Why bleeding your radiators before winter could save you money – three steps you must take

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Npower explain how to bleed your radiators

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Heating our homes this winter is a daunting thought as the UK’s energy crisis continues to wreak havoc on tariffs and suppliers across the country. Keeping your home energy efficient is the key to beating the price hikes this winter, so it’s time to check just how efficient your property really is. Bleeding your radiators is just one way to make sure you’re heating your home effectively, but what should you know before doing it?

Why you should bleed your radiators

As we enjoy the last of the late-summer heat, turning on the central heating is at the back of many of our minds.

With October fast approaching, it’s time to think about the colder weather, longer nights and shorter days.

Bleeding your radiators ready for ‘the big switch’ is important to displace trapped air in the pipes to allow the water to be heated properly.

Generally, it’s best to bleed them just after turning on the central heating to make sure all of the trapped air is flushed out.

When you do decide to make the switch to a cosy, centrally heated home, there’s one tell-tale sign that you can look for to see if your radiator needs bleeding.

Your radiator needs bleeding if:

  • The top section is cold to touch but the bottom section is significantly warmer.
  • In severe cases, the entire radiator may stay cold despite the heating being turned on.

Checking your radiators could be the difference between a huge bill and a cold house, or an effectively heated home, for less.

There’s no real way to tell if your radiators need bleeding until you’ve turned them on, but the general advice is to do them after every summer when your heating has been turned off.

David Holmes, founder of Boiler Guide told Express.co.uk: “At this time every year without fail, our website gets inundated with enquiries from customers frantic to resolve their heating problems before the winter kicks in.

“We see a 65 percent increase in web traffic and enquiries from customers looking for new boiler quotes or repairs.

“After a summer of inactivity, older boilers often struggle to spark back into life and naturally problems can occur”.

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Top tips for bleeding your radiators

Work your way up

If your home has two floors you should begin bleeding radiators in the rooms downstairs first, starting with the ones that are furthest away from the boiler.

Switch off your central heating

While it’s important to turn on your heating before bleeding radiators, you should always have it turned off while bleeding them.

Switching the central heating system on will help you determine how efficient your radiators are but after this, turn it off before bleeding to avoid injury.

Experts at Boiler Guide say: “This is very important because some water pumps – depending on where in the system they are fitted – will actually suck more air into the radiator and consequently the heating system if they are turned on while you open the bleed valve.”

Keep valves open

One thing to focus on when checking your radiators is the valves.

Thermostatic radiator valves can get stuck if they’re left closed for too long.

If a valve is closed for an extensive period of time, it can cause problems when it comes to turning on the heating again.

To make sure your radiators are in working order, try to keep thermostatic valves open as much as you can during the summer months.

How to bleed a radiator

  • To bleed your radiators, you will need a few tools, including:
  • A radiator key
  • Towel for grip
  • Empty container to catch water

Look for a square “bleed screw” at the top of the radiator – you’ll need to turn this to release air and water trapped in your radiator.

Place the container underneath the radiator in line with the screw, before using the key to turn the bleed screw anti-clockwise.

As the air escapes it will make a hissing sound, followed by a steady trickle of water which indicates that your job is done.

Tighten the bleed screw and wipe down any water spillage to avoid rusting.

Experts at Boiler Guide say: “Once all of the radiators have been bled, you can turn the heating back on.

“It’s a good idea to check the pressure gauge on the boiler to make sure it’s at the optimum level (around 1.5), that the radiators are heating evenly and there’s no sign of leaking.”

  • It may be necessary to bleed some radiators more than once and if you’re still struggling to get them going, it may be time to call for a professional to inspect your heating system.

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