Quality, Honesty & Safety

About Household Radiators

Radiators QHS

This is part of a series of How-to-Guides put together by QHS to help the residents we serve, on behalf of our Clients, carry out basic checks of their heating systems.

These checks may help you to get the system working again without the need for an engineer to attend. Here in part three of the series we talk about radiators and how to take care of them.

  • When you turn the heating on, hot water is sent to the radiators from the boiler. Radiators get warm, which the heats the room.

    You can turn an individual radiator off by twisting the thermostatic radiator valve (TRV) down to ‘0’. You can adjust the temperature of an individual radiator by twisting the TRV up to level 5 and down to level 1. Level 5 is very warm, whilst level 1 is very low temperature.

    When near any radiator that is in use, please take great care not to touch the hot pipes or the radiator itself, as you could burn yourself. You can tell where a radiator is warm or not by placing your hand near it without though touching it, taking care as you do so.

    This is a thermostatic radiator valve. It controls how warm your radiators are. 1 is cool. 5 is hot.

  • QHS do not check your radiators during the annual gas safety check, so be sure to monitor their condition regularly.

    Here are some things you should look out for;

    • Leaks or small drips
    • Discolouration or rust
    • Cracks on the wall the radiator is attached to, or a wobbly radiator
    • Temperature of the radiators at the top and the bottom

    If you experience any of these problems, get in touch with QHS on 01494 795000. We will be able to advise you of the best course of action.

    If you notice a;

    • Leak
    • Cracks on the wall the radiator is attached
    • Wobbly radiator

    As part of your tenancy, you must report all repairs as soon as you become aware of them.

    This is very important with water leaks as they will cause damage to your property.

    In the following tabs we look at common problems with radiators and what may have caused them:

  • If the radiator is cold at the top but the bottom is warm, your radiators may need bleeding.

    Air is trapped in the top of the radiator, preventing the hot water from moving round the radiator.

    You can bleed your radiator yourself with a radiator key, which you can buy from a hardware store.

    This is a radiator key.

    If you feel unable to carry out this task yourself, contact QHS and we will send an engineer to assist.

    If you have a combi boiler, bleeding a radiator may cause the boiler pressure to drop. This may turn the heating system off.

    If you have a combi boiler and have been shown how to top up your pressure by a trained Gas Safe engineer, you can add pressure back into the system if you find it is low after bleeding a radiator.

    If you are not comfortable to top up pressure yourself, call QHS and arrange an engineer to bleed the radiator for you.  

    If you would like to try to bleed the radiator yourself, follow these steps;

    1. You will need a dry cloth and a radiator key
    2. Turn off your heating and make sure it is not on a timer. If your heating is on when you try and bleed a radiator, you may burn yourself as you touch the pipes. Very hot water may also come out of your radiator
    3. Place the cloth under the radiator to catch any water
    4. Attach the radiator key to the valve at the top of the radiator. The square key should fit in the groove in the valve
    5. Turn the key anti-clockwise slowly. Don’t turn the key more than one and a half turns
    6. You should hear a hissing sound as the air from the radiator is released
    7. As the hissing stops, small amounts of water should come out. Retighten the valve quickly as so the water does not escape
    8. Turn your heating system back on. The radiator should be warm from top to bottom

    A radiator key inserted into the valve at the top of the radiator

    You may find that the pressure has dropped on your boiler after bleeding your radiators, especially if you have a combi boiler. This might cause the system to turn off.

    If you have been shown how to by a Gas Safe engineer, top the pressure up. If you continue to experience problems, contact QHS on 01494 795000 and book an engineer to attend.

  • If the bottom of the radiator is staying cold but the top of the radiator is hot, it may be that you have sludge or rust in your system. This sludge or rust can cause a blockage, which causes the radiators to stop circulating hot water and getting warm. 

    In this case, it’s best to arrange for QHS to attend as sludge and rust is difficult to remove by yourself. Call us on 01494 795000.

  • If the radiator is not getting hot at all, even when your radiator valve is turned up to the highest setting (turned as far anti-clockwise as it will go), your heating is on and your thermostat is turned up to the highest setting, you will need QHS to attend and assess why this has happened.  

    There may be sludge in your heating system that has caused a blockage, preventing hot water from reaching the radiator.

    A cold radiator could also be caused by a broken radiator valve that is stopping the hot water entering the radiator.

    If no radiators are getting hot they may be a problem with your main thermostat.

    Give QHS a call on 01494 795000, and we will send an engineer to visit you.

  • If the radiator is leaking, you need to call QHS as a matter of urgency. Even if the leak is a small drip, it is good to let us know before it begins to cause damage to your property.

    Failing to report damage or a leak may have serious implications to your tenancy. Put a cloth or bucket under the leak to catch the water whilst you arrange an appointment.

    Give QHS a call urgently on 01494 795000, and we will send an engineer to visit you.

  • All central heating systems make some noise. You will hopefully have an idea of what is normal for your heating system over time. Whistling, clicking or ticking sounds are all quite normal.

    However, the radiators should not be unbearably noisy or cause banging and clunking sounds under the floorboards.

    If you experience a loud clunking or banging noise that you are concerned about, please contact QHS on 01494 795000.

  • If you notice that your radiator is wobbly or coming loose from the wall that it is attached, call QHS urgently on 01494 795000.

    Keep all members of your household away from the radiator, including pets.

    Failing to report a repair or fault as soon as it is discovered has serious implications for your tenancy and can put you and your family in danger.

    If you have any concerns about your radiators and would like a gas engineer to visit you, call QHS on 01494 795000.

  • If you have a radiator, you should ideally carry out some basic maintenance once a year to keep it in the best shape possible. The most important task is to “bleed” the radiator of any air that gets into the system. Even though the pipes are closed, air can escape from the water over time.

  • Industry central heating engineers tend to take the view that the average lifespan of a radiator is between 8-12 years. This could of course mean that any radiators in your home that are over 10 years old have stopped working efficiently, so could be costing you more for generating not a lot of heat. They might last less and they might last more than 8-12 years, so it is worth monitoring each radiators performance.


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