Professional installers should be aware of the fundamental role chemical water treatment plays in keeping central heating systems working efficiently. Here, Francine Wickham, Global Marketing Director at Fernox provides an overview of its benefits and offers advice on the best way to approach customers to secure the job.
Every installer wants to provide customers with the best possible service. Gaining repeat business or that all-important recommendation depends on having a happy customer at the end of the day. However, installers will understand that this isn’t always an easy thing to achieve.
The majority of homeowners are experiencing increasing fuel bills and many are also struggling financially in today’s tough economic climate. This means that any unexpected outlay to fix a problem with their central heating system – probably isn’t going to be met with anything less than annoyance.
However, for installers with a positive attitude, every call is an opportunity to turn the tide and secure work that can help and benefit both the customer and your own bottom line. In a competitive market, adding value is crucial and installers should be focussing on the ways that allow customers to invest now –whilst making immediate as well as long-term savings.
In a large number of cases, if an installer has been called out to look at system that is not performing as intended, homeowners will fear the worst and for many that would be the news that they require a new boiler. However, in many cases chemical water treatment can be a real saviour – offering a cost effective solution to a wide range of performance issues.
This is because over time all central heating systems will become less efficient if not properly protected and maintained. Without regular servicing and ensuring inhibitor levels are topped up, electrolytic corrosion can occur in a central heating system as a result of water coming in to contact with mixed metals. This results in the formation of magnetite and sludge.
Boilers and radiators that are blocked with sludge and debris cause the boiler to work harder and for longer. This is because the circulating water is unable to transfer heat efficiently throughout the system. Consequently, radiators take longer to reach the temperature required to warm the house. A boiler that is working harder than it should have to - produces higher CO2 emissions and increases fuel bills.
In this situation, installers should promote powerflushing as the most appropriate solution. Put simply, it still remains the most effective way of thoroughly cleaning a dirty system. When explaining why this course of action is necessary, it can be useful to offer a visual demonstration to the customer. Drain some of the system water and show them the level of contamination - as many will be shocked to see the black, dirty water.
Powerflushing can remove almost all system debris particularly when used in combination with an effective cleaner such as Fernox Cleaner F3 or Powerflushing Cleaner F5, the contaminants can be removed faster and easier – spending less time on site and reducing any inconvenience to the homeowner.
Given the objective is to leave the customer with a clean central heating system that will remain efficient for as long as possible, then using a high quality inhibitor is a must. The use of a BuildCert, ESTR approved inhibitor such as Fernox Protector F1 will prevent any further build-up of limescale and corrosion, to help maintain boiler efficiency and extend the life of the system.
Installers looking for a way to help sell the benefits of chemical water treatment to potential customers can also reference independent sources. According to independent testing verified by the Carbon Trust, cleaning and protecting a system using Fernox Cleaner F3 and Fernox Protector F1 500ml can provide up to 15% gas savings every time you heat up a room, resulting in a carbon emission saving of 110kg per annum. Should a household be feeling the financial strain – then savings like this can soon add up.
Furthermore, adding value for a customer means presenting all the options to help maintain system efficiency and today that has to include a central heating system filter, such as the Fernox Total Filter TF1. This will ensure the heat exchanger of the boiler is not damaged by any system contaminants.
Over the last few years, there has been a growing understanding of the important role chemicals and filters have to play together, in maintaining and improving energy efficiency. However, it is crucial that anyone installing a central heating system filter understands that they are designed to work in combination with chemical water treatment and not in isolation. It will not matter the make or the manufacturer – no filter in the world can protect and maintain system efficiency alone since it cannot stop corrosion occurring.
Installers should be routinely talking to their customers about the benefits of opting for a system filter. It is worthwhile highlighting in the overall cost of the work being undertaken – the addition of a filter is a relatively small investment that can make a big difference to the life of their boiler.
Once the system has been brought back to optimum efficiency, installers should encourage their customers to commit to an annual call, where inhibitor levels are checked and the boiler is serviced. The benefit to the customer is that the cost of this can be planned for each year, avoiding any nasty surprises. And it goes without saying that for the installer – this helps to build a customer base, with service calls (and income) spread out across the year.
Any professional installer worth their salt will understand the importance of a little customer service. Although your initial visit will probably be met with some trepidation from the homeowner - fearing expenses they would rather do without, in many cases chemical water treatment can be a low cost solution to a significant problem.
Customers can truly benefit from chemical water treatment – having been left with a clean and efficient central heating system that reduces their next fuel bill and heats their home quickly and efficiently. The results will speak for themselves and installers should find themselves with a loyal customer – far more likely to recommend their services.
This year Fernox celebrates 50 Years of Innovation within the chemical water treatment market. For further information visit: www.fernox.com