How to Turn Off a Radiator When it Leaks

Radiator valve

Noticed that a radiator in your home has suddenly sprung a leak? Well, to prevent water damage, it’s best to turn the radiator off as quickly as possible.

That said though, if you’ve never turned a radiator off before, then you may be confused about how to do it. Thankfully, the whole process is simple, straightforward and can be completed in only a couple of minutes.

To help you turn off your radiator as quickly as possible next time it leaks, we’ve put together this step-by-step guide. Read on to see just how easy the whole process is and learn how to stop a radiator leak.

Step-by-step guide to turning off your radiator

A leaking radiator can be dangerous. As a result, knowing how to turn off a radiator when it leaks is an important skill. After all, if you see that water is leaking from your radiator, then you need to turn off the radiator and stop the flow of water as quickly as possible in order to prevent damage.

If you notice that your leak is coming from the radiator valve, then you may be able to stop it by closing the valve entirely. Exactly how you turn off an individual radiator and isolate it will depend on whether your radiator has thermostatic radiator valves or non-thermostatic radiator valves fitted. To help, let’s look at both options.

How to turn off a radiator with thermostatic radiator valves

  1. Locate the valve: If your radiator has a thermostatic radiator valve fitted, then you’ll normally find this on the left side of the radiator. You’ll know when you’ve found it because you’ll be able to see numbers. These correspond to the amount of heat that the radiator gives off.
  2. Close the valve: Once you have located the valve, turn the dial to 0. Once your dial has turned to 0, the radiator will no longer produce any heat and will be turned off.
  3. Isolate the radiator: If you have a modern system, you’ll notice that there’s another valve on the other side of your radiator (this time without numbers). If work is being done to your system to correct the leak, then you’ll need to isolate the radiator. To do this, turn the valve clockwise as far as it will go. Once both valves are closed, the radiator is completely isolated and any repair work can begin.

How to turn off a radiator with non-thermostatic radiator valves

  1. Locate the valve: A non-thermostatic radiator valve can be located on either the left or the right of the radiator. You’ll know when you’ve found the right one because the other valve on the radiator will be fixed or capped.
  2. Turn the radiator off: To turn your radiator off, turn the valve clockwise as far as it will go.

Closing the valve using either of these methods is likely to stop the leak. However, this will only provide you with a temporary fix. As soon as you’ve stopped the leak, you should replace the valve or ask a professional to do this for you.

How to find where the leak is coming from

Sadly, water can leak from a radiator for any number of reasons. For example, corrosion may cause water to drip out of old pipes and joints, while a worn-out packing or a washer may cause the valve to leak.

If you’re unsure where the leak is coming from, then you should dry the exterior of your radiator and then brush some dish soap across the front. When your radiator is switched on, the soap will bubble when it comes into contact with the leak.

Alternatively, you can completely dry the entire radiator, including the pipes (be careful not to touch these though because they will be hot). Then, gently rub the radiator with kitchen roll and check regularly to see when the paper becomes damp. You’ll most likely find a leak coming from the body of the radiator, the radiator controls or the couplings on the pipes to and from the boiler.

The good news is that most damage to a radiator can be repaired using simple tools - you may even be able to carry out the repairs yourself if you have the skills. However, several repairs will need to be rectified using a professional service. For example, if the leak is coming from a pipe, then you’ll need a professional plumber to drain and repair it as quickly as possible. No matter how serious the leak is, you should never attempt to alter your home’s boiler or heating system. This remedial work should always be carried out by a professional.

Of course, all of the above should be considered as general advice. If you have a leak and you’re unsure how to resolve it, we recommend getting in touch with a trained plumbing or heating professional as soon as possible. Alternatively, if you’re looking to repair a busted valve, then take a look at our range of radiator valves and accessories today.

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