Pipe scrapings!

For those of you who are interested in this sort of nitty gritty.

The photo below shows the contents taken from a strainer on the pipework from a ground loop into one of our heat pump systems. The system was just 5 months old at the time of the inspection....

As you can see, it is mostly plastic pipe scrapings with the odd bit of organic debris (leaf) etc. These strainers need to be checked and emptied regularly so as to avoid blockages and a consequent reduction in the flow rates of the heat transfer fluid. A reduction in flow can put a strain on the heat pump itself and reduce the overall efficiency of the system.....

In previous posts we have touched on the importance of regular servicing, and obviously a system needs to be properly installed so that the strainers are easily accessible for maintenance - not always a given!.

I asked our chief engineer whether he has had any interesting strainer "finds" over the course of his career:

His reminiscences included the tale from one of our earlier installations, where a short sighted squirrel had filled the main header pipe (100mm) with beech nuts! Apparently it took about a week to remove these from the flow meters....... The moral of the story - cap the pipe ends in future! On another occasion a chaffinch flew into one of our pipes and died. Its partly decomposed body had to be dismembered and pulled out of the flow meter connection point..... By comparison, a few plastic shavings can seem reassuringly dull!

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