How to solve three common radiator problems

We don’t tend to notice our central heating system until something goes wrong. You read a lot about boiler and pump breakdowns and problems, but radiators are usually considered as low maintenance.
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Nevertheless, it is worth keeping an eye on them because it is often simple to spot a problem, and there are usually easy solutions.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, it is vital that you understand how your central heating system works. Nearly all homes have one, which consists of a boiler and a number of radiators. If you know how it works, you will be able to identify and rectify any problems it has.

Here’s how to solve three common radiator problems.

Radiator cold all over
For this fault, there are technical problems that you need to rule out. Double check that all the valves are turned on and that any thermostatic radiator valves are not faulty.

The most likely explanation for a cold radiator is a build-up of sludge or corrosion inside the radiator. This is stopping the water from circulating correctly and making the radiator warm. It’s not hard to get hold of replacement aluminium radiators from http://apolloradiators.co.uk/Category/3/header/3/radiator-ranges to get your system back up and running.
Radiator cold at the bottom or in the middle

This shows that there is something wrong with the way the water is flowing. A build-up of sludge in one part of the radiator can cause this as can corrosion of the internal metal surface or of the pipes.

A power flush of your system can help. You need to disconnect the radiator and use a special machine to wash it out using water at a high pressure. However, if there is a lot of corrosion, you may need a new radiator.

Designer Options

The heater doesn't have to be the eyesore of the room. Although you can certainly find basic options, there are also designers ones available for more modern homes. Consider a modern look with chrome or stainless steel. Or think about a radiator that has a bold finish in a bright colour.

Practical for High-Ceiling Rooms

Rooms that have high ceilings can be a challenge to heat. However, column radiators are the more efficient choice for these types of rooms. They have a greater heat output and also improved heat retention from standard panel radiators. Put them in the larger rooms to see the biggest improvement. Older homes that have high ceilings can be a challenge to heat, so consider this option for at least a few rooms in the house.

Radiator cold at the top


This is usually caused by air getting trapped in the radiator which is stopping water from circulating to the top. The remedy is to bleed the radiator.

To do this, you need to switch off the central heating system and then open the bleed valve of the affected radiator using a radiator key or a flat-head screwdriver. The bleed valve is a square peg on one of the top corners of the radiator. You’ll know it is working if you hear a hiss as air escapes.
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