Top five common radiator problems.

here is nothing like a bit of up and down and uncertainty and here in the UK at present in the political and European world we have just that. No-one likes to have a problem and radiator problems, although slightly more minor than a general election or Brexit debate, sure can be annoying. The good news is that common problems with your radiator, or radiator valves are normally a lot easier to deal with than the typical problems you might run into with your central heating system.

The heating in our homes is generally always neglected unless we are modernising, expanding or changing our homes. It is often when problems arise or when it is a good chance to get rid of problem radiators or it really does not work in that position anymore.

For whatever reason, radiator problems can go unknown until we change it. In some instances there is a constant low temperature in the room but we just accept it.

The summertime is an ideal time to have a good look at your heating system as you maybe only using the hot water and not the radiator circuit. This means that it is not critical to have the heating on allowing you time to investigate.

There are a few common radiator problems that you can do without a plumber or heating engineer and just as a regular maintenance tasks. Here is a summary of the top five common issues with radiator systems, that you can do without a central heating engineer.

Radiator air bleed vent

  • Air in the radiator – This is often indicated by a cold radiator or cold spots or areas at the top of the radiator and can easily be remedied by venting the bleed vent on the rad. If you find the bleed vent is damaged or worn from constant use, these can be purchased as a replacement item. You will need to drain the radiator down in order to change it. to do this you'll need a radiator key (also known as a bleed key). You can bleed your radiators very quickly without too much hassle. To open the bleed valve to release the trapped air, you'll need to turn the key anti-clockwise (start with a quarter turn) and until you hear a hissing sound. Take care, the water may be very hot. It should be noted that trapped air is one of the common causes of radiator problems. For example, this can also be the cause of a noisy radiator.System cleanser & inhibitor
  • Sludge in the radiator – This is a build-up of corrosion deposits and really not good. It is indicated by again cold spots but these form at the bottom of the rad as they are metallic material created by corrosion. This is a bit more involved and will require a flush through on the radiator and even whole system using a cleanser and then topping up with inhibitor.
  • Oversizing – This used to happen a lot more and it causes problems for the boiler and room comfort-ability. Rads that are too big cause fluctuating temperatures and although not a high priority is worth being on the list. You can check the radiator size you need by using our radiator BTU calculator.
  • Leaking radiator – Nasty little problem that is annoying and means more than likely a rad change, although you can buy leak sealers and external sealers. Unfortunately leaks are caused by corrosion and it means you have a poorly maintained system that needs cleaning out and protecting. However, that's the worst case situation. A radiator leaking from a pipe joint or from the point where a thermostatic radiator valve connects to the radiator or pipe, could simply mean that the nut has worked loose and a quick turn with the monkey wrench would be enough to fix the problem. 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 damage anything in your home.
  • No inhibitor – This has become a well identified problem as corrosion causes leaks, debris forming that collects in the boiler and real inefficiency in the central heating circuit. A good Inhibitor like the Adey MC1 is a concentrated inhibitor that protects the whole system and the radiators.