Simple explanations for plumbing problems

Cold radiators

You never realise how soft you are till the radiators stop working. The following faults are the most common.

Hot at the top cold at the bottom

Feel along the top edge of the radiator is it cold compared to the bottom of the radiator?  Cold at the top warm at the bottom means air is trapped along the top ad the radiator will need to be bled.  Most radiators have a standard sized key, take this along with a cloth to the radiator.  Place the cloth behind the radiator to protect the wall put the key  on the bleed point give it a gentle turn anti clockwise until you hear air coming out. Stop turning as soon as you hear the hiss of the air leaving the key on the bleed point.  When water starts coming out turn the key clockwise to reseal the bleed point.  Remember the bleed point only needs to be turned until it is just tightened up.   Its only made of brass so turning it hard will snap it off in the radiator causing more trouble.

Remember to check the pressure on the boiler when you are finished bleeding radiators if you have a sealed central heating system.

Hot at the top cold at the bottom

Feel the radiator is there a hot strip along the top of the radiator?  This is generally a sign that not enough hot water is circulating  to the rad.  The first step is to turn off your other radiators at one valve with the heating on.  Wait for 5-10 minutes if the radiator comes on the central heating needs to be balanced.  See the separate page for balancing heating systems.

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