It often feels like house problems like to pop up in the most awkward times, such as when you’re expecting guests or when the money is tight.
So if you’re facing a leak in your central heating system and it’s just not feasible to have a technician come over and fix it, especially if the technician is going to take several hours and a load of money.
That’s why leak sealant sounds like a tempting idea to fix a leak in the central heating system. But, considering the price, is it really a viable option? Or are there any caveats?
For more information on using leak sealant for central heating, keep reading this article!
Central Heating Leak Sealant – The Short Answer
Leak sealant is designed to treat tiny leaks rather than gaping holes in pipes. However, you could apply leak sealant over your central heating leak, but it likely won’t do the job. And even if it does, it’ll only hold the leak back for a short while before it snaps back.
If your situation is tight, you could apply a lot of sealant and hope for the best. Otherwise, it’s best just to get a heating engineer to fix the leak.
What Is Leak Sealant and How Does It Work?
A traditional leak sealant is a mix of chemicals blended to be soft and fluid so that the mixture can fit over any hole. Once it interacts with air or moisture, it solidifies and forms a solid polymer layer that blocks holes and gaps.
Leak sealant is ideal for small holes on non-delicate systems. For example, a hole in a container or a small gap in a barrel could do with sealant.
Even if you don’t know where the leak is, the sealant will find it for you. When you apply leak sealant over a surface, the fluid spreads across it until it finds the gaps. Once it does, it pours down them and finds air, which it interacts with to solidify.
Should You Use Leak Sealant on Central Heating Leaks?
After reading about leak sealants, you might think that it’s the perfect fix for your central heating leaks. However, there’s a reason we said it’s ideal for non-delicate systems. The emphasis here is on the word “non-delicate.”
Unfortunately, it is too good to be true. You can’t apply leak sealant on a pipe hole or pour seal liquid through the entry point and expect it to fix the problem. Yes, it might remedy the problem temporarily, but it won’t fix it.
Fixing a central heating leak isn’t this easy. And while applying leak sealant might do the trick for a short while, it won’t be long before the sealant snaps under pressure, and the leak returns.
That’s because leak sealant acts as a form of glue or plaster. It’s similar to applying a sticker on a hole in a bottle – it might stop the water flow for a bit, but it’ll eventually fall off because it’s not designed to hold this much force.
And in many cases, leak sealant won’t even work in the first place, and you’ll have wasted some money on a futile solution. But that depends on your boiler, anyway.
Another important point is that many boiler manufacturers will revoke your warranty if you apply leak sealant. This alone is probably not worth it but check with your particular boiler brand if you’d like to be sure.
Are There Any Risks to Using Leak Sealant on Central Heating?
The idea behind leak sealant is that when it interacts with air, it sets and blocks the gaps where the air passes through. And in an ideal world, there wouldn’t be any air in the central heating pipes, so the sealant should only set when it finds the leak, right?
Actually, that’s false. Most people have some amount of air in their pipes, especially in the air valves. So imagine what could happen if the sealant goes through that bit of air and solidifies down your pipes.
The worst-case scenario is if this new solid piece gets stuck near your central heating system’s heart. Now your whole system will be blocked and continue to run while skyrocketing your bill.
And if you use too little sealant, you might end up with these problems without even fixing the leak.
In this scenario, your best bet is to hire a heating engineer to flush the whole central heating system, which will cost at least as much as having the leak fixed, if not more.
Why Is Leak Sealant a Popular Suggestion, Then?
Despite the ineffectiveness of leak sealant and the risks of using it on central heating, it’s still a popular suggestion. We’ve heard it many times, and you probably have, too.
This popularity is mostly the cheap price tag and ease of use.
A bottle of relatively high-end sealant typically costs a couple of hours worth of minimum wage or less than a fifth of a plumber’s base pay.
Also, it’s commonly used by pouring it through the system’s entrance. So it’s effortless and doesn’t require disassembling the whole system to fix the leak.
Unfortunately, though, these promises aren’t enough to sell leak sealant as a proper solution to central heating leaks.
Central Heating Leak Sealant – The Bottom Line
In conclusion, you shouldn’t use a leak sealant to fix a leaky central heating pipe in almost all cases. The only exceptions we’d allow are if you’re in a rush and need it fixed right away. For instance, if you’re expecting guests and can’t have an engineer take his time fixing the leaks.
In other situations, you should avoid using a leak sealant. It’s a temporary fix that’ll crumble sooner than you expect. Plus, boiler manufacturers will warrant your warranty if you use sealant.
Instead, contact us to fix your leaks. We know it’s tempting to go for the cheaper and faster solution, but house problems are serious and deserve investment.