If your radiator ever feels cold at the top and warm at the bottom then it is more than likely that the problem is being caused by air that has been trapped in your radiator. Luckily, you should be able to repair the problem yourself by bleeding your radiator. Another option for you is to call out a plumbing and heating engineer. However bleeding a radiator is a fairly simple, safe and quick process if it is done the proper way. Basically it just means opening a small valve on the top of your radiator to permit any trapped air to escape. Just follow the simple instructions below for a simple and lasting repair:
Prior to bleeding your radiator, it is essential that you turn off your central heating at the main controls. It will avoid any more air from entering the heating system. Locate the bleed valve; this typically has a small red coloured handle and should be found on one side of your radiator when it was purchased.
Place a cloth or a small bowl underneath the bleed valve to catch any leaking water. Wrap your hand in a cloth to protect your hand as any water that escapes from your radiator might be very hot. Your radiators should have come with a tiny bleed key (or radiator key). In case you can't locate the bleed key you should be able to purchase a replacement from your local DIY store.
First you will need to find the bleed valve, this will be a protrusion at the top of one side of your radiator. To bleed your radiator, put the bleed key onto the valve and carefully turn it anticlockwise (usually a quarter to half a turn should do the trick). The air trapped inside your radiator will start escaping along with a hissing sound. At this stage you may have to switch on your heating for a short time to keep the pressure up in the system. When you are bleeding your system you also have to keep an eye on your water pressure level. When water begins to dribble out of the valve this is how you know that all of the air has been purged from your radiator.
As soon as water starts to dribble out of your valve you should tighten the valve back to it's original position. Go to your main control panel and check your water pressure leve. This level needs to be set at manufacturers levels. Use a cloth to clear up any spills (at this point be careful as the water can be scalding hot). Do not forget to switch the central heating back on once you've finished bleeding the radiator. Check on your radiator after a few hours to ensure the radiator has an even temperature all over it's surface area and that there's no more water leaking out of your bleed valve. Hopefully this will mean that your problem is solved!
Remember, if you're ever in doubt of your DIY abilities, then it is best to call in a plumbing and heating engineer to mend the problem for you.
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One of the jobs I enjoy getting done is having a plumbing and heating team round. I find it helps me to unwind and forget everything, apart from the work they are doing.
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