So - it's officially that time of year again, where putting a jumper on just isn't cutting it! Most of us have been trying to avoid putting the heating on to save our energy costs rising, but heating your home doesn't have to be a strain on your household budget.
One of the biggest drains on gas usage in the winter months is due to not having an efficient heating system. A huge 84% of UK households have gas and central heating, making radiator maintenance an essential job for most of us. But while it's simple enough to carry out, it's as task we often overlook.
Knowing how to bleed a radiator can make your heating more efficient, keep your boiler in peak condition and it can save you money on your heating costs.
So how exactly do you bleed a radiator? Here we give you a step by step guide.
When should you bleed your radiators?
Have you ever put your heating on and noticed the radiators are lukewarm? This could be because there are air bubbles trapped in the system - this is when you need to bleed your radiator. These bubbles prevent hot water from circulating effectively, so radiators aren't as hot as they should be and take longer to warm your home (meaning extra £££ and energy is being wasted). Inefficient heating can also lead to mould and damp - the uneven heat and drop in temperature in your home, causes water and moisture in the air to form on surfaces and walls.
Before beginning the task of bleeding your radiators, you'll need to check for blockages in the system. Firstly, turn the gas central heating on and make sure that each thermostatic valve (TRV) is on full power and has nothing in the way of it. This is important because TRVs work by sensing the surrounding air's temperature, which will be effected if covered up. You can usually find the TRV at the bottom/top corner of your radiator.
Once the heating has had time to warm up, check how hot each of the radiators are in turn. Air bubbles in the gas central heating system rise, so you'll find air collects at the top of radiators and steadily gathers, making your home colder as the problem worsens. So if a radiator isn't heating up, or is cool at the top and hot at the bottom, you'll need to learn how to bleed it.
The six steps of how to bleed your radiators.
1, Start by turning the central heating off, otherwise boiling water could spray out of the radiator when you bleed it, ensure you wait a while for the system to cool down.
2, Gather your tools: raid the kitchen for a dry cloth like a tea towel, and a bowl or tray to catch water. The only specialist bit of kit you'll need is a radiator key, which you can get cheaply at most DIY shops. A pair of strong, narrow pliers can do the job but risk damaging the valve, so use a radiator key if you can.
3, Find the square bleed screw at the top corner of your radiator, and place the bowl or tray directly underneath it at the base of the radiator.
4, Next, place the radiator key over the bleed screw (it should fit snugly), cover it with another cloth and slowly turn the key anti-clockwise for about half a turn. As the air releases, you'll hear a hissing sound. At this point, hold the cloth close to prevent water dripping or spitting onto the radiator.
5, Once the air stops hissing and the water begins to trickle out steadily, tighten the screw again, being careful not to over-tighten and damage the valve. Be sure to wipe down the radiator to avoid leaving any moisture, which could cause rust.
6, Switch the heating on again, and check the boiler pressure. If it's below the optimal level, you may need to boost it by using the filling loop on your boiler. This is usually a tap or lever on the main water supply to your boiler. Finally, check that all the radiators are heating evenly and that none of the bleed valves are leaking. You may need to bleed some radiators a second time, but if the problem still isn't resolved, contact a heating engineer.
Hopefully your radiators will now all be heating effectively and you can put your feet up with a nice cuppa!
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