How to bleed a radiator – the 7 steps to follow once a year

Heatable demonstrate how to bleed a radiator

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Trapped air stops warm water from circulating around your radiator, making your radiator cold at the top and warm at the bottom. When your radiator is full of trapped air, it can take longer to warm up your room and cost you more money. To fix this and make your radiator more efficient, you need to bleed your radiator. chatted to’s Gas Registered engineer Ben Mars to find out how to bleed a radiator.

If you have noisy radiators or radiators that don’t heat up evenly, they’re probably trapped with air and need bleeding.

Ben said: “Over time excess air can build up within your central heating system, leading to cold spots in your radiators and the uneven distribution of heat throughout your central heating system.

“To rid your system of the excess air, you need to periodically bleed your radiators, ideally once a year.”

Bleeding your radiators sounds complicated, but it is actually relatively simple.

However, Ben pointed out that it can be a dirty job because central heating water often contains sludge.

He said: “Lay some sheets down around the radiators before you start and avoid wearing your best attire.”

You only need one piece of equipment to bleed air from your radiator: a radiator key.

Radiator keys cost about £1 and are available at most DIY stores or even on Amazon.

Ben has broken down the seven steps to bleeding your radiator.

To bleed air from your radiator, follow these simple steps:

  • To begin, turn your heating off and allow your radiators to cool.
  • Always begin with the radiators on the lowest level and gradually move upstairs to the last radiator in the system.
  • Open the thermostatic valve fully.
  • Locate the air vent and open it, typically this is at the top of the radiator, on the opposite side to the thermostatic valve.
  • With the radiator key, unscrew the air vent, also referred to as the bleed screw. Unscrew it gently, until you hear air whistling. After a while, the valve will spit water. Which will usually be brownish. Leave the valve open for a few seconds until the trickle of water is regular, then close it.
  • Once the trickle is running clear, tighten the screw as though you were closing a tap.
  • Finally, set the thermostatic valve to your desired temperature.

Once you have completed bleeding all of your radiators, Ben said you may discover that your system’s pressure has dropped and will need topping up.

He explained: “You can build it back up again by adding water via the filling valve.”

The filling valve is usually very near or located on the underside of the boiler and fixed to the pipework.

It is a short braided hose with connections at either end.

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