Radiator Problems

Radiator Problems

Posted on October 4, 2019

Following on from our article ” If your Gas Boiler isn’t working – tips to find out why” we touched upon some simple tricks to try before calling the experts! Now, we can assist in how to bleed a radiator and two of the most common radiator problems.

Radiators are classed as “wet” heating systems – this, as the name may imply, means they are filled with water. This water is originally heated by a boiler and circulated around the system of radiators within a premise. There are a few common problems that may occur within these systems, this article should help with two of the main ones:
If one radiator is not heating up or not working it likely requires bleeding or balancing. This is a very common fault to experience with very common causes. The first of which – there is an airlock in the radiator (it requires bleeding) the second, the water is not circulating (it requires balancing).

Unbalanced radiators will not heat up at the same speed as each other, leaving some areas of the house colder than others, maybe you have an issue with one radiator not getting hot at all but another will be scorching within seconds! Balancing radiators means matching the speed of radiator heating across the various rooms of your home. Bleeding of radiators, on the other hand, is something you would need to do in specific radiators when certain areas of a frame are not heating up. This is typically down to trapped air! You will benefit most at balancing your radiators if you have bled them first because you will get a more accurate temperature reading. If you’re uncertain where the error lies and you don’t know whether your radiators need balancing or bleeding – do both, just ensure step 1 is bleeding and step 2 is balancing. Top tip – if your pipes are making a gurgling or banging or rattling sound… this is usually a sign that you should bleed your radiator.

Bleeding of a radiator is done by pressing in a small valve at the top of the radiator, located at one end, with a ‘radiator key’ and holding in until all of the air has been released.

Follow our step by step guide:

  1. Turn your heating on and wait until your radiators have reached their maximum heat – this is the best method of finding any cold areas.
  2. Which leads onto the next step, taking due care and caution, run your hand over the radiator for any cold spots, making a note of any – this will tell you which radiators actually need bleeding.
  3. Now your investigations are complete, turn the heating off again and wait for the radiators to cool down.
  4. Next, you need to make your plan of attack – which order are you going to bleed your radiators in? If you find that you need to bleed more than one radiator, always start with the one on the ground floor that is furthest away from the boiler.
  5. Locate the radiator bleeding valve – You will usually be able to find the bleed valve at the top and side of your radiator. Some radiators have decorative grills or paneling which cover the valve, this would need to be removed first.
  6. The second part is arguably the most obvious – but probably the one that causes the most mishaps! Don’t forget your towel/container – Put a container or towel on the floor beneath the bleed valve to catch anything that comes out and protect the floor.
  7. Take your radiator bleed key and insert it into the bleed valve until they have locked together.
  8. Turning this key anti-clockwise will open the valve (remember rightie tightie lefty loosey? That’s the case here too!) This will allow the air to escape and you should start to hear the air slowly escaping. Be careful not to turn the valve too far too soon or too quickly to avoid the water escaping too rapidly and thus, bleeding out air insufficiently.
  9. Once the hissing sound and air stop and water comes out instead – your radiator bleed is complete.
  10. So of course, turn the key back clockwise to lock once again and be sure this isn’t done up too tight otherwise it may cause damage to the valve.
  11. Repeat as necessary to whichever radiators are required before conducting a further check of the radiators once more.

Secondly, balancing your radiators, this allows more water to flow to the colder radiators and restrict the flow of heated water to radiators that are too hot. For example – if you notice your radiator in your kitchen heats up within seconds yet the radiator in the lounge seems to take a year – balancing could be necessary! To encourage water to flow effectively and fully around the system, the “easiest path” must be restricted. This is done by tightening the valves and potentially taking pressure readings and adjusting accordingly. It would typically require assistance from a trained plumber or heating engineer as it can be quite complex!

Get in touch with us today, we have a variety of contact options. Aura Heating thinks it’s important to assist with making fixing of inconveniences, convenient! You can get in touch with us instantly to discuss your radiator issues using our “live chat” service (bottom right of the screen) or by telephone on 02392 252171 or, please send us your queries via our contact page and we will get back to you as soon as possible!