UK Leak Detection - Why you should not use leak seal!

A quick preface to this article is that since we do not offer “no find no fee” on heating leaks, UK Leak Detection avoids booking customers where leak detection is unlikely to succeed. We ask about the period of time taken to lose pressure and, if applicable, offer other advice when we feel it is not the time to locate the leak yet; some effort now can save money and issues later.

Many of our competitors will book any job in, and it might sound madness for us not to book work in! We pride ourselves on being honest and providing the best service we can at the right time. Often a simple task can improve the situation dramatically for you, rather than an expensive struggle without results.

With your boiler pressure dropping and a problem losing your heating or hot water, it is understandable that you look for a quick solution and as cheap as possible, why wouldn’t you? Leak seal sounds like it will solve the leak for you…It has got to be worth a try, right?

For most heating leaks, using Leak Seal is no longer the ‘quick fix’ our customers hoped it would be. If you are about to or just have tried it, please read on…

A leak fix does not come much cheaper than a bottle of leak sealant for around £20, normally about £100 for a plumber to visit. Brands like Fernox and Sentinel are prevalent brands of leak seal, as are many own-brand stores like Plumb Centre etc. From a bottle to pour into a header tank, radiator or magnetic boiler filter, these come in various applicators. Other applications use a radiator valve or filler loop via a pressurized spray can. To add to these points and be simple to use, you hope your heating pressure problems will magically be gone forever.

A leak sealant is simply a type of glue; think of it like wallpaper adhesive; the idea is that the leak drips out and is exposed to the air, then it sets.

Rather than a repair, think of leak seal products like a plaster on a cut, it does not last, and unlike us, your pipes will not heal themselves. When this ‘plaster’ eventually fails, the leak is still there.

A major issue is that the leak is not the only place in a heating system exposed to the air; there are air valves in the boiler; these jam up with sealant causing leaks, and radiators have air in them that sets the sealant. As the system leaks, the rust inhibitor gets diluted and then rust forms. This is an ‘oxidisation’ and produces gas that reacts with the sealant, setting debris in the radiators and making them partially block, becoming inefficient.

Worst case scenario is a system that still leaks slowly after the sealant is used, leaks seal is there, but unable to finish the job. Often a power flush is the only option, and these cost about the same as leak detection, if not a little more!

We are not saying it leak seal is universally bad. It does work for minor leaks, the sort that you top up every month or so and not within a couple of day or even hours.

Unless the leak is tiny, adding a leak seal is a false economy…

UK Leak Detection - Why you should not use leak seal!

UK Leak Detection talk to most boiler manufacturers; many state that any leak sealant invalidates a boiler’s warranty or, at best, is considered a poor solution to a problem.

Like that plaster on a cut, it will fall off at some point. Having set it is now a solid that can block your boiler, causing a big bill for a new heat exchanger….and you still have the leak to find!

Think of that plaster on a cut, not falling off but going into the bloodstream. It will cause a blocked artery or, worse, a heart attack if you think of the boiler as the heating system’s heart.

Leak seal sometimes causes problems with trace gas leak detection. The leak seal needs to set in air and reacts to the trace gas as ‘air’ and sets, often fixing the leak but only for a while.

We find a system that has been treated with a leak seal has no rhyme or reason to pressure loss. Some days pressure is all gone, and other weeks, boiler pressure lasts days or more; chasing a moving target is a real headache and one to be avoided!

It is best to locate a leak and deal with it permanently. This will initially cost more but is often absorbed as part of an insurance claim, making it far more cost-effective than the temporary leak seal solution.

Unfortunately, we tend to be involved after someone has already added it to the system, often well-meaning and hoping to solve the problem; hopefully, you are reading this before it is added!

Call UK Leak Detection now

 0800 228 9000