It’s during Autumn that people start to turn their central heating systems back on. It may only be for a couple of hours on a cold morning to start with, but in a few months, it will be vital. When you do switch the heating back on it’s a good idea to check everything is working as it should be. Many people only notice a radiator not working when it gets really cold outside, which is exactly the point when you really need them!
In this post, we look at what you can do if one or more of your radiators are not working properly and how you can potentially fix the issue.
Radiator Not Working – How to Identify the Issue
How Many Radiators are Affected?
When it starts to get colder, you’ll soon notice if one or more of your radiators aren’t heating up fully. There are several simple fixes for cold radiators that you can do yourself.
Start by checking if it’s an isolated problem or if other radiators are affected. If all your radiators are cold then firstly check your boiler and central heating system are switched on. Combination boilers (Combi-Boilers) sometimes have a drop in pressure. This will typically be shown on the pressure gauge on the front of the boiler. If the gauge has dropped into the red zone, then the boiler won’t work. Your boilers manual will provide instructions on how to re-pressurise the system. However, if you’re not comfortable doing so, or can’t find the manual, then call in a professional.
If the boiler/heating system is switched on and it’s not a pressure issue then we recommend contacting your local central heating experts.
Partially Warm Radiator
If just one radiator is affected then the problem is isolated, and you may be able to fix it yourself.
If the radiator is cold at the top but warm at the bottom then there is air trapped in the system that needs to be released. You do this by bleeding the radiator, which is a quick and simple task if you have the rights tools. This video demonstrates the process.
If the radiator is cold at the bottom but warm at the top then you will have a build-up of sludge that needs to be removed. This is a bigger job and involves removing the radiator from the wall and draining it. You should only attempt this if you are very confident in what you are doing. This video provides a good demonstration of what’s required. If you are not sure what you’re doing then call a professional.
Totally Cold Radiator
If the whole radiator is cold then it could be an issue with the valves. If you have a thermostatic valve, ensure that it is turned on. You also need to check the valve at the other end of the radiator is open. If everything looks ok then you should also check that the thermostatic valve is working correctly. To do this, take the top of the valve and look at the metal pin. If it moves freely then the valve is ok, if it’s sticking then this could be the issue.
If none of the above work, then the final task is to turn off all other radiators in the house. Does the cold radiator now warm-up? If it does then one by one turn the other radiators back on. By doing this, you may be able to identify other radiators that need bleeding or draining.
Still No Luck
Not all radiator problems can be solved without a central heating professional. If you’ve worked through the above steps and the radiator is still cold then contact your local Gas Safe, or OFTEC registered heating engineer.