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Preparing your home for the winter may seem as simple as a few extra throws in the lounge, but few of us think to prepare our radiators for the cold-season chill. Giving your boiler and radiators a once over before dialling up the heating will benefit both your property and your energy bills, by making your home warmer for less. Heating experts BestHeating have shared their essential checklist for your home heating system this winter.
The online radiator design specialist, BestHeating, are urging households across the UK to carry out some simple DIY maintenance checks on their boilers and radiators before the temperature plummets once again.
With radiators left largely unused before summer, the specialists claim protecting your heating system could slash your heating bills while improving the efficiency of your home.
While many homes now use modern radiators, these checks are even more essential for those who use older systems installed more than 10 years ago.
Heating product manager, Andrew Collinge at BestHeating told Express.co.uk: “Modern radiators can be up to 50 percent more economical than those that are 20 years old, so it is essential that if they are older, more upkeep should be done to keep them working well.”
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Turn your heating on every few weeks
Dormant or inactive radiators can cause a build-up of dust, dirt and trapped air which can restrict the flow of heat through pipes.
An unused boiler can turn faulty without you knowing so frequent testing or intermittent use is essential to keep things intact when winter comes around.
Andrew says: “Turn the heating on for 10 minutes every couple of weeks to allow the hydraulic components of the system to fire up which will aid the efficiency of the boiler, preventing unforeseen problems when the weather starts to turn.”
Switch the valves up
Modern thermostatic radiator valves help control the temperature of each room.
As the warm weather replaces the winter chill, these valves are usually set to ‘off’ for a sustained period.
If left for long the valves can get stuck in this position, leaving you in ‘summer mode’ for longer than you may have intended.
According to Andrew, it’s best to open the valves to full capacity whilst the boiler isn’t being used in order to prevent them from becoming stuck.
Not only will you be able to use your heating on command, opening the valves will avoid the need for a plumber to be called out to flush the system which could result in a hefty bill.
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Bleed your radiators
The best time to bleed radiators is when they aren’t needed, says Andrew at BestHeating.
He told Express.co.uk: “Doing this gets rid of pockets of air that could be in your radiators and stops it moving into your boiler or heat pump which could cause air locks or overheating.
“Failing to bleed your radiators can cause internal corrosion and damage parts linked to the boiler.”
Check for sludge
A build-up of sludge in your radiator is common when radiators are left untouched for extended periods.
One of the tell-tale signs of this problem is when radiators are cold at the bottom.
To fix this, you need to flush the radiator by bleeding it and then removing it from the wall
Andrew said: “Once removed from the wall, attach a hosepipe to the radiator valve inlet, turning on full blast to flush out all the dirt and grime.
“Once the water runs through clearly, the issue is solved and you can reattach the radiator to the wall.”
Add corrosion inhibitor
Adding a corrosion inhibitor can prevent rust and blockages from compromising the efficiency of your radiators.
Water doesn’t mix well with metal, so it’s only natural that radiators that are turned off will corrode without it.
Corrosion inhibitor is a chemical liquid that breaks down built-up sludge and rust in order to relieve blockages.
This clever solution will keep the system working efficiently and prolong the lifespan of your radiators which can save you money in the long run.
Andrew said: “Having a good understanding of your heating system will allow you to stay on top of many home maintenance tasks that are vital in preventing issues and money problems further down the line.
“If you don’t feel competent or confident in your skills it is best to contact a qualified professional who will prevent any further problems for you ahead of the winter months.”
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