Radiators are incredibly low maintenance, that’s why they’re one of the most used home heating appliances in the world. From Reina Radiators to DQ Heating and every designer brand in between, each ensures that every model is easy to install and will run effectively for years to come.
Despite their efficiency and sturdiness, your radiator will no doubt run into problems at some point down the line. Whilst some fixes will require an expert, there are others which are easily fixable by the average homeowner. Whilst the science behind a radiator’s functioning may be clever and the balance of home heating complex, fixing your radiator can be incredibly simple.
How does a radiator work?
Whether a white or black radiator, all units work in the same way. Unless you’re working with an electric model, most radiators are central heating based.
Whilst each radiator differs in its design or heat output, they all function through something called heat convection. As hot water runs through the pipes of your home, thermostatic valves, found on the side of your radiator, ease this hot water into your radiator unit. Dependent on the pressure you allow it to reach, your radiator will warm up due to the hot water running through it.
Whether you own a vertical radiator or a column radiator, the design and material used means that the heat from the unit rises into the space it’s installed in.
In a process called convection, the accumulated heat will rise and spread through your room. Cold air is recycled into the radiator, rises as warm air through the radiator. With this cycle comes a finely tuned balance that brings warmth and comfort to homes everywhere.
Now you have a simple idea of how the finely tuned balance of your heating system is maintained, it’s time to explore some of the common problems that you may run into.
Cold patches in your radiator
Radiator cold patches are an annoyingly common occurrence for radiator users.
The loss of heat can lead to uneven heating in your property and in the long run, can waste a lot of energy. The cold patches in a radiator are often caused by air bubbles forming in the system. As water runs through the panels or columns of your radiator, air can sometimes get trapped in the pressurised water system and cause uneven heating.
Bleeding your radiator is the best way to get rid of any air bubbles. First off, make sure that you have turned off the central heating as you’ll want the radiator water to be cold for the process.
All radiators should come equipped with a bleed key. Use this to turn open the bleed valve on your radiator. You should hear a hiss as you turn the valve open, and you should keep it open until the hiss is replaced with dripping water from the valve. The hiss signifies that the trapped air is escaping, and when it stops, make sure that you have placed a bucket or towel underneath the drip area so as to avoid forming a puddle.
Blocked pipes can be caused by sludge and grime build up inside your central heating system. The longer that you allow this to accumulate, the more danger there is of a burst pipe or residual build up causing rust inside your radiator. You’ll know if your pipes are blocked as the radiator will have cold patches, or won’t heat up at all.
The best way to get rid of blockages is to apply a power flush to your central heating system. Power flushes are strong bleach-like solutions that dissolve and remove blockages from within your pipes. Make sure to switch off your central heating before applying the solution. Apply the power flush liquid to the water supply and then switch on your radiator system, allowing the solution to flow through your radiator system and affected pipes.
Is there another radiator problem you’re struggling with?
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