The best way to make sure your home is using energy as efficiently as possible, especially when the winter comes and you start heating it, is to perform a regular maintenance of your heating system. If you’ve noticed that some parts of your radiators are cold, then you probably have some air trapped inside. Luckily, it is very easily resolved by bleeding the radiators.
The process is very simple, and even if you’ve never heard of it, you will be able to do it right after you’ve read this simple guide. And the best thing is that you don’t need a professional to do it, or any extensive technical knowledge of the system. All you need is a couple of simple tools and a few minutes of your time.
Follow the steps below and find out how to do it.
What Does It Mean to Bleed a Radiator?
Bleeding a radiator means releasing the trapped air inside it. When the air is trapped, certain air bubbles are formed which prevents a normal flow of hot water throughout your radiators. This causes them to have cold spots and therefore decreases their heating ability. They will produce less heat, so you will have to turn up your heating system in order to make your home warmer. This inevitably leads to higher energy consumption as well as higher energy bills.
Bleeding your radiators will prevent all the energy and money waste and significantly increase the energy efficiency of your entire heating system. It is a very simple process that you can do yourself, and you will notice a significant change once the radiators are fully functioning again. Your home will be much warmer with less energy waste.
How to Bleed Radiators – Main Steps
Before you get started, make sure you have everything you need at hand. Since this is a fairly simple process, you will need only a couple of simple tools: a radiator key – a traditional bleeding key that is inserted into the radiator, or a standard screwdriver if you have a more modern radiator, and a towel or a cloth to hold up against the bleed valve. Additionally, you can also place a bucket under the valve to catch the water if there is too much of it.
When the heating is on, go around the house and check which radiators aren’t fully warming up, i.e. not warming all the way up to the top. Once you’ve determined that, you will know which radiators need bleeding.
It is recommended to turn the heating completely off for a couple of reasons. First, because you will be able to see what the pressure in the system should be, which will be further explained in step three, and second, because while you’re bleeding the radiators you will not be sprayed by any hot water from the system when the radiators are fully filled.
When your heating system is fully cooled down, you need to find the pressure gauge on your boiler and remember what the pressure is when the system is fully cooled. The reason you need to do this is that when you bleed your radiators you’re releasing pressure from the central heating system that then has to be topped back up again. This way, when you’ve bled your radiators, you will know how much pressure to add back into the system.
If you don’t know where the gauge is, you can google it or check your boiler documentation, which will usually also say what the recommended operating pressure is on your system.
Now you can start bleeding the radiators one by one. Locate the release valve on the radiator. It will probably be somewhere on the top of the radiator, on the side or in the corner, and it is quite visible and easy to find.
Insert the bleed key into the radiator valve and hold the towel you’ve prepared, or place the bucket just below it to catch any water that comes out. The key should be turned counter-clockwise. Once the water comes out, it will also release the air and the pressure from the radiator. You will know the process is working if you hear a hissing sound when the valve is turned. This means that the pressure is reducing.
Once the hissing sound stops and the water begins to trickle down steadily, it is time to close the valve. This means that there is no more air inside and that the pressure is released. Close the valve quickly, turning it clockwise, and tightening it just until the water stops coming out.
In step three we talked about the pressure gauge on your boiler. We recommended remembering what the pressure was once your system was fully cooled down, as that is the operating pressure of your system. If you’ve remembered then you’ll have no problem here.
So, in this last step, all you need to do is top up the pressure if it is too low after the radiators were bled. You need to find a lever or a tap on your boiler, or on your central heating system that adds extra water into the system. Now simply add the water until the pressure is back where it was at before you started the bleeding process.
Now you are done, and your radiators should be as good as new, heating up equally without any cold spots.
Bleeding your radiators is an important process if you want your heating system to be as efficient as possible once the heating season begins.
When the pressure builds up in your radiators, it causes the formation of air bubbles which are then trapped inside. They prevent the normal circulation of water and cause parts of your radiator to cool down. This way the energy is wasted and the rooms are not properly heated.
Bleeding your radiators is the best solution for this.