Keeping your central heating running efficiently can save you money by allowing you to heat your home effectively using less fuel. One of the easiest and most basic things you can do to keep your heating working properly is to bleed your radiators. This is the process of releasing any air or other gas that can build up in your radiators over time which can prevent them from working at their full capacity.
If your radiator is failing to warm up properly, or feels cold in certain areas, it may signal trapped air within your radiator. While you may not be keeping them on much over the summer, it’s certainly worthwhile to fix them before you need them most.
Why bleed your radiators
When air gets trapped in your radiators, it can cause a blockage preventing parts of the radiator from heating up effectively. This means the radiator will take longer to heat up the room it is in and in most cases, people end up turning up the temperature on the radiator, or even the whole central heating system to compensate. It could be isolated to one radiator or your whole home’s radiators but it will mean your home takes much longer to heat up to optimum temperature, wasting both energy and money because the boiler is having to burn more fuel to work harder to achieve a comfortable temperature.
How to spot trapped air
The most obvious sign of trapped air is if you have cold spots in your radiator when it is in use. You can work this out fairly easily by touching the radiator, but be careful not to do this when the radiator is too hot as you could burn yourself. The best time to check this is when the central heating has just come on, while the radiator is still heating up but not hot enough to cause injury.
How did air get trapped?
Air tends to get trapped in your radiators over time through small leaks, especially if you find yourself re-pressurising your boiler often. Or for older systems, you may find air came in through the pump above the supply pipe during installation or through the tank in your loft.
How to bleed your radiators
To allow the trapped air to escape, you’ll need to bleed the radiators. Before you do this, make sure you have identified the radiator or radiators that need bleeding and then ensure your central heating is turned off and allowed time to cool down. You don’t want to burn yourself on the water inside them and this will help you remove as much air as possible.
Older radiators usually come with a special key known as a radiator key to allow bleeding. On modern radiators, you can usually use a standard flat head screwdriver to do the same job or buy a radiator valve key from a DIY store. You then need to find the radiator’s bleed valve, which is usually located at the top of the radiator on one end.
Before you begin, it is a good idea to have a cloth to catch any water that escapes during the bleeding process. Begin by slowly turning the valve anti-clockwise until you hear gas hissing out. Once gas starts escaping from the radiator, stop turning the valve and wait until all the gas is released. As this point, a small amount of water will probably start to dribble out of the valve at which point you should close it and use your cloth to dry up any escaped water. Make sure you tighten up the valve again, just as it was before and your radiator should be cleared. Turn your heating back on to double check.
The best way to keep your central heating system running efficiently is with an annual boiler service. DHS offer top quality boiler servicing in Bristol and the surrounding area to help your central heating keep running at peak efficiency all year round.