We are asked a lot about magnetic system filters and so we thought it would be a good idea to create a short guide for our customers. We hope that we can explain why we always recommend fitting them when installing a new boiler.
What are magnetic system filters?
Magnetic system filters are, quite simply, a small piece of kit which is added to your central heating system to extract metallic sludge which naturally builds up in your system. As water travels around your metal pipes and radiators, rust can form inside them. This rust can become dislodged over time and together with dirt in the system can form what is known as “sludge”. Magnetic system filters help prevent this sludge from forming by extracting the rust minerals from the water as it travels through the system. The filter attracts the iron and steel components of the rust and keeps the system clear of sludge. It is a preventative measure designed to keep your system healthy.
What’s wrong with sludge?
This mixture of rust and dirt called sludge can cause many problems over time. As the percentage of sludge increases, the efficiency of your central heating system decreases. Sludge can build up inside your radiators and can cause cold spots. Even after bleeding the radiators (the usual remedy to alleviate cold spots), the cold spots don’t disappear. Rooms will feel cooler than they should and you might think about turning up the thermostat to compensate. This means that you are spending money on heating radiators which are not functioning efficiently. This has the effect of higher energy bills and an impact on the environment.
Furthermore, a build-up of sludge in your boiler can be destructive to internal water carrying parts like the pump. This can result in breakdowns and costly repairs. Over time it will gradually prevent your radiators heating up and in the worst case it can solidify and result in your central heating system needing repiped which can prove extremely expensive and invasive.
My central heating system has sludge; can I fit a magnetic filter to remove it?
Unfortunately a magnetic filter won’t help once sludge has formed and that is why we recommend adding the filter when a new boiler or central heating is installed. In order to get your system in ship shape condition again, you’ll need to have it power flushed. You can find out about power flushing in an earlier post here, but in essence, the system is flushed through using a specialised machine and then refilled with clean water.
Can I fit a magnetic filter myself?
We recommend that a qualified gas engineer is used to fit the filters to ensure proper installation and performance. During your annual boiler service, your engineer should clean the filters to keep them working.
Once fitted, will my system never have sludge?
Rust and dirt are by-products of all central heating systems unfortunately. However, by fitting a magnetic filter, this should mean that the rust will be extracted from the system before it builds up therefore the only part of the system that you should need to clean is the filter itself.
Are magnetic filters expensive?
Magnetic filters are an additional piece of equipment to buy for a new boiler. However, when you consider the savings that will be made long term, there is no doubt that they are value for money.
- Heating system will function efficiently for years saving you money
- Many manufacturers offer a longer guarantee if you fit one
- No cold radiators
- No need to power flush
- Reduced chance of a boiler breakdown
We’re here to help. So if you have any additional questions about magnetic filters then do let us know. Scott Findlay has offices in Leith and Morningside and our engineers cover the whole of Edinburgh. Get in touch if you’d like to discuss installing a new boiler and magnetic system filter.