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How To Bleed Your Radiators

Bleeding your radiators is a simple process and only takes a few minutes. Bleeding your radiator is important to eradicate air pockets as they stop hot water circulating around your heating system. This adds strain on your boiler and becomes costly. At Tyne and Wear, we can offer you advice on how to bleed your radiators and get the most out of your heating system.



How Do I Know If My Radiator Needs Bleeding?

  • Uneven Heating: If certain parts of your home are significantly colder than others, it could be a sign that air has been trapped in the radiators, preventing them from distributing heat evenly.
  • Cold Spots: When you touch your radiators and notice cold areas, it suggests that air has accumulated at the top, preventing hot water from reaching those parts.
  • Gurgling Noises: If you hear gurgling or bubbling sounds coming from your radiators when the heating is on, it’s a clear indication that there’s air trapped in the system.
  • Reduced Efficiency: If your heating system seems to be working harder than usual to maintain a comfortable temperature, air pockets in the radiators could be hindering its efficiency.
  • Longer Heating Times: Radiators that take longer to heat up than they used to might require bleeding, as air can prevent them from reaching their optimal temperature quickly.
  • Cold Radiator Tops: If the top of your radiator feels much cooler than the bottom when the heating is on, air accumulation might be the culprit.
  • Regular Bleeding History: If you’ve noticed the need to bleed your radiators frequently, it’s a sign that there might be an ongoing issue causing air to enter the system.
  • Higher Energy Bills: Air-locked radiators can force your heating system to work harder, leading to increased energy consumption and higher utility bills.
  • Inconsistent Heat Output: If one radiator is hot while another in the same zone remains cold, air blockages could be causing the inconsistency.
  • Visible Air Release: Sometimes, you might see air bubbles or hear hissing sounds when you attempt to bleed your radiators, confirming the presence of trapped air.

It’s important to pay attention to these signs and regularly check your radiators for any indications that they need bleeding. This will help you maintain an efficient and comfortable heating system in your home.

How Often Should You Bleed A Radiator?

Radiators require bleeding at least once a year to remove any air bubbles that form inside. The trapped air stops warm water from circulating around your radiator which can make the radiator have cold spots. It can also occur when routine maintenance happens.

What Tools Do I Need To Bleed A Radiator?

Here are the tools you’ll need to successfully bleed your radiators:

  1. Radiator Key: A radiator key is a small, inexpensive tool specifically designed for opening the bleed valve on radiators. It usually has a square or hexagonal head that fits into the valve.
  2. Cloth or Towel: Keep a cloth or towel handy to catch any water that might drip when you release the air from the radiator. This will help prevent any mess on your floors or walls.
  3. Container or Bowl: Place a container or bowl under the bleed valve to catch any water that comes out during the bleeding process. This will help you avoid water damage to your surroundings.
  4. Gloves: It’s a good idea to wear gloves to protect your hands from hot surfaces and potential water splashes.
  5. Adjustable Wrench (optional): In some cases, the bleed valve might be a bit tight. An adjustable wrench can be useful for loosening it if needed.
  6. Paper or Pen: Keep a piece of paper and a pen handy to jot down any observations or notes about the process, especially if you’re bleeding multiple radiators.
  7. Flashlight (if necessary): If your radiators are located in dimly lit areas, a flashlight can help you see the bleed valve and any potential air bubbles more clearly.
  8. Safety Glasses (optional): If you’re uncomfortable with the possibility of water splashing while bleeding, wearing safety glasses can provide added protection.

These tools are easily accessible and will help you perform the radiator bleeding process efficiently and safely. Always prioritise safety and take necessary precautions while working with heating systems and hot water. If in doubt, call our engineer at Tyne and Wear and we will give you advice and help you with the process.

Do You Bleed A Radiator Until Water Stops?

On average, it will take no more than 30 seconds for a full bleed. However, this can vary depending on the size of the radiator and the amount of air that is trapped inside. Simply continue bleeding the radiator until the hissing noise has stopped and water starts to escape from the bleed valve.

Bleed Radiator No Water

If there is no water or air that comes out of the radiator when you attempt to bleed it, then the bleed valve could be blocked with paint. Close the inlet and outlet valve at both ends of the radiator then take out the screw from the centre of the bleed valve.

How To Bleed Your Radiators

  1. Switch off your heating. If it is left on, you might experience hot water spraying out of your radiators.
  2. Use the radiator key to turn the valve located on the top side of your radiator. Once attached to the valve, turn anti-clockwise.
  3. You should hear a hissing noise coming from your radiator, this is the trapped air escaping.
  4. Use a cloth or jug to catch any water excess that leaks out
  5. When the hissing noise stops and there is only water escaping, turn the valve clockwise to retighten the valve.
  6. Once you have completed these steps, turn your central heating back on
  7. Check the pressure of your radiators by inspecting the reading from the gauge on your boiler. Pressure will drop when bleeding your radiators but if it has dropped significantly, you will need to refill it. To achieve this, use the lever tap located on your boiler.
  8. Check to make sure your radiator is warm and heating properly.

How To Bleed A Modern Radiator Without A Key

An alternative to a radiator key is using a flat-head screwdriver. Most modern radiators will have a small indent which allows for a flat-head screwdriver to be inserted into the bleed plug. If your radiator has a slotted bleed crew, a screwdriver will work best as an alternative to a bleed key. Insert the screwdriver into the slot and turn it anti-clockwise to bleed the radiator.

Wrapping Up: Enjoying Efficient Heating 

Bleeding your radiators is a simple maintenance task that can significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your heating system. By removing trapped air, you allow hot water to circulate freely and evenly, providing consistent warmth throughout your home. 

Remember these key points to enjoy efficient heating:

  1. Regular Maintenance: Make radiator bleeding a part of your regular home maintenance routine, especially before the colder months set in.
  2. Observation: Pay attention to signs like uneven heating, gurgling noises, and cold spots to identify when your radiators need bleeding.
  3. Safety First: Always take safety precautions, including wearing gloves and having the necessary tools on hand to avoid accidents.
  4. Professional Help: If you’re unsure or encounter persistent issues, don’t hesitate to seek the expertise of a professional heating technician.
  5. Efficiency Benefits: Properly bled radiators will heat up faster, consume less energy, and provide consistent warmth, saving you money and ensuring comfort.

By following these guidelines and taking care of your heating system, you can ensure a cosy and energy-efficient home throughout the heating season.

If bleeding your radiators does not fix your heating problems, your radiator probably needs to be drained and flushed. A power flush involves getting rid of any black sludge out of your radiators. Contact our engineers at Tyne and Wear for advice and any queries you may have. We are highly trained and experts in all things boilers. Take a look at our outstanding reviews from our customers.