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Why Isn't My Radiator Getting Hot?
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Why Isn't My Radiator Getting Hot?

Having radiator issues?

A common problem that people come across when they turn their heating back on is a radiator or two don't get hot, particularly on an upstairs radiator. Theres a few reasons why, the first thing I would check is wether or not the radiator is actually turned on, (sounds obvious I know but you know what kids are like) to find out, check that both radiator valves are turned anti-clockwise, (rotate the valves head to the left). If they're both on then the issue is probably trapped air. Don't worry if its only trapped air its really easy to fix. The best way to find out is by having a feel of your radiator. If its hot half way up then great, you know that central heating water is at least flowing to the radiator. So its just a case of releasing the air and your radiator should work as normal.

How to remove air from a radiator.

I'm going to keep things as simple as possible, so i'll try and cut any technical jargon out, which is easier said than done.

  1. So then, first things first, its always good practice to turn your central heating off before hand, we don't want to damage any components on your central heating system such as your central heating pump etc.
  2. Grab yourself a clothe or some kitchen roll and be prepared because central heating water can be black and sludgy, I don't recommend using your favourite white beach towel.
  3. With the area fool proofed, locate the radiators bleed nipple, these can be found in numerous places, the majority are on the side of the radiators, at the top. Sometimes they can be sneaky and hide them on the back of the radiator, so keep an eye out for that.
  4. Once you have located the bleed nipple, you're going to get your vent key, and simply twist it anti clockwise, (remember lefty loosey, rightey tightey) take your time with this, you only really need to crack it slightly. Whatever you do, DO NOT REMOVE THE BLEED NIPPLE!!! I cant stress this enough. Whilst training, I made this school boy error many times, thinking I'm so clever this is going to save me loads of time, and trust me theres nothing time saving about having your finger squeezed against 2 bar of pressure, screaming at the top of your voice for help. so i'll repeat, DO NOT REMOVE THE BLEED NIPPLE.
  5. O.k, so now we should hear a bit of a hissing sound coming out of the radiator. Have your tissue ready, because once the radiator fills up a small amount of water is going to come out, and theres a good chance its going to be black water, and we don't want that on your nice cream carpets. Once the hissing has stopped and you're catching the water in your clothe/kitchen towel/old sock, simply close the vent and there you go, your radiator is now empty of air.
  6. I would recommend repeating this for all of your other radiators as well, and eliminate as much air as possible.
  7. Now then, the one thing you may need to consider is wether or not your heating system requires re-pressurising? We can take a look at the boiler and if you see what looks like a pressure gauge, that ranges from 0 - 4 Bar then you're going to have to re-pressurise your heating system. if not then you're probably going to be just fine. This is something i'm going to right about soon so bare with me because there's a lot more to it than some might think.
  8. Go and turn your central heating back on, and hopefully all of your radiators should be getting nice and hot!.

So there you go, relatively straight forward, saved yourself an £80 call out charge. Success!!

Radiator still not getting hot?

Don't worry just yet, we'll cover this at a later date. I can't give all of my secrets away just yet can I? But if your still struggling check out the our contact page we'll be happy to help you out, Or if you're really stuck, get one of our 'emergency plumbers' out to visit, we're open 24/7.

Some other interesting sources for more information that I came across were wiki-how, there was some good imagery on this page that was very useful. Hopefully you've solved the problem by now but again you can always call me for more help.

Jamie Cureton
Jamie Cureton
Jamie is an extremely passionate heating engineer. He particularly enjoys the technology aspect of the industry especially how new heating controls work to help people save money and keep warm.
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