What Do Central Heating Systems, The Statue of Liberty And Burnt Toast Have in Common?
This article describes how you can best protect your central heating system from internal degradation.
Warning: This is a thinly veiled advertisement, posing as something very, very, very slightly interesting. Well, hopefully it’s a bit more than that, but you be the judge.
The answer to the above conundrum is: Oxidation. (Wait! That’s not the slightly interesting bit.)
Oxidation, or oxidisation is the generally undesirable result that you get when a material or living tissue chemically reacts with oxygen molecules.
The most common and well known example of oxidation is rust. We have all seen rust and we have all witnessed the degradation and mechanical failures that it can cause with iron and steel, haven’t we?
Well, did you know that each of the items listed above; central heating systems, the Statue of Liberty and and even burnt toast present potential difficulties due to oxidation and that each can be remedied to some extent?
The Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is made from copper, so it was originally the colour of an old penny. However, over time oxidation occurred and bit by bit the statue turned green. Had it been made from steel we would expect it to turn a brown, rusty colour, but copper reacts differently.
In fact, the green coating that we see on the statue is known as patina. Patina does not only happen with copper, it occurs with stone and even as a sheen on old wooden furniture.
The good news is that patina acts as a protective barrier to further oxidation and hence becomes a remedy by slowing further degradation.
Toast – A Top Oxidation Related Health Tip
Oxidation effects us too!
Anything burnt that enters our bodies; be it tar from a cigarette, oil in potato chips (especially Pringles by the way – AKA acrylamide pie), or just plain old burnt toast, risks introducing free radicals into our body.
Other sources of free radicals are air-pollution, pesticides, radiation, chlorination, etc.
Free radicals are not recently paroled, Winston Churchill statue defacing, Marxist students, as many people believe, but are chemically active atoms or molecules with an unpaired electron. This causes oxidation type reactions within our bodies.
You might not care all that much about the lonely electron side of things, but you may want to know that free radicals are associated with ill-health and more rapid ageing. Both widely regarded as not good things.
Our bodies have to deal with free radicals on a regular basis, but you can give yourself a big boost and a better chance of fighting back by ensuring that you get your recommended daily allowance of vitamins A, E, C, as well as beta carotene and selenium. Collectively, these are known as anti-oxidants. And now you know why.
We don’t want to say any more about free radicals and anti-oxidants because:
(a) We are plumbers
(b) We want to get on to the thinly veiled advertisement.
Thinly Veiled Advertisement
So, anyway, as you can imagine, oxidation is not good for central heating systems either. If you can’t imagine it you haven’t been paying attention.
Central heating systems carry a lot of water, which has a bunch of oxygen in it (hence the catchy nickname, H2O. Where the ‘O’ stands for oxygen).
Where there is oxygen there is oxidation.
The water in your system passes through the boiler, the pump, the radiator and all the valves. As a result, when a plumber drains down a central heating system an awful lot of dirty brown sludge comes out in the water.
Oxidation = degradation and inefficiency in the system.
This results in more costly heating bills, rust and leaks – which are not popular with home owners.
The solution? Whenever you, or your plumber (that’s us by the way) drains down the system, be sure to add inhibitor into the water when it’s refilled. Sentinel X100 is a product that you can find easily in the UK.
Inhibitor should last a few years once it’s in the system, but obviously you lose it whenever the system gets drained down.
Depending on how long it has been since the system was last drained, you may need to use a cleanser for a couple of weeks after draining, such as Fernox F3, to thoroughly clean the system through.
Both of the above mentioned products are relatively inexpensive – say, £40-£50 for the pair and you can find videos on Youtube explaining how to do it.
Here’s a video of a man explaining how to add inhibitor we cannot guarantee that the man is talking sense, as we couldn’t be bothered to watch the whole video, but we do absolutely guarantee that he looks like a real plumber.
Lastly, even armed with all of this good information, our experience is that most people don’t like to do these jobs themselves. And that’s why God gave us plumbers.
If you live in the Herts, Beds or Bucks areas of the UK feel free to call us for a price quotation. The job really just comprises the labour (depends on whether we need to make two visits; one for the cleansing and one for the inhibitor, or just one for inhibitor), plus the cost of the chemicals mentioned.
Oh come on, it was slightly interesting.