Controlling contamination in larger buildings is vital to maximise heating efficiency and protect heating system components. One of the best ways to protect against contamination is to fit an industrial boiler filter. But the last few years have seen an influx of many different types of heating system filter, each with different price points and performance.
The fit and forget nature of filters makes it very important to get the right filter unit. You may think the problem has been addressed simply by fitting a filter, but the consequences of fitting a poor performing filter can be serious. One of the major features to look for when selecting a good quality heating system filter for industrial applications is full flow filtration. Craig Worth, National Sales Manager at BoilerMag explains why it’s so important to choose a full flow filter rather than a side stream filter.
A magnetic filter is a vital means of controlling magnetite, or black sludge, in heating systems. In order to prevent problems caused by black sludge, it is imperative that magnetite is extracted immediately from the circulation, before it reaches the boiler. To do this effectively, it is important to choose a full flow filter that filters 100% of the water on a single pass, rather than a side stream filter.
Fighting Black Sludge with First Pass Efficiency
First pass efficiency is a key judging criteria when it comes to selecting a heating system filter. The more contamination that is taken out on first pass, the less that is flowing through the boiler heat exchanger; therefore making it less likely to become attached to valves, radiators, pumps. Whilst no filter can remove 100% of contamination, it is important to remove at least 90% on the first pass. Some filters remove as little as 20% due to limitations in design.
Side stream filters, for example, collect the magnetite gradually over several passes through the system, extracting only 3 – 10% of the magnetite in a single pass. This method is ineffective, and therefore, a risky option. Choosing a filter that ensures the maximum amount of magnetite is captured on the first pass through the filter is absolutely essential.
Practical Benefits for Installers
Choosing a full flow heating system filter has several practical benefits for the installer and service engineer. Full flow filters can be connected within the main circulation of the heating system, making them relatively straightforward to install. However, side stream filtration requires the creation of an additional flow and return, which can mean more time, expense, and additional space.
Optimum Operating Temperatures
A good full flow filter will operate at temperatures up to 150°C, but a typical side stream filter may have a maximum temperature of just 100 °C. With some commercial and industrial heating systems running at temperatures above 100°C, ensuring that your chosen filter will comfortably accommodate higher temperatures is key.
Side Stream Filtration Vs Full Flow Filtration
Although side stream filters may be a tempting option due to the attractive price tag, water has to pass through the filter a number of times and collect the magnetite gradually. Obviously this leads to the circulation of contamination within the system, putting the boiler, valves, and radiators at risk. A contaminated system, therefore, leads to an inefficient system, with a boiler that is prone to failure.
Full flow filters, on the other hand, ensure that 100% of water is filtered and the maximum amount of magnetite is removed on first pass through the filter, returning only clean water to the boiler and radiators. This, in addition to the effective venting of trapped air, ensures a clean, energy efficient heating system.
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