Central Heating & the price of “Sludge” - Climastar
Radiator Sludge

Central Heating & the price of “Sludge”

Central Heating & the price of “Sludge”

You’ve likely seen various articles amongst your internet travels on “how to save on your central heating” and “How much energy is wasted” or similar, with handy tips on how to make the most of what you have heating-wise.

Most of us have seen useful statistics about how much you can save on average by turning the heating down by one or two degrees.

Yet, there are inherent things going on with heating systems that are often overlooked.

Some things are hard to measure or diagnose without getting down to the nitty gritty.

One such gritty element being the resident “sludge” that can manifest itself in wet radiators, specially if you have a gas boiler or oil boiler, or even an electric boiler.

When we are looking to install electric boilers or similar hardware, it’s something we take into account when looking at current systems.

One of the main questions we notice we get asked is “how does the sludge get in there?” and “what causes it?”

We also get asked things like “how do we get it out of there?” – and the only real way to accomplish this without installing additional hardware is with a procedure known as a “power flush”.

Admittedly, the older the radiator or heating system, the more likely there is a buildup of this common hidden enemy.

Sludge Demystified

Radiator Sludge

With a name like “Sludge”, we are safe in our assumption that it’s not an attractive creature.

Made from rust, limescale, and dirt particles, the sludge settles in radiators and reduces the efficiency and effectiveness of wet radiators.

It prevents hot water from being able to flow as intended, and can create cold patches within radiators.

With radiators being primarily made of metals, things like lime in hard water areas, and rust and other debris erodes from within the confines of a central heating system.

The creeping (and growing) sludge will be a certainty for many.

It’s easy to bring images to mind of a silent but creeping problem invading our homes,  sapping the warmth from our heating.

It’s also easy to imagine it as some inhuman and mutated foe from a horror or sci-fi novel, making the prospect of its arrival ever more disturbing.

Especially when it starts to hit us in the wallet.

Value lost.

When we look at the effect radiator sludge itself has on heating systems, and in turn wasted energy and money – we can look at this as a cash value that’s being leeched over time.

The daily express reports in a recent article – that the insidious “Sludge” can increase heating bills by up to 25%

(See article at https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/property/1718689/how-to-remove-radiator-sludge-save-money-heating-energy-bills).

As much as we don’t necessarily want to give the sludge any value – we can’t help but think about it as a cost that we can do without.

Imagine taking your yearly heating bill, and adding 25% for the sludge factor.

The “Sludge’s” Undoing

Many of us are tightening the purse strings at present, and trying to stretch our cash to meet the demands of increasing living costs – heating being a major consideration during the time of a cost of living crisis.

If you’re not yet ready to invest in an upgrade to your heating system, or you can’t exactly easily afford a power flush of your current system either; there’s a number of things you can do to help reduce costs.

Here are a few practical examples of how to keep the sludge at bay from your heating system – or even banish it forever.

Control, room by room.

Many engineers are now inclined to install thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) wet system radiators, which act by controlling the temperature of each room in the house. thsi is an approach we adopt when looking into installation of all-electric heating: where we try to recommend the best electric heating systems for homes.

TVR’s achieve this by limiting the amount of hot water into each radiator –  limiting the transport of any debris which may end up becoming the “Sludge”

image provided by Tado

If you don’t have these already they can be purchased relatively cheaply – with smart options also now available for wifi / wireless control. We usually recommend these alongside wi-fi control with the Tado Smart Kit – which we feature as part of packages for our efficient electric boilers.

It also means that you can limit or turn off areas of your house that don’t need to be heated – therefore making even further savings or efficiencies.


Pardon the pun there – but MagnaClean devices can be incredibly useful at helping to remove sludge from your central heating system. These are relatively simple to install also and are recommended for use with efficient electric combi boilers.

MagnaClean devices work by utilising a large magnet to trap any rust (iron oxide) and potential sludge before it occurs.  These are then cleaned and emptied for you when your boiler is serviced.

Inline de-scaler devices can also be installed to minimise the hardness of water, and prolong the life of your water drawing appliances.

We recommend where possible all of these elements when installing any of our Electric Boilers -although this is usually discussed in more depth when carrying out a home heating survey.

Our heating consultants have a wealth of experience in electric heating and knowledge, and can help you to get a better idea of what you may need if you’re looking to improve your heating and your home climate.

We offer a free, no obligation, no nonsense home survey whereby we can do all of the legwork and working out for you.

If this is of interest to you, please follow the link below:

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