Take away Sludge from a Radiator Your self (and Save $500)


Surely they need a good sludge removal.

It is a technique to remove all the dirt inside the heaters.

My plumber friend Gérard strongly advised me to do this.

When I told him that my cast iron radiators stayed cold despite the heating on, he immediately understood.

He explained to me that sludge removal was necessary and above all, that you can do it yourself.

Because the prices charged by professionals for this service are not cheap.

It can reach 1000€! Whereas if you do it alone, you get away with it for less than 100€.

Discover so how to remove sludge from your radiator and save €500. Look :

What is sludge removal exactly?

Talking about removing sludge from the radiator, that must sound a bit Chinese to you, right?

Anyway, I didn’t really know what it was.

It’s since I lived in a house with a water heating system that I understood what we were talking about.

For you to understand what it is, a little reminder on the operation of this type of heating.

Take a central boiler that runs on gas, or oil, or by a heat pump.

This central boiler sends hot water to the radiators of the house to heat you.

So far so good.

But after a few years, deposits of all kinds begin to settle in the circuit.

These are, for example, limescale deposits from the water itself.

Or even fine metal particles that come from wear or corrosion of the piping.

All of these impurities build up over time and often get to the bottom of radiators.

This mixture of impurities is also called « mud ».

When your ducts and radiators (cast iron or steel) have too much mud, they are said to be « sludged ».

And a sludged heating system works much less well! Especially if it’s old.

It is therefore necessary to proceed with the famous clearing.

Sludged radiators consume 15% more

A clogged heating circuit causes a lot of problems.

Already, the heating comfort of the house is getting worse and worse because the radiators are clearly losing their efficiency.

Often the bottom of the radiator stays cold even though the boiler is running!

At least that’s what happened to me.

A sludged heating circuit will also make the boiler work much harder.

So it consumes a lot more when you don’t feel more heat…

ADEME estimates that a clogged network is an overconsumption of energy of at least 15%.

Finally, having a clogged system can cause major damage to the boiler.

Heat exchangers can be damaged, valves clog and circulators slow down.

Well it should not tell you much what I say.

Just be aware that if these parts are broken, their replacement is very expensive…

Sludge removal therefore makes it possible to return to normal operation of the heating system.

When should you unclog a radiator?

As you have seen, leaving your heating system clogged is not a good thing at all.

But how do you know concretely when it is necessary to do a sludge removal?

Well there are several unmistakable signs.

So no worries already. There is no need to do sludge removal every 4 mornings.

Professionals recommend doing this every 5 to 10 years depending on the condition of your installation.

That said, if you notice the anomalies below, it is better to act immediately:

– If your boiler and your radiators make a lot of noise, it’s not a good sign.

– If you have to raise the thermostat more than usual to reach the desired temperature, this is also not normal.

– If the heating time to reach the desired temperature is much longer than usual, this may be a sign.

Even more so if areas of the radiator remain cold (the lower areas often).

All these signs show that mud is in the pipes and it’s time to clean everything.

Sludge removal done by a professional costs between 300 and 500€

Sludge removal is therefore important if we want the performance of the radiators to remain optimal.

If you decide to defog them, there are 2 ways to do it.

Either by a professional plumber or by yourself.

Regarding the professional it usually takes between 300 and 500€ for travel and labor.

This is what Gérard, my plumber friend, generally charges.

This rate is valid if your installation does not exceed 10 radiators.

If you have more, count packages ranging from 500 to 1000€! !

But have no fear; sludge removal is not complicated.

You can do it yourself for a very reasonable cost.

Me, for example, when I decided to do it alone, it just cost me the purchase of the sludge remover.

It costs between 40 and 80€ and you can find it everywhere in stores such as Brico Dépôt, Leroy Merlin… or online here.

Please note, I am talking about a sludge remover.

I say that for the smart ones who would like to use white vinegar instead.

White vinegar is certainly magic, but it is not effective when it comes to removing sludge.

In any case, all this to tell you that there is no need to break the bank to clean your heating system.

You just have to know how to do it.

So I’m going to explain to you from A to Z how to do it, because I did it at home without any problem.

Thank you Gerard!

How do you unclog a radiator yourself?

This inexpensive technique consists of injecting a liquid sludge remover into the heating circuit.

This acid-based liquid cleans the entire network up to the radiators.

Here’s how to do it step by step to make it easy for you:

What you need

– 1 liquid sludge removal product

– 1 adjustable wrench or screwdriver

– 1 funnel

– 1 small garden hose

Step 1: stop the boiler

First, turn off the central heating for obvious safety reasons.

Once extinguished, wait a good 3 hours for the water in the circuit to cool.

Also turn off all your radiators.

It is at this time that we begin the sludge removal.

Step 2: clear the first radiator

Locate the radiator closest to the boiler.

Take your adjustable wrench or screwdriver and fully open the radiator vent.

Insert the funnel into the hole in the trap and pour the sludge remover liquid directly.

Screw the bleeder back on and restart your central heating.

The water will then circulate again throughout the circuit with the sludge remover.

Let the product act for several days.

Depending on the brand, the liquid needs to stay in the pipes between 2 and 7 days.

Take a good look at the instructions for use to respect the deadlines.

Step 3: empty the dirty water from the radiator

Once the product has worked well, it is now necessary to drain the radiators.

That is to say, it is necessary to remove the dirty water and the acidic liquid which is inside the radiator.

For that, nothing complicated either.

Switch off the boiler again.

Then open the tap at the bottom of the first radiator and stick the garden hose to it.

Put a basin at the end of the hose to prevent the water from flowing everywhere.

To avoid getting water everywhere, know that you can also dismantle the radiator and do this in the garden or in the shower.

You will then see all the water and mud evacuate through the pipe.

Once all the impurities are out, flush the radiator.

When the water coming out is very clear, you have finished removing sludge.

At this time, turn the boiler back on and refill the water system.

There you go… you’ve cleared your radiator yourself! Bravo, you have saved at least 300€!

Are your radiators still clogged? Call a pro to clear it out

You have seen it, doing a radiator sludge removal yourself is not rocket science.

However, our small intervention may not be enough.

Sometimes, when the heating circuit is really old and poorly maintained, some radiators remain clogged.

Sludge removal by pressure is then necessary.

But for this type of intervention, it is better to call on a professional.

This will indeed use a hydropneumatic pump to remove the sludge.

What does this actually change compared to the first method?

Well already, you have a plumber running an infrared camera through your heating circuit.

This allows it to locate clogged areas and radiators.

Once this is done, the plumber connects a pump directly to the boiler.

The pump will then emit pressure throughout the circuit, which pushes all the impurities.

The heating system being in closed circuit, the impurities arrive in the pump to be retained by a filter.

How long does the process take? Within 2 to 3 hours depending on the number of radiators.

In any case, your entire heating circuit is cleaned, even if you have to pay the price.

But as my plumber Gérard says, this type of intervention is only to be done if the first method has no effect.

What is the difference between a radiator purge and a sludge removal?

Bleeding and removing sludge from a radiator are two completely different things.

Bleeding a radiator means removing the air it contains.

Bleeding should be done when the top of the radiator stays cold while the heater is on.

Clearing a radiator means removing the mud it contains; we saw it in this article.

A sludge removal must be done when the bottom of the radiator remains cold while the heating is on.

Ah yes last thing as long as I think about it.

Note that if you are a tenant, the cost of sludge removal is the responsibility of the owner.

Do not hesitate to call if you need to call a plumber, even if it is a collective heating.

So ; you know everything about the subject and can calmly face winter!

Your turn…

Have you tried our tip for removing sludge from your radiator yourself? Comment in the comments to find out if it worked for you. We can’t wait to read you!

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Also to discover:

Increase the POWER of Your Radiator With a Simple Sheet of Aluminum.

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