How to bleed a radiator

Bleeding a radiator is one of those scary sounding chores which is actually very easy and quick to do. You’ll normally need to bleed a radiator if trapped air is causing it to feel cold at the top, and warm at the bottom.

Here's a step-by-step guide of what to do:

  • Turn off the heating – to stop more air getting into the radiator and the problem getting worse, make sure you turn off the heating at the mains.
  • Take precautions – before you start, make sure you wrap a cloth around your hand in case the escaping water is hot.
  • Find the radiator key – normally these come with the radiator, but if you can’t find one you can pick one up from a hardware store, or improvise with a screwdriver.
  • Bleed the radiator – having found the valve, which will usually be at the top of one end of the radiator, insert the key or screwdriver and slowly turn anti-clockwise.
  • Close the valve – once water starts escaping, quickly close the valve by turning it back clockwise.
  • Check it’s working – mop up any mess, but be aware that the water may be hot. Then turn the heating back on and check the radiator after a few hours to see if it’s heating all over.

As a tenant, you should only undertake this sort of maintenance if you feel comfortable in what you're doing. It’s worth bearing in mind that further damage could make you liable for the cost of a repair.

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