How to bleed a radiator

If you’re finding your radiators aren’t heating up properly it’s likely they need to be bled to combat the issue and improve your home’s heating efficiency.

Luckily, it’s a straightforward job which can be completed in a few simple steps. 

Here’s what you’re going to need:

  • Radiator key 
  • Old cloth/towel 
  • Bucket

Step one 

After identifying which radiators need bleeding, start with the ones furthest away from the boiler. Ensure your heating is off and all your radiators are cold before beginning! 

Step two 

Locate the bleed valve (they’re normally located at the top and look like a round hole with a square inside) and place an old cloth or towel beneath to catch any escaping water.

Step three  

Insert the radiator key and turn the valve anti-clockwise and release the air, you should hear a hissing sound. 

Step four

Once the water starts to escape and the hissing sound stops, turn the key anti-clockwise to close the valve.

Step five 

Repeat with any other radiators that need attention, making your way back to the boiler.

Step six 

Check your boiler pressure gauge. If it’s too low you’ll need to repressurise the system. However, if everything is normal you can switch the heating back on and check your radiators are all performing as they should.

There you have it – just a few simple steps to get your radiators performing as they should and your home all nice and cosy again. 



Why is my radiator cold?

The primary purpose of a radiator is to heat our home and keep us warm, however, sometimes this isn’t always the case. 

The most common issue faced when your home isn’t hitting temperature, is that there may be cold spots on your radiator. There are a few reasons why this issue can occur, but luckily more often than not the issue can be quickly solved and we have some handy advice to share to help you do this.

The first step to fixing the issue is identifying which part of your radiator is causing the problem as each area can have a different cause. 

Radiator cold at the bottom?

The likely cause of this is a build-up of sludge and debris, which then obstructs the hot water circulation leaving cold spots in the areas it can’t be reached. Rust, hard water and limescale can be just some of the factors leading to the build-up. 

To fix this issue you will want to perform a power flush of the radiator. Whilst this is a method that can be done at home we would always recommend if you’re unsure to get a professional in to help. 

Radiator cold at the top 

If your radiator is cold at the top, or even the top and the bottom then the likely cause is trapped air within the system. Often the air rises to the top but the hot water remains at the bottom which is how this issue is started. Luckily this is quite a simple fix, you simply need to bleed your radiator to release any of the trapped air. 

Radiator cold in the middle 

Similar to the bottom of the radiator being cold, if the middle of your radiator is cold it’s likely caused by a buildup of debris or sludge. To fix this you again need to perform a power flush, flushing the insides thoroughly to remove the build-up. 

Other things to check

  • Ensure your thermostat is set properly and that the valve has not been set to low 
  • Check the lockshield valve, located at either end of your radiator, is set correctly
  • Check the valves themselves for limescale damage

How to unfreeze a condensate pipe

When it gets to this time of year and the temperatures drop, frozen condensate pipes can be an unfortunate occurrence for any home. When the pipes freeze, it can often cause blockages as a result of your boiler experiencing condensation not being able to escape.

Luckily, it’s an easy problem to put right. Here’s our top tips on how to remedy the issue:

  1. Check it is a frozen condensate pipe – the error code “EA” showing on your boiler or gurgling and bubbling sounds from it are key signs your condensate pipe has frozen.
  2. Identify the blockage – it’s most likely the pipe will be frozen at its most exposed point (the open ends or bends). Simply running your hands over the exposed part of the pipe and finding the section that feels colder than the rest should help identify where the issue lies.
  3. Use warm water to unfreeze the pipe – it’s super important for this part not to use boiling water but only warm water, as using boiling water could potentially cause the pipe to crack from the extreme difference in temperatures. If you’re using water from a kettle, let it cool down for at least 15 minutes. To unfreeze the pipe, fill a jug with warm water and slowly pour this over the length of the pipe, repeating the process until the pipe thaws.
  4. Restart the boiler – once you’re sure the frozen section has been thawed, restart your boiler following the instructions in your boiler manual.
  5. All good to go! Your boiler should be back up and running, but if not, it can be because sometimes it takes a few attempts of restarting your boiler to get it going properly.

Extra tip 

If your condensate pipe isn’t already insulated, it is a good idea to wrap it in some extra towels to prevent it from freezing again immediately and then when you get chance, head to your local hardware store to grab some pipe insulation or give a member of our team a call to come out and insulate your pipes for you.