Are you getting the most heat out of your radiators?

Over time, air can seep into your central heating system and will tend to bubble up to the top of your radiators. This air can affect how efficiently the radiators heat your rooms and it can also make them noisy as air moves around the system.
Below you can read a handy guide on how to bleed your radiators. If you are in any doubt you can always contact Sureway Heating Services on 01926 310900. We are Gas Safe registered plumbing and heating specialists, serving Leamington Spa, Warwick, Kenilworth, Coventry, Stratford-upon-Avon and surrounding areas.

What will you need?

  • A radiator key 
  • A couple of cloths and/or a bowl


Turn on your heating
Make sure your radiators are fully heated before moving onto the next step. This helps to build up pressure and let the air out and enables you to check which radiators need bleeding.

Find out which radiators need bleeding
Check each radiator if it’s cold on the top, being careful not to burn your hands. If a radiator has a cold spot it may need bleeding.

Turn off your central heating
Once you’ve identified which radiators need bleeding, switch off your central heating. Make sure the radiator is completely cooled before you start, otherwise any water that escapes could be dangerously hot. When you come to release air from a radiator, water can spray out, so you’ll need to protect your paintwork and flooring. Wedge one towel between the radiator and the wall, and lay another on the floor beneath. If directional valve plugs are fitted on your radiators, always direct the bleed hole towards the floor to help you catch the water.

Bleed the radiators
Wait until all your radiators have cooled down completely. You will find the valve at one end of the top of your radiator. Attach the radiator key to the square part in the centre. Hold the key with a cloth and use another cloth or a bowl to catch any drips as you slowly turn the key anti-clockwise for about half a turn. You will hear a hissing sound if air is leaving the radiator. Once you hear a gurgling sound or water begins to come out, you’ll need to twist the key clockwise to close the valve, being careful not to over-tighten it. If the valve accidentally comes out, which can happen if it is very tight, use an adjustable spanner to replace it.
Check the pressure
Depending on your heating system you might need to check the pressure. If the pressure is too low, you’ll need to top up the water using the lever or tap on your boiler (the ‘filling loop’). The manufacturer’s instructions will tell you what the optimal level is and give you guidance on how to re-pressurise your boiler. If in doubt about any part of this process, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and if you’re still not sure, ask a professional for help.

Check your radiators again
When the pressure in your heating system is normal, turn your heating back on and check your radiators for cold spots. If any cold spots remain, or if you find that they come back quickly, you may have underlying problems in your heating system. This may indicate a small air leak or sludge in the system. Seek professional advice to investigate any problems further.

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