to less resistance throughout the system. Cleaning will result in better heating, using less fuel, and prolonging the life of your central heating.

How to clean the central heating system? 

One method would be to remove radiators one at a time and flush out with a hosepipe. Alternatively, you can drain the whole system and refill, adding a cleaning agent, leave for 24 hours, drain and refill again. However, these methods won’t remove stubborn sludge. A power flush can help if you rent the equipment from a tool hire company.

Having the right tools will enable you to achieve the result you need. Radiator water is very dirty, so take precautions not to spill it on your carpets. A few basic tools are needed to drain radiators or the system:

·         Adjustable spanner

·         Radiator bleed key

·         Buckets and old towels

·         Hose pipe

·         Rubber hammer

·         Turbidity tube- to check the water in the system

How To Clean a Central Heating System?

The method to flush the radiators is as follows:

1.  Turn off power to the boiler and allow the system to cool.

2.  Find the drain cock, connect a hose and when it is connected open all the vents and run to a suitable drain to dispose of the dirty water. Empty system.

3.  Close drain valve and vents – refill the system.

4.  Bleed all the radiators.

5.  If adding a cleaning product, do it now making sure you have checked that the agent is compatible with your system.

6.  Switch the heating on and let it run for 24 hours.

7.  Drain down again and refill, when clear water runs out the clean is done.

A power flush tool rental will clean stubborn sludge from a system. Do this by removing a radiator and following the operating instructions to connect the pipework and operate.

Tools Needed To Clean A Central Heating System

Whichever method you choose, the same tools to clean central heating will be needed. An adjustable spanner will be needed to remove the radiator, open and close the drain valve, and connect pipes to a flushing machine.

A radiator bleed key will be needed to open the vent valves and for bleeding the radiators after refilling the system.

Waterproof absorbent sheets and trays should be used to catch water to stop staining to floors from leaking pipes.

Finally, a hose pipe to drain water and connect to refill the system.


Following these simple steps will keep your central heating system in optimum condition when you need it most. Tool rental from HireItDirect will make it easy and affordable to tackle this project with the proper equipment, creating a more efficient result in a faster time frame.