Why Is My Radiator Leaking?

Puddles of radiator water dripping from, pooling under and damaging your heating unit is a more common occurrence than you might think. And - we don’t have to remind you - it can be frustrating.

Whatever model your radiator is, our range at Great Rads is built to last. With some models holding a warranty reaching up to 25 years, we have faith in the longevity and efficiency of our heating units. But, that doesn’t mean problems won’t ever arise.

Fortunately, the first step in finding a solution to a leak is identifying why the radiator is leaking in the first place and, whilst some radiator leaks will require you to call in a plumber, other variations are easily fixed in a few simple steps.

Why is my radiator leaking?

What Damage Can Radiator Leaks Cause?

Regardless of whether you own a vertical radiator or horizontal radiator, a leak can cause a whole host of problems in your home. If you don’t fix your leak as soon as possible, the damage caused to your property could be exacerbated.

Damage to Your Floor

By definition, a leak causes excess water where you don’t want it.

If you have wooden floors, the leak will dampen the boards and could, over an extended period of time, cause them to warp and require refurbishment or replacement. Leaks are also a threat to electrics installed around the leak, which could be compromised if wet.

Reduced Home Heating

Another obvious problem that arises from radiator leaks is that it reduces your BTU output, all while pumping in as much energy as before. In layman’s terms, a radiator leak will decrease the temperature to which your unit heats up and lower your home’s overall efficiency, all while still using the same amount of energy.

Even over just a day or two, this can cost you money in heating bills, whilst affecting the comfortable climate you’ve come to enjoy within your property.

What Are the Different Types of Radiator Leaks?

Now that you know the scale of the potential damage, what are the main causes of radiator leaks? Below are some of the most common reasons for radiator leaking and (most importantly!) how they can be fixed.

Radiator Valves

A leaky radiator valve makes up the majority of common radiator leaks. Radiator valves are usually found on the bottom sides of your radiator and are used to regulate the temperature and water pressure of your unit.

There are two main reasons for a leaking valve. The first is that it’s not been tightened properly and the second is that its internal workings have worn down.

How to Amend a Leaky Valve

Turn your valve to the off position to check whether it’s a loose valve or a valve fault that’s the cause.

Top Tip 

Make sure that you have placed a bucket or towel under where the leak forms before proceeding.

If the cause is just a loose valve, you should see the leak diminish after turning it off. But, if it is due to internal faults, the leak will continue.

To repair the valve, drain the central system and replace it with a new version of the same model. Simply unscrew the nuts connecting your water pipe to the valve and replace it. After this, you will need to bleed your radiator to get rid of any excess air.

Rusting Radiator

Corrosion in your radiator can lead to major leakages. If your radiator is rusting, then perforations and holes can form in the body and joints of your unit. This will eventually lead to leaking.

How to Amend a Rusting Radiator

Rust inhibitor can be added to your radiator system to defend against further damage. However, if it is too far gone, then you may need to replace the radiator unit altogether.

Loose Spindle

A leaking radiator spindle, like the valve, is usually down to loosened attachments or an irredeemable fault. If the spindle is faulty, then you must replace it, whilst loosened appliances can be fixed by tightening the gland nut inside your spindle.

Radiator Coupling

Whether you own a chrome unit or an anthracite radiator, the loose coupling can cause leaks.

These can be tightened, but if this doesn’t stop the drip, then you might need to replace the olive within the coupling. This means opening the bleeder valve, which can be found at the top of the radiator. To do this, loosen the feeder pipe and radiator nut and drain the water out of your unit. You’ll then find the olive within, Take it out and replace it with a new olive, making sure to wrap PTEF tape around it before reinstalling.

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