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 which has been trapped inside your radiator. Fortunately, you should be able to fix 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. Ultimately 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 fix:
Prior to bleeding your radiator, it's very important you switch off your central heating at the main controls. This will prevent any more air from entering the heating system. Find the bleed valve; this usually has a small red coloured handle and is situated on one side of your radiator when it was purchased.
Place a cloth or a medium sized 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 the radiator might be very hot. Your radiators should have been supplied with a tiny bleed key (or radiator key). If 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 locate the bleed valve, this will be a protrusion at the top of one side of the 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 period 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 the air has been purged from your radiator.
As soon as water starts to dribble out of the valve you will need to 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 clean up any spills (at this point be cautious 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 make sure the radiator has a uniform temperature all over it's surface area and that there is no more water leaking from the bleed valve. Hopefully this will mean that your problem is solved!
Remember, if you're ever unsure of your DIY abilities, then it is better to call in a plumbing and heating engineer to repair the problem for you.
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I have spent a lot of my time working for a company called Gas Heating Repair London and I have seen some pretty sites and some not so pretty sites. Over the years I have realised that there is a lot can be done to avoid calling out a plumber or gas engineer to solve small problems.
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