Expert Central Heating Tips – A Step-by-Step Guide to Bleeding your Radiator

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Expert Central Heating Tips – A Step-by-Step Guide to Bleeding your Radiator

Every home needs its radiators bled from time to time in order to keep the central heating system running efficiently and keep the bills down. If you notice that the radiator is cold to the touch at the top, or in some cases all throughout, even when the central heating system has been turned on for long, it’s time to bleed that radiator. Wondering why that happens? The air trapped in the radiator displaces the hot water flowing through it, thereby preventing it from warming up. This not only affects the heating in the room, but also reduces the energy efficiency. The process of letting this trapped air out is called bleeding the radiator.

What are the signs that indicate your radiator needs bleeding?

Apart from the obvious lack of adequate heating, there can be a number of signs that could indicate that your radiator needs attention. Lookout for any of the signs mentioned below:

  • Strange noises coming from the radiator
  • Cold spots on the radiator
  • Appearance of a damp due to inadequate heating
  • Presence of mildew on the walls

If you notice any or all of these signs or find that your radiator remains cold on top and warm at the bottom, it’s time to bleed it. Now that you know why and when you need to bleed your radiators, let us tell you how you can do it.

9 Simple Steps for Bleeding a Radiator

Before you begin, make sure you have the radiator bleed key handy. It is generally supplied with the radiator but if you do not possess one, you can easily get it from the local hardware store. Also, keep a cloth and container ready to catch any water that may come out of the radiator.

  1. Turn the central heating system on and put the radiators on their highest setting. Wait till all the radiators are fully heated, and then check them one by one to identify which ones need bleeding.
  2. Switch off the heating and wait for the radiators to cool down before beginning to bleed them. If you attempt to start the bleeding when the radiators are still warm, it may cause the boiling water to spurt out when you open the valves.
  3. Spread out the cloth underneath to safeguard the carpet or floor from getting stained with possibly discoloured water.
  4. Locate the bleed valve at the top of the radiator, towards one of its ends and place the container below it to catch any spillage.
  5. Fix the bleed key to the valve and turn it anti-clockwise. Make sure you only turn it less than halfway through and not fully, otherwise it will cause water to flow out after the air escapes.
  6. A hissing sound should indicate that the trapped air is escaping. Wait till all the air is out and you notice a steady flow of water leaking from the valve. It can take anywhere between a few seconds and a few minutes for the radiator to bleed, depending on the size of the radiator and the amount of air trapped inside.
  7. Once all the air is out, close the valve with the key by gently turning it in the clockwise direction till it is reasonably tight.
  8. Clean the surrounding area and move on the next radiator. Repeat the same process for the rest of them.
  9. Turn the heating on after you have finished bleeding all the radiators and check them for any noises or cold spots.

Sometimes there could be another underlying issue with the central heating system or radiators. If you’re in doubt or are uncomfortable bleeding the radiators yourself, we’ll be happy to help you. Flatley Heating is one of the leading plumbing and heating companies in Towcester, Milton Keynes and Northampton, and our friendly team of experienced and certified engineers can take care of all your central heating problems.

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