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By adopting the Fernox Express Inhibitor Test and Water Test App, housing association Magna Housing has been able to dramatically streamline its ability to service central heating systems. The combination of solutions is now set to be rolled out across almost 6,500 properties in Dorset and Somerset.
For domestic boilers to work efficiently, BS 7593:2019 and the Benchmark Commissioning Checklist recommend heating system inhibitor levels are checked annually and laboratory tested every five years. To comply with these regulations, Magna Housing, which is responsible for a wide portfolio of homes across the West Country, was undertaking postal laboratory analysis to check inhibitor levels when conducting its annual boiler services, or with new boiler installations across its properties – a process that is above and beyond the requirements.
Recognising the opportunity to save significant time on the system maintenance of its properties and minimise the time engineers were on-site, Magna Housing agreed to trial the Fernox Express Inhibitor Test to check inhibitor levels as part of its annual checks.
Heating services manager at Magna Housing, David Royle, says: “Fernox has vastly improved our operations and streamlined how we’re able to manage and conduct annual boiler servicing for each of our properties. As a housing association, using the Express Inhibitor Test has made it easier than ever to comply with important boiler and heating system regulations whilst ensuring our customers’ boilers operate efficiently.”
The Express Inhibitor Test is a dip test that determines whether central heating systems have the correct concentration of inhibitor almost instantly, providing a pass or fail result in just seconds. As a result, engineers at Magna Housing have reduced time spent on-site. Also, if a test fails, engineers can correct the issue immediately by re-dosing with inhibitor there and then, removing the need to arrange a repeat visit to site, and enabling the completion of more checks in a single day.
What’s more, the test results can also be easily managed and recorded with the Fernox Water Test app. When used with the Express Inhibitor Test, the Water Test app offers users a single resource to record annual water test results so that maintenance programmes across a wide range of different boiler systems can be managed and monitored easily. Engineers simply have to photograph the test strip using the in-app camera and select its colour to generate a pass or fail result. If the test passes a supporting ‘pass’ certification is provided and this verifies that the test has been completed and the system is fully protected. Conversely, if a test fails, engineers can immediately rectify issues whilst still on-site and re-test the system in order to generate the ‘pass’ certificate within the app. For Magna Housing, this usefully evidences that the system has been tested in line with BS 7593:2019 and the Benchmark Commissioning Checklist (and action has been taken to re-dose the system if required) across its portfolio.
The trial has been so successful, that Magna Housing now plans to use the Express Inhibitor Test across almost 6,500 properties. For problem systems, the company will also use the Fernox Water Quality Test (also compatible with the Water Test App) for full laboratory testing on its properties, every five years, which provides a more comprehensive analysis of water quality and corrective action.
Speaking on how the new product has benefitted the organisation, Pip Barnes, central heating team leader at Magna Housing, comments: “The Express Inhibitor Test is really easy and has meant our engineers can undertake vital system testing swiftly, therefore reducing time on-site and minimising disruption for customers. With this product, our engineers can now identify systems where inhibitor levels are low and remedy this issue instantly, all within one site visit. To put this into perspective, on average, 28% of properties require further treatment after initial water testing. By using the Express Inhibitor Test across our portfolio, we have the potential to eliminate the time wasted waiting for almost 1,800 return visits a year, as our engineers can now address system issues immediately, while still on-site.
“All of our engineers use the app to record test results from annual Express Inhibitor Tests and five-yearly laboratory Water Quality Tests, which means the management team can access information on any property, at any time, from one place. This gives us an entire, documented record of all our properties’ system health.”