Fernox, a leading producer of water treatment chemicals, has announced that its inhibitor F1 can be used with softened water – great news for everyone who uses a Harvey water softener! This is stalwart progress towards correcting the myth that some boiler manufacturers tell their customers that softened water is not suitable for boilers. F1 is widely used throughout the heating and plumbing industry to protect mixed metal central heating systems against corrosion and scale.
According to a press release from Fernox, the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council (HHIC) issued the following statement earlier this year concerning the use of water softeners:
“Where a water softener is present in the dwelling ensure that a heating system primary circuit is filled with mains water via the general bypass valve as required within BS14173. Note: A water softener must comply with BS14173 (this states that there must be ‘a general bypass valve which enables the softening unit to be isolated from the mains, while maintaining water supply to the end user’. For installation requirements, refer to WRAS Information and guidance Note No 9-07-01 “Information for the installation of ion exchange water softeners for systems supplying water for domestic purposes”. Refer to boiler manufacturer’s instructions for any additional advice on softened water.”
This may all sound a bit technical, but the upshot of it is that, some of the boiler manufacturers that were incorrectly stating that a water softener cannot be used with their boiler, are now instead stating that any central heating installation where a water softener is present should not be filled with softened water rather than that it cannot be used at all. In existing installations where the primary circuit has already been filled with softened water, Fernox state that their inhibitor will provide protection. As you can see from our corrosion reports, we have never had a reason to believe that a softener would cause a problem to any boiler, regardless of whether an inhibitor is used, but this is marked progress in correcting the industry myth.
Fernox state “When a central heating system is filled with base exchanged softened water, Fernox Protector F1 will adequately protect the heating system as long as it is correctly dosed and maintained throughout the life of the system. The correct dose rate of Fernox Protector F1 can be verified using either a Protector Test Kit or a Fernox System Health Check, both available from plumbing merchants.” This is the same recommendation given for natural waters, indicating that Fernox Protector F1 inhibits in all water conditions.