On-site, laboratory-style water testing can be an essential aid in helping heating professionals educate consumers about the importance of boiler system water quality and ongoing preventative treatment options.

MAKING THE CASE FOR WATER TREATMENT Thanks to instant and accurate results, remedial actions can be agreed without delay reducing the need for return visits and keeping costs down for homeowners. Colin Yearp, senior technical trainer at ADEY, explains more.

The boiler is one of the most expensive and important purchases for most households. Providing essential supplies of heat and hot water, its performance needs to be reliable, efficient, and effective. For a boiler to operate at maximum capability, close attention must be paid to an integral element that underpins how it will ultimately perform – the need for good water quality.

Many installers appreciate the importance of effective water treatment regimes in order tackle the common presence of harmful elements that can often compromise system water quality.  They include sludge, corrosion, biological deposits and biocides, as well as the pH level of the water that flows through the system.

Not undertaking water treatment regularly is known to be create tangible operational issues.  Research shows that 15% of all boiler breakdowns occur in the first year and over half of these are caused by the presence of sludge.1  

Boiler breakdowns are inconvenient, disruptive, and costly for the homeowner.  But for many consumers the issues that can lead to system problems, as well as the effective answers that water treatment can deliver, remain unknown.

Such a lack of knowledge is perhaps understandable. It is vital that heating professionals engage more actively with households to explain the reasons why looking after the boiler water system makes sense as well as helping to reassure those with worries. Such concerns may include the cost implications of system treatments, a lack of visibility about water quality problems and a reluctance to undergo unplanned and repeat home visits.  

But by adopting some simple hints and tips, the installer can be better placed to help overcome such qualms.


Confronting consumer reluctance to invest in preventative boiler maintenance measures that include attention on water treatment is important.  Whether for a new installation, or as part of an annual servicing programme, taking the opportunity to engage with the homeowner about the topic of water treatment and the consequences of ignoring it, should not be missed. 

With cost an obvious concern, installers can, for instance, build the cost of fitting a filter that prevents sludge build up in the system into the initial install quote.  This needs to be followed by a clear explanation about the filter’s role in keeping the boiler operating effectively, as well as outlining the fact that its presence is usually a condition of the boiler manufacturer’s warranty.

Likewise, when looking to undertake system flushing and water testing to check inhibitor levels as part of the annual service, taking the time to explain that regular flushing and testing underpin long-term system health is paramount.  

It may be helpful to explain that undertaking such measures are required as part of the industry wide Benchmark scheme that is in place to encourage best practice when it comes to the preparation, commissioning and maintenance of domestic heating systems. A revised British Standard came into force in 2019 to support this aim. Again, a reminder that the boiler warranty could be invalidated by ignoring the industry Benchmark recommendation could be helpful in altering the prevailing consumer mindset.


Providing proof that system issues exist and could get worse, is also a helpful strategy to reassure homeowners about the importance of maintaining good system water quality. Using a thermal imaging camera can show up cold spots, as well as visually demonstrate the effectiveness of a system flush in removing them and improving radiator temperature. This provides concrete evidence that can help to steer the conversation towards taking ongoing and proactive maintenance measures such as ensuring future flushing and water treatment surveillance.


Current on-site ‘dip test’ methods to look at water quality rely heavily on human interpretation, while laboratory water tests though accurate require samples to be sent away for analysis. This means delays and the rescheduling of another visit to the property which could be inconvenient and expensive for consumers.

The ability to assess system water quality quickly and precisely on-site provides an alternative solution that can help the installer better illustrate current system health there and then. Such a solution is now available thanks to the launch of the industry’s first universal water testing kit that can provide an instant ‘lab-style’ result to a smartphone whilst on the premises.

The new ADEY ProCheck water test kit allows installers test for three main measures of a system’s water quality, including inhibitor levels, corrosion and pH levels.  

The procedure is straightforward: installers take a water sample, dip the dedicated test strips and hold them against the test card then simply scan them via the ProCheck App to receive immediate results. The advanced technology then relays recommended actions to the user’s phone within seconds. Installers can show the homeowner the need for water treatment and validate their recommendations, building trust in them whilst on-site and discuss any issues and potential treatments with the homeowner and remove the need for a repeat visit.

Technology-driven solutions such as ADEY ProCheck are set to play an increasingly prominent role as installers look to elevate the importance of boiler water system quality and ongoing maintenance best practice in the minds of consumers.  

For more information on ADEY’s products and solutions, visit