How to bleed a radiator

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Brits turned on their radiators as temperatures plummeted last week, with highs of 15C at the end of summer. The temperatures halved those earlier in the month and signalled the end of heatwave season for the UK. With more chilly weather to come, some people may find themselves needing to bleed their radiators.

How to bleed a radiator

Radiators sometimes take on air which gets trapped inside them.

The air stops the mechanism fully circulating warm water, which prevents the entire radiator from heating up.

People may find themselves needing to adjust the temperature of their unit as it takes longer to warm their home, incurring higher heating costs.

If this is the case, they should bleed their radiator.

Anyone doing so will need the following tools:

  • A radiator key – found at a local DIY store
  • A cloth, rag or container to catch water

To start, people should ensure they turn off their central heating and wait for it to cool, otherwise they may risk burning themselves and spraying boiling water.

Then use the radiator key to loosen the valve at the top by turning it counter-clockwise.

The escaping air should produce a hissing sound, and some water may dribble out with it.

Use the cloth or container to catch the excess water, and quickly retighten the screw once the hissing stops.

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They shouldn’t tighten it too much, however, as it could damage the valve.

Once the air has escaped, and the valve is closed, the process ends.

To check everything is in order, people need to turn on their heating and ensure every radiator panel heats up.

If not, the radiator may need bleeding for a second time.

Releasing the air may also have caused the boiler pressure to drop, so people should check.

Boilers should read a pressure level between 12 and 15 psi.

Low pressure may prevent some of the radiators heating properly if people’s homes have an upper floor.

To raise it, loosen the tap on the bottom of the unit until the pressure rises towards and acceptable range and tighten it again.

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