How to bleed a radiator: A step-by-step guide for beginners

Bleeding radiators is often forgotten or put off until it is too late.

However, the simple procedure has the potential to save you big bucks on your energy bills and should be done regularly.

A lifetime of “getting someone” to take care of property maintenance has led to a sharp decline in hands-on skills in recent decades. author included.

The purpose of bleeding a radiator is to release excess trapped air in the heating system, which affects the efficiency of heating your home.

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A more efficient radiator means less strain on your boiler, saving you money in the long run.

Speaking to Toolstation, industry expert Mark Biles explained, “You should bleed your radiator every few weeks during the winter, as cold spots can appear at the top of the radiator, which indicates air pockets in the radiator.”

“If you don’t bleed them, air can rush through the system and cause problems with flow rates and potentially lead to rust over time.”

How to bleed a radiator

Much of the public has never bled a radiator and doesn’t know where to start. Luckily we have explained step by step what to do.

1. Find the radiator key

2. Turn off the heating and hot water

3. Protect the walls and floor with towels

Wall protected with towel.

4. Locate the drain valve

Radiator Drain Valve.

5. Insert the radiator key and turn counterclockwise

Radiator is bled.

6. Once the hissing stops and water begins to flow, turn the key clockwise

Before you begin, find your radiator key. This is a small socket wrench that fits square radiator drain plugs. If you don’t have any, they can be bought at any hardware store or here online for less than £1.

Turn off your central heating and hot water at the master switch and wait for the radiators to cool down to avoid accidental burns. This also allows all the air in the system to rise to the top, ready to be bled.

Because the process is messy at times, protect your paintwork and carpet. Simply place a towel between the radiator and the wall and another on the floor if needed.

Check the edges of your radiator to find the drain valve you will be using. Typically there is one on each side of the system.

The little square pin you see is the drain valve.

Gently place your radiator key on the pin and slowly turn counter-clockwise, placing something under the key to catch any water that may spill.

While the key is in, you can hear a hiss as trapped air escapes. After a few seconds, all of the air should be expelled and the hissing will be replaced by a gurgling sound.

After that, water will come out of the pin hole, and when this happens, use the key and turn it clockwise to close the valve.

Congratulations, you have just successfully bled a radiator.


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