As we approach the colder months and need our heating again, there are checks that need making to radiators and boilers to ensure they are in best working condition before the weather changes.
The guidance comes from online designer radiator specialist, BestHeating, who advise that we should look at doing maintenance on our radiators whilst they currently aren’t in use, as this will make them more efficient ahead of winter.
Protecting radiators is important as keeping them more efficient will help lower your bills. Modern radiators can be up to 50% 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.
If your radiators are needing some care and attention, Andrew Collinge, heating product manager at BestHeating has revealed five tips to follow:
1. Turn your heating on every few weeks
Inactivity is one of the largest causes for a boiler or radiator failing. 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.
2. Switch the valves up
Thermostatic radiator valves help control the temperature of each room but once winter ends, they are usually set to ‘off’ for a few months. If left for long the valves can get stuck in this position which means once summer ends and you turn them up, they won’t get warm. It’s a better idea to open the valves to full capacity whilst the boiler isn’t being used because this should prevent them from becoming stuck and avoid a plumber needing to be called out to flush the system, which will result in a hefty bill.
3. Bleed your radiators
The best time to bleed radiators is when they aren’t needed. 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 airlocks or overheating. Failing to bleed your radiators can cause internal corrosion and damage parts linked to the boiler. It will take just 20 minutes of your time and you only need a bleed key, cloth and towel to place underneath whilst you do it.
4. Check for sludge
If you’ve never maintained radiators, it’s likely there’s been a build-up of sludge. One of the easiest ways to notice this problem is when radiators are cold at the bottom. To fix this you need to flush the radiator. Bleed it, take it off the wall then attach a hosepipe to the radiator valve inlet, turning on full blast to flush out all the dirt and grime. Once water runs through clearly, the issue is solved and you can reattach the radiator to the wall.
If all radiators in the home are cold at the bottom then a heating engineer will be needed to provide a full system power flush.
5. Add corrosion inhibitor
Another key tip is to top up the corrosion inhibitor that is in the heating system. Water doesn’t mix well with metal so radiators that are turned off will corrode without it. This chemical liquid breaks down sludge that has built up from rust so stops a blockage, keeping the system working efficiently and prolonging the lifespan, saving lots of maintenance costs on repairs.
BestHeating’s Andrew Collinge commented: “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 problems persist it may be better to replace your radiator which can be done by turning off the valves, bleeding it then taking it off the wall before putting in a new stylish one in time for the colder weather.
“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.”