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How to bleed your radiator

Are you feeling a chill even though your heating is on? When you run your hand over the radiator does it still feel a bit cold at the top? It could be the reason why your home isn’t heating up as efficiently, however it’s a very simple fix, once you know how to bleed your radiator of course.

Over time, your heating system can get air bubbles trapped in the system, and these bubbles can prevent the hot water from circulating around your radiators to keep your home warm. As air bubbles rise to the top of your radiator, it will often feel colder at the top than at the bottom. There’s no point in turning the gas on or topping up your home heating oil if it’s not going to get used as efficiently as possible, so now’s the time to fix those cold radiators!

Follow these 6 simple steps to bleed your radiator and make your home feel warm and cozy again:

  1. You will need a radiator key (if you don’t have one of these you can buy one for around €2 in a home hardware store) and a small towel to catch drips and protect your hand from any hot water.
  2. Find the valve at the top of the radiator, and insert your key into it.
  3. Turn slowly anticlockwise. You should hear a hissing noise which is the trapped air escaping from the radiator.
  4. Once the hissing subsides, the water will start to come out, so close the valve again and use the towel to catch any drips.
  5. Check all your other radiators for the same problem. When you turn your heating on again, the radiator should be hot from top to bottom.
  6. You might also need to check the pressure of your boiler at this point, and re-pressurise it if it is too low following your success at bleeding your radiator. Check your manufacturer’s guidelines for what this pressure should be.

If you’ve bled your radiators and you still find that one or more of them is cold, it could be a problem with the thermostat valve at the bottom of your radiator where you control the temperature. Sometimes this pin can get stuck which prevents any of the water getting into the radiator. Try giving it a gentle tap to release the stuck pin, and if this doesn’t work you may need to invest in a new thermostat. If in any doubt, contact a qualified plumber who will be able to advise you and do the work for you if you’re not confident about doing it yourself.

When it comes to simple tasks however knowing how to bleed your radiator is a very handy trick that could help you keep your home warm for less this winter.