Irwell Valley Housing Association has taken a proactive approach to boiler care and heating system protection in all of its 7,000 homes, using Sentinel SystemCare to help meet its ambitious business goals of zero unnecessary repairs and zero customer dissatisfaction. The forward-thinking housing association deploys a treatment plan comprising Sentinel’s high quality cleaning chemicals, inhibitor, and Eliminator Nano filter. As a result, avoidable boiler and heating system repairs have been eliminated, keeping heating maintenance costs at a minimum and ensuring that its homes provide year-round efficient heating and hot water to some 17,000 residents.
Irwell Valley is a multi-award winning housing association that provides housing and management services to over 7,000 homes across Greater Manchester. Serious about delivering quality homes and quality service, Irwell Valley works towards a series of goals called the ‘5 Zeroes’, an approach developed to maximise resident satisfaction while growing the business responsibly. Two of these goals, zero unnecessary repairs and zero dissatisfaction, are directly related to heating system management within its homes, and are being achieved with the help of Sentinel’s industry-leading SystemCare Soft Water Pack.
Comprising Sentinel X800 Cleaner, Sentinel X100 Inhibitor and the Sentinel Eliminator Nano Filter, Irwell Valley’s SystemCare Pack is tailored to suit the housing association’s requirements. When used as part of a best practice water treatment approach of ‘clean, protect and maintain’, these innovative products help to ensure the reliable and efficient long-term operation of boilers and heating system components by preventing corrosion and limescale, along with associated problems such as heat exchanger failure, radiator cold spots, excessive system noise and boiler breakdown. As a result, maintenance, repair and associated labour costs have been reduced significantly.
“We recognise the importance of excellent water treatment in terms of heating system performance and efficiency, which is why we chose to make sure all systems are properly cleaned and protected with Sentinel chemicals, and then maintained with the Eliminator Nano filter. Investing in these high quality products and maintaining high installation standards is important and pays off in the long-run, allowing us to have no unnecessary heating repairs,” explained Anna Norbury, Asset and Technical Administrator at Irwell Valley Housing Association.
Indeed, rather than cutting corners with low-cost water treatment products or choosing to meet minimum Building Regulations, Irwell Valley has adopted a thorough approach that goes beyond Building Services Compliance Guide to Part L requirements to align with the industry best practice of clean, protect and maintain. Moreover, the housing association specifies Sentinel, one of only two water treatment brands endorsed in most major boiler manufacturer installation and service guides.
This is important as, if a boiler manufacturer is called out to examine a broken boiler, investigations always start by checking the system water. If it’s found that the system has lacked correct cleaning and treatment as specified in the installation instructions, the boiler warranty may become void. In addition, there is the cost associated with repairing the boiler, as well as disruption to the tenant.
Irwell Valley has been using contractor Liberty Gas to install and maintain heating systems across its property portfolio for over four years. One of the largest and longest running independently owned heating companies in the UK, Liberty Gas adheres to the highest industry standards, and has been using Sentinel’s X800 Fast-Acting Cleaner and Sentinel X100 Inhibitor to clean and protect Irwell Valley’s heating systems for years. The products are used on all new boiler installations, which includes around 300 boiler replacements a year.
Until recently, a magnetic system filter was used alongside Sentinel chemicals, however, upon discovering the benefits of Sentinel’s Eliminator Nano filter, the housing association quickly switched its filter specification – much to the delight of engineers at Liberty Gas, who have been installing the Nano on other properties for some time.
“The Eliminator Nano filter offers something different to other filters,” explained Ms. Norbury. “We really like that it filters non-magnetic and magnetic debris from system water, providing much greater protection for our heating systems. Also its small size and light weight means that it is really easy to site – our engineers don’t have to ‘try’ and fit it in as it’s very convenient to install anywhere, even in tiny, awkward spaces.”
Sentinel’s Eliminator Nano is proven to collect almost 20% more debris than the nearest compact filter competitor products*. This is thanks to its unique Quadra-Cyclone technology, which removes both magnetic and non-magnetic debris from system water without relying on magnets. Capturing more debris than other compact filters means that the Eliminator Nano is able to better protect sensitive boilers and heating system components from debris and sludge.
By eliminating the need for magnets, Sentinel has been able to reduce the installation area of the Eliminator Nano to just 22.3cm (this is 30% smaller than Sentinel’s larger Eliminator filter), meaning that it can be fitted in small spaces.
The size, weight and ease of siting were not the only features of the Eliminator Nano identified as outstanding by Irwell Valley: “The Eliminator Nano is really easy for our engineers to service, saving time on each job. In fact, our contractor, Liberty Gas, had been using the Nano for some time already, so they were delighted when we specified it on Irwell Valley properties. Also, unlike other magnetic filters that we’ve previously used, which have cracked on the seals and leaked, the Nano has had no such issues – it’s very reliable,” said Ms. Norbury.
Indeed, the Eliminator Nano, which is manufactured in the UK, is made from durable material used typically in the automotive industry and has been fully lifecycle tested under stressed conditions. Furthermore, Sentinel developed the Nano with input from installers to solve common issues. These include a brass T-piece for robust connection, dual seals for insurance against leaks, and a sealed bin construction for safety and ease of servicing. For increased safety, the Eliminator Nano unit also features an anti-tamper drain valve.
The Eliminator Nano filter completes Irwell Valley’s best practice ‘clean, protect, maintain’ approach to water treatment by acting as an insurance policy against unexpected debris in circulating water. As a result, the lifecycle of its heating systems are maximised, while the chances of breakdown, boiler failure, and the need for system repair or component replacement have been virtually eliminated, thus helping the housing association to meet its 5 Zeroes goal of zero repairs.
In addition, Sentinel’s Eliminator Nano filter and chemicals help to optimise the energy efficiency and performance of heating systems (in fact, when used in conjunction, these products can improve system effectiveness by approximately 15%), as well as reduce heating bills. All these benefits help Irwell Valley meet its other target of zero customer dissatisfaction.
“We can confidently say that we have not experienced any boiler or heating system problems related to the quality of circulating water since using Sentinel SystemCare. Furthermore, all of our boilers are outlasting the warranty periods. In short, SystemCare is helping us to provide warmer homes with reliable, high performance heating systems, which keeps us and our tenants happy,” concluded Ms. Norbury.