“I’ve been in this industry for 30+ years and never had an issue before. Why does water quality matter now?"
Well, the ultimate reason is because high efficiency boilers and system components are less forgiving to water quality than older, larger cast-iron systems.
Poor water quality may include high levels of chloride, copper, water hardness and iron in the systems, as well as high and low pH levels, all of which can cause corrosion in the system. This corrosion often then leads to magnetite build-up, which is a result of oxidation in the system, and magnetite a.k.a iron oxide, or as you may call it, mud / dirt / black water / sludge is the number one cause of hydronic system failures.
Even a new system is susceptible to corrosion.
Due to its extremely small particle size, the most effective way of removing magnetite is by using permenant magnets and water treatment chemicals.
This damaging magnetite causes frustrations for not only contractors, but homeowners too. Re-visiting jobs due to system issues or failures is not only time-consuming; it’s also not pleasant dealing with homeowners that have suffered the consequences of the water not being treated and maintained. By consequences, we mean noisy boilers, low heat levels / heating problems, cold heat emitters, boiler failures, and higher heating bills due to these inefficiencies.
For residential systems, it deposits into heat exchangers, causing them to block and crack. It generates across metal surfaces, continuously corroding those metals until they start to leak or fall apart. It has a sandpaper-like texture that wears away seals, and new ECM pumps have magnets in them that attract the magnetite, eventually causing the pump to block, crack and fail. Without removing magnetite from a system first, inhibitors cannot provide a protective layer on system components and piping.
For commercial systems, poor water quality increases the amount of maintenance required, wastes tens of gallons of water each week due to leaks, causes a loss in overall system efficiency, which in turn, increases system operating costs.
This is why water quality matters now!