Boiling point

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Homeowners who purchase a newer high-efficiency boiler to replace an older boiler undoubtedly reap the benefits immediately via a lower home-heating bill. However, if the boiler distributes hot water to baseboards or radiators through iron pipes, the savings might be short-lived, and a system failure might be in the offing. An increasingly larger percentage of high-efficiency boilers distribute hot water with the aid of a pump that includes electronically commutated motor technology. The improved efficiency of these pumps derives from their use of magnets. However, the magnets attract iron-oxide sludge (rust), which can damage the pumps and clog the narrow waterways of high-efficiency boilers.

Numerous magnetic filtration systems exist, from simple external wrap-around collar magnets to types that are installed inside of the system. Adey Innovation, which makes the MagnaClean Micro2 filter, says deposits can begin to accumulate within
3 weeks of a boiler’s installation and can decrease its efficiency by up to 6 percent. (Adey says its filter is unique because of its use of rare-earth neodymium magnets, which have a higher and longer-lasting magnetism than conventional magnets have.)

“Nearly 70 percent of circulator pumps returned to pump manufacturers fail due to iron oxide and other water-quality issues,” says Adey’s Neil Watson. “Data also show that over 95 percent of debris in hydronic heating systems is made up of iron oxide.”