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. Luckily, you should be able to fix the situation yourself by bleeding your radiator. Another option for you is to call out a plumbing and heating engineer. However bleeding a radiator is really a fairly simple, safe and quick process if it is done the right way. Basically it just requires opening a small valve on the top of your radiator to allow any trapped air to escape. Just follow the simple instructions below for a fast and lasting repair:
Before you bleed your radiator, it's essential that you turn off your central heating at the master controls. It will avoid any more air from entering the heating system. Find the bleed valve; this more often than not has a small red coloured handle and should be located 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 shield your hand as any water that escapes from your radiator may be very hot. Your radiators should have come with a small bleed key (or radiator key). If you cannot locate the bleed key you should be able to buy a replacement from your local DIY store.
First you will have to find the bleed valve, this will be a protrusion at the top of one side of your radiator. To bleed your radiator, place 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 in 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 the air has been purged from your radiator.
As soon as water starts to dribble out of your valve make sure you 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 the cloth to clean up any spills (at this point be cautious as the water could potentially be scalding hot). Remember to switch the central heating back on once you've finished bleeding the radiator. Check on your radiator after a couple of hours to make sure that the radiator has a uniform temperature all over it's surface area and that there's no more water leaking from the 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 fix the problem for you.
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I always call a plumber when I have problems with my heating. Once you get to know them they are pretty reasonable with their charges.
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