a step-by-step guide to Uswitch

When you bleed a radiator, you release air that is trapped inside, which improves the efficiency of your heating system. This means a warmer home and cheaper energy bills. You can do it yourself, we’ll explain how.

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How to bleed a radiator step by step

Step 1: turn on your heating

Turn on the heat so that all the radiators in your home are working.

Remember to wait until your radiators are fully heated before proceeding to step two. You need to increase the pressure inside the radiator both to determine if there is air trapped inside and then to force the air out.

Step 2: Test to find out which radiator (s) need to be purged

Once your radiators are hot, check each one individually to make sure that all parts of the radiator are warming up.

Cold spots, especially near the top of the radiator, mean that there could be air or gas trapped inside, which will need to be vented for the radiator to function properly.

Once you’ve found your cold spots, it’s time to move on to step three and purge the affected radiators.

Step 3: Bleed the Radiator

Now that you have identified the radiators to be purged, you can turn off your central heating. This will allow you to manipulate the radiators without burning yourself or soaking your floor.

Bleeding radiators require a radiator wrench (which is readily available at most local hardware stores if you don’t have one) or a flat-blade screwdriver.

At the top of the radiator at one end there will be a valve. You can attach the radiator wrench to the square end in the center or put the end of the screwdriver in the groove.

Hold the wrench or screwdriver with a rag (and have another rag ready to catch the drips), then slowly turn the radiator wrench or screwdriver counterclockwise – if gas escapes, you will hear a hissing sound.

Once the gas is gone, water will come out and the valve will need to be closed quickly. With the more modern screwdriver exhaust valve, water is likely to emerge as a jet rather than a dribble, so stay away!

Step 4: Check the pressure

Because water will inevitably come out of the system when you bleed the radiator, it will reduce the pressure of the system as a whole, which can limit its effectiveness. There should be a gauge on your boiler to allow you to check the overall system pressure. If it’s too low, you’ll need to fill it using your boiler’s lever or faucet, called a fill loop.

The exact process may differ from boiler to boiler, but essentially involves letting cold water enter the system until the pressure returns to an optimum level. Check with your boiler manufacturer if you are unsure, as most (if not all) of them will have tutorials on their websites to follow.

Afterwards, you may want to run another test to verify that your efforts were successful. Just turn on your heater, wait for all the radiators to heat up, and check if there are any cool spots.

What Are Automatic Radiator Valves?

Depending on the type of radiator you have, it may be possible to automate the process of purging your radiators using an automatic vent.

Automatic vents are automatic radiator bleeders that attach to your valves, which means you will need one per radiator. The vent lets air out gradually, which increases the efficiency of your radiator and means your boiler doesn’t have to work so hard.

How else can you improve your heating?

There are many other gadgets designed to improve the efficiency of your heating. Radiator insulation film, for example, is an easy way to ensure that your radiators heat your room, as opposed to your walls.

An insulating sheet sits behind your radiator and reflects the heat it generates into the room. They are widely available at hardware stores and you should be able to install them yourself.

A slightly more expensive option (but still under the £ 25 mark) is the radiator booster. It is basically a stretched fan that sits on top of your radiator and pushes the hot air generated around your room. Although the space heater uses electricity to operate, it will save you more on your heating bills.

If you’ve ever wondered if it’s cheaper to heat your whole house or just the rooms you use, you’ll find the answer in our guide.

It is also important to ensure that the heat generated is not wasted by keeping your home and rooms well insulated. Drafts around window and door frames are on the easier end of the spectrum, but you can take bigger and more expensive insulation measures, such as cooling the walls and attic insulation. . It costs more upfront but will save you more money in the long run.

To learn more and see if your home is suitable, you can read our guides on attic insulation and wall insulation (and more) in our insulation guide section.

Compare and change energy today

Want to switch to a cheaper offer? Run an energy comparison to get started.


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