Fixing a leak in the central heating system has always been a challenging task to undertake, not only for the trades person but it can also be a real headache for the D.I.Y enthusiast. The real problem is trying to locate the leak, as in many occasions it is under ground. There can be considerable costs in trying to find the location of the leak and in the meantime considerable damage caused to the boiler.
Causes of a Leak
Contrary to general opinion there are only two real causes of a leak developing in the central heating system which can be categorized into two groups;
Mechanical Causes of a Leak
Many leaks are caused due to mechanical failure and one of these failures is mainly due to poorly soldered joints during the installation process which can result in an instant leak or will develop into leaks over time. Also during installations when pipes are “elbowed” there can be a small kink or ripple in the pipe which will develop into a leak over time. Pipes that are running through joists that have not been installed properly will develop into a leak due to vibration.
Chemical Causes of a Leak
A high number of leaks, especially in older systems are caused by chemical corrosion. The water in the heating system is continually and regularly heated and cooled which over time creates “crystallisation”, which in turn strips the zinc from the copper pipes. This now will create an acidic solution which attacks the weakest parts, that being the joints. This is always quite evident when you see a green “crystal” on the outside of copper pipe joints.
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