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Let us take the stress out of bleeding your radiators with our step by step guide

Now that it’s coming into winter and starting to get chilly our top priority is as always to keep you warm!

In order to help your home stay toasty its vital to routinely bleed your radiators (about once a year). As intimidating as this may sound initially its actually very simple and can take only 20 minutes of your time.

To bleed a radiator means releasing the air that has become trapped within your heating system over time. By letting this trapped air out, you can make your house warmer as well as reducing your energy bill, a win-win!

If your hearing banging and gurgling from the pipes in your home this is a sign that its well overdue bleeding, but even if you don’t it is always beneficial to check especially coming into the bitter winter. Just follow the simple step by step below to fix the issue.

What you are going to need;

  • A radiator bleed key (you can buy these from most tool and hardware shops for around 50p to £4.00)
  • Cloth
  • A towel to place under the valve to prevent spillage and staining
  • A bowl or container to place under the valve, again to prevent spillage and staining

Step One – firstly you have to turn your heating onto full, waiting until all of your radiators have reached their peak temperature and are fairly hot to the touch before moving onto the next step.

Step Two – taking care not to burn yourself, run your hand along the top of each radiator in your home. If you feel a cold or cooler spot on a radiator take note of this, this radiator needs bleeding.

Step Three – turn off your heating and allow the system to cool, this is a vital step to ensure there’s no mishaps and you don’t burn yourself in the process of venting your heating system.

Step Four – find the first radiator that needs bleeding, if it is more than one then begin with the ground floor radiator that is furthest from the boiler if you can.

Step Five – go to the/one of the radiators that needs bleeding (it had cold spots in the earlier step) and find the bleed valve. Usually this is found at the side of the radiator near the top of the unit, but it can also be closer to the base. the bleed valve is typically a screw, or a small square found inside the surrounding nut.

Step Six – put a bowl or towel on the floor underneath the bleed valve, this is to catch any drips and spills to protect your floor from the discoloured water and to make sure there’s no mess made.

Step Seven – insert your radiator bleed key into the bleed valve until they have locked together, hold a cloth against the valve to collect any drips from the drainage hole.

Step Eight – carefully turn the key anti clockwise to open the valve. By doing this you are allowing the air to escape and should be hearing a hissing sound. Keep turning the key until the valve is a quarter to a half of the way open, this is to ensure the water does not escape too quickly (hence the bowl and towel).

Step Nine – when the hissing sound stops, and water starts to leak out you have successfully bled all of the air from the radiator.

Step Ten – turn the key clockwise until the valve is closed, make sure to do this carefully to avoid damaging the valve.

Step Eleven – repeat this process (steps five to ten) for the other radiators in your home.

Step Twelve – if you have a heating system that is pressurised you may notice that the pressure will have now dropped, if this has happened you will need to top up the boiler pressure before you can turn the heating back on.

Step Thirteen – turn the heating back on, allowing it time to warm up, once it has warmed you can then complete a secondary check for cold spots. if there are still cold spots then repeat this process, but if the issue does not resolve after two bleeds then this may be an indication of sediment build up within the system, which will require a full system flush.

We have a range of ‘How To’ videos to help with simple boiler issues. Direct Heating Supplies always recommends seeking advice from a Gas Safe registered engineer if you are unsure of any sounds or issues with your boiler.