Pipelife ECO FAQ: Do Aluminium Radiators Corrode?

hands touching an aluminium radiator

One of the most common questions we get when talking about radiators is ‘do aluminium radiators corrode?’. Hopefully this blog will be helpful to you in explaining the relationship between aluminium and corrosion, as well as the science behind the process and what you can do to help prevent it. Without further ado, let’s jump right in!

Do Aluminium Radiators Corrode?

So, do aluminium radiators corrode? The short answer is yes. While aluminium isn’t a metal that’s particularly prone to corroding any more than any other material, it’s far from immune to it. Historically, one of the concerns with steel radiators is that they can rust. One of the benefits of aluminium radiators is that aluminium, as it is not an iron alloy, cannot rust in them the same way.

In fact, aluminium is far more resistant to corrosion than most other metals. As aluminium is an extremely reactive metal, it quickly reacts with air to form a layer of aluminium oxide around itself, which protects it from further oxidation. This makes it highly corrosion-resistant on its surface, which is one of the major benefits of aluminium radiators. However, not all forms of corrosion take place on the surface of the metal. Internal corrosion is still a significant concern.

How Do Aluminium Radiators Corrode?

The primary worry when it comes to aluminium is galvanic corrosion. This process takes place when two electrochemically different metals come into contact through a liquid medium. A central heating system will usually consist of a mixture of metals: brass valves, copper piping and the radiator itself which is usually made from steel or aluminium. When they undergo an electrochemical reaction, one metal will become an anode, while the other will take the role of the cathode. The water in your radiator will function as the electrolyte. During this reaction, one metal will corrode at the expense of the other. Which metal takes on what role is determined by its ‘nobility’, and as aluminium is a metal with very low nobility, it will normally be the one that will undergo corrosion.

How Can I Prevent Corrosion?

So what can you do to prevent this internal corrosion? That’s actually much easier than you’d think. By making use of a chemical inhibitor, you can help to prevent the electrochemical reaction from taking place and keep your aluminium radiators corrosion-free. This can be added into an open vented system via the feed, or injected into a sealed system. You’ll want to top up on your chemical inhibitor once a year.

There’s no guaranteed solution for corrosion – sometimes it’s just unavoidable – but with proper maintenance and topping up your chemical inhibitor, you are able to drastically reduce the risk. In terms of what to do if your aluminium radiators corrodegive us a call. At Pipelife Eco, we pride ourselves on being able to deliver expert, helpful advice. If you’re in need of assistance with your aluminium radiator or any of your other heating issues, we’re always here ready and available to help.

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