Now that winter is behind us, we can all start enjoying the summer sun and take advantage of reduced heating costs and get those radiators checked out whilst they’re not in use. One of the top ways to ensure that your radiator always works perfectly is to buy high-quality radiators in the first place. Click here to view radiators that will never let you down.
However, with a little know-how and a few handyman tips, you can check your radiators without a plumber to get them ready and fully working for when the winter period comes around again. From bleeding radiators to balancing them, we will cover all you need to know about maintaining radiators.
Radiators have been around for a long time in households, and although most of us usually forget about them during the summer months, it is the best time to start maintenance work. Why? Well firstly, it is easy and requires basic knowledge, secondly, because during the summer you will not be using them, and thirdly, because plumbers are more available if major problems occur.
Balance a Radiator
The first thing you should do for this process is to make sure the radiators are cold, and your heating system is switched off.
- Next, you will need to remove the radiator valve cap and open all the radiator valves anti-clockwise in your home.
- Switch the heating on, and take note of how long it takes each radiator to heat (the one closest to the boiler will be the fastest).
- Then once they’re hot, switch the heating off and wait until the radiators go cold.
- Now switch the heating back on and turn the lockshield valve of the fastest heating radiator clockwise, and leave it open by a quarter turn.
- When the radiator is warm, take a temperature reading from the pipework near the valve as well as on the side of the thermostatic valve.
- Open the lockshield valve fully until the temperature difference is at 12°C between both points.
- Now that the first radiator has been balanced, you can continue this procedure on every radiator in your home from the fastest warm-up time to the slowest.
Bleeding a Radiator
If your radiator is not heating up properly, it may need bleeding. This method is also relatively simple but can be quite messy. You will need a few old rags, a bucket, and a radiator key or flathead screwdriver.
- Switch the heating off and open the radiator intake valves.
- Pop your dirty rags on the floor and the bucket under the radiator.
- Make sure the radiator is completely cold, and half turn the bleed screw anti-clockwise. The bleed screw is situated at the top of the radiator. It is that small square hole inside.
- It should start hissing, which means the air is coming out. Then the water will start pouring out into your bucket.
- Once water starts pouring, re-tighten the valve clockwise.
- Turn the heating on again and check to see if it heats up correctly.
A Few Other Things to Check
A tip to keeping your valves in working order is to turn them to their highest position and switch off the heating system throughout the summer months. Doing so will prevent them from not heating up properly when you come around to switching them back on again. Also switching the heating system on once a month for half an hour to see if the radiators heat up is another good way to check if they’re working properly – this will avoid any bad surprises in the colder months.
When to Call a Professional
If using any of the methods shown above does not solve a cold radiator issue, you should call your local plumber for a quick inspection and let the professionals handle it. It could be an issue with the boiler, which requires a gas-safe engineer.