What are common radiator problems and how do I fix them?


Like all heating products, if radiators aren’t maintained regularly, they can develop some issues. The good news is that to fix common radiator problems, you probably won't need to be a professional. Some common problems with your radiator or radiator valves are usually much easier to remedy than you might think. The radiators in our homes can often be neglected unless we are modernising, expanding or changing them. However, if looked after correctly, they should work well for years to come. As experts in radiators and heating, we know some issues that may cause your radiator to work inefficiently. So, let us guide you through the top common issues you may be facing.




Air in the radiator

Probably the most common reason a radiator isn't working properly is because of air trapped in the radiator. The most common signs to look out for would be; a cold radiator, cold spots or cold at the top of the radiator. Trapped air could also be causing a noisy radiator. This can easily be remedied by bleeding the radiator. If you find the bleed vent is damaged or worn from constant use, these can be purchased and replaced easily.


You can bleed your radiators very quickly without too much hassle. To open the radiator bleed valve to release the trapped air, you'll need to turn the key anti-clockwise (start with a quarter turn) and keep turning until you hear a hissing sound. Take care, the water may be very hot. It is important to ensure your radiators have been off prior to bleeding.



Sludge in the radiator

This is a build-up of corrosion deposits and can be damaging to your heating system. It is indicated again, by cold spots. The sludge forms at the bottom of the radiator as they are metallic material created by corrosion. Ultimately sludge can impact the flow of hot water through the radiator. Fixing this is a bit more involved and will require a flush through on the radiator. Sometimes, if there is a blockage, the whole system may need flushing. You will need to use a cleanser and then top up with an inhibitor. ColumnRads recommends using Fernox F1 Protector and F3 Cleaner for this job. This is a relatively simple job; however, it might be worth contacting a professional for advice if you’re unsure.










Oversizing or undersizing

It may seem obvious, but radiators that are too large or too small for the room can cause fluctuating temperatures. Although not a high priority, it is worth considering changing the radiator if you’re having heating problems. We have a great tool where you can check the size of the radiator you need for each room to ensure you get optimum heating and efficiency. Head over to our BTU calculator now.



Leaking radiator

A radiator leaking from the pipework or from where a thermostatic radiator valve (TRV) connects, could simply mean that the nut has worked loose. This could easily be fixed with a quick turn of a monkey wrench. With that in mind, if you see a lot of water flow from a pipe, you may wish to turn off the water system in the home and call a professional, so that it doesn’t continue to get worse or dampen your floors or walls. However, a leaking radiator can mean a change the radiator as it is can be a serious problem. You can buy leak sealers and external sealers, but generally as leaks are caused by corrosion it may be too late to save. Although that's the worst-case situation, it is good to be prepared.


When you need to replace your radiator, we have a huge range available to you. From the more eco conscious electric radiators, to the more modern and sleek flat panel radiators we have you covered. If you’re looking for something a bit different, we have some great coloured column radiators to help you make a statement and stay cosy. If you can’t find the colour you’re looking for, why not choose one from hundreds of RAL colours available and get a custom colour quote today.



Warranty Issues

If you want to take a DIY approach to this maintenance, then there are a lot of resources you can find online that will be able to help. It's is also good to remember that some warranties can become void if you are not maintaining your radiator regularly and with the right chemicals.  Sometimes knowing what to look out for is enough as if you can catch an issue early, you can prevent it from damage.


Looking for some DIY inspiration? Check us out over on Pinterest. We’ve got room and décor inspiration to get the ideas flowing.