Radiator bleeding, what is it and when do it need it?
So the winter is very much upon us, the frosty mornings have arrived and my feet are getting very cold walking the puppy through the long grass! The grass is so long he has to jump to get through some parts, and comes out looking like a drowned rat! But he seems to thoroughly enjoy it and always goes back for me, which of course makes training harder and harder!
With the winter comes the need for the heating, and in this last week mine is now well and truly ON!!! But with turning the heating on for the first time there can be some teething issues with using it again for the winter. And one of the most common issues is hearing the radiators bubbling, and maybe only half of the radiator heating up (normally the bottom half or half closest to the filling pipe). This could mean that the rad needs bleeding.
If you’ve never done this before please read on for a simple list of helpful steps.
Be sure to check for any signs of a more serious problem, a water leak or any other issues that could cause issues with your heating system. If you are unsure then contact your plumber.
Bleeding a radiator is a simple thing, but like everything, preparation is the key to ensuring you do not hurt yourself or cause any damage. So by following these easy steps, you should be ok.
Step 1 – Be sure to turn off the heating and allow it time to cool so cold water is running in the system, not hot.
Step 2 – Collect the tools you will need and get them ready. Ideally, you are going to want a dry cloth/towel and maybe a bowl to try and catch any water. You can get a specific plastic bowl with fittings to attach onto the rad but sometimes this is really not required. And most importantly you will need a rad bleed key. If you don’t have a rad bleed key there are available from almost any hardware store, B&Q, Homebase etc. and also we do have FREE ones at our office we are happy to give away.
Step 3 – Find the square bleed value/screw on the radiator. Place the bowl directly below this and get the towel ready for action.
Step 4 – Fit the rad bleed key over the screw, and then cover tightly with the towel to ensure that any escaping water is soaked up. Turn the key anti-clockwise approx ½ turn and as the air releases, you will hear a hissing sound.
Step 5 –Whilst this is hissing the air is still escaping, the hissing will eventually stop and water will begin to trickle. This is the time to tighten the screw back up to stop the trickle. Be careful not to over tighten and damage the screw, and key.
At this point, the rad should now be full of water and all air has been bled out.
Step 6 – Turn the heating back on and allow time for the rad to heat up. The rad should be hot from top to bottom now. You may find that the pressure has dropped slightly and you may need to top this up using the filling loop on the boiler/boiler pipework.
If this has sorted the issue then you can now cuddle up with your hot chocolate on the sofa and enjoy the heat from your heating system.
If the rads are still not heating properly then the problem may be greater than just a simple bleed and it is advised you seek assistance from a plumber/heating engineer.
I hope this has been useful, when my father first taught me to do this I wasn’t sure when I might need it. Now I have used this on my own property and helped tenants and landlords alike save £££’s on under efficient boiler systems and on un-needed plumber bills.
As always there are a number of interesting (in my humble opinion) and useful articles at Property Blog Bournemouth and here at Gordon Barker. If you wish to discuss this article, any of the other or any property related topic, in general, please do get in touch on 01202 292400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If this has sorted the issue then you can now cuddle up with your hot chocolate on the sofa and enjoy the heat from your heating system. If the rads are still not heating properly then the problem may be greater than just a simple bleed and it is advised you seek assistance from a plumber/heating engineer.