Cold Radiator When the Heating is Working? Radiator Bleeding 

If your property’s heating system is running as it should but the radiator feels cold, this is likely to mean there is some air trapped inside the radiator. Depending on how severe the situation is, the radiator could be cold at the top and hot at the bottom. This indicates that air pockets inside the radiator are rising to the top to replace the hot water, making the top feel cold. This issue can easily be solved by simple radiator bleeding

So how do you bleed a radiator? Follow our guide below to remove trapped air in your heating system and radiators! 

If you need help with your heating system, contact our experts on 02922 407934 and we can answer any questions you may have and arrange for an engineer to come out to your property for routine maintenance and repairs.

What is radiator bleeding? 

Radiator bleeding refers to the release of trapped air inside your heating system. Allowing the air to escape not only gives you improved heat output but also enables your heating system to be more efficient and reduces your energy bills. Several signs, such as the banging of pipes and the gurgling of radiators, indicate that your radiator needs bleeding. It is a relatively straightforward process that you can carry out yourself if you have the time, without having to call a professional. 

When should you bleed a radiator? 

There are several tell-tale signs that you should consider bleeding your radiator. Some of these include: 

The radiator is cold at the top 

This is probably the most common indicator that a radiator requires bleeding. It shows that the build-up of air inside the radiator is hampering the free circulation of hot water, which keeps the radiator from getting heated. When a radiator is not uniformly warm (with cold patches) chances are the heating will keep on deteriorating over time and the trapped air will worsen. Bleeding the radiator allows for efficient heating.

The radiator is completely cold 

This is another sign that your radiator needs attention, although it’s not as common as the one above. When your radiator is entirely cold, it means that the air is trapped somewhere within the piping, preventing the hot water from reaching the radiator. This can lead to more severe problems if not addressed urgently, so bleeding will help sort out the issue. 

There is mould or dampness inside your home 

When you start noticing mould around your walls and patches of dampness forming in rarely used rooms inside your house, it is a sign that there isn’t enough heating. Check all of your radiators as the solution might lie in bleeding one or all of your radiators. 

The radiator is rattling 

When the air gets trapped inside your radiator, the unit may start producing unusual noises such as rattling, gulping, and gurgling. Although this may be caused by various reasons, it may also be solved by bleeding the radiator. 

Radiator BleedingHow to bleed a radiator 

Before you start bleeding a radiator, you will need the following items: 

    • Bucket 
    • Dry cloth 
    • Radiator key 
    • Safety gloves

When you have all the above in place, follow our step-by-step guide below to bleed your radiator: 

Step 1 Turn on your heating system

Turn on your heating system and wait until all the radiators in your property have warmed up. Note that the time this will take may vary depending on how old your heating system is, the number of radiators you have and your home’s size. 

Step 2 Determine which radiators need to be bled 

Several signs will tell you that a radiator needs bleeding. You should check all of the radiators in your home to ensure the whole surface of each one has a uniform temperature. If you notice any cold areas on the radiator, especially at the top, or hear gurgling noises, the radiator will need bleeding. Remember to wear a pair of gloves when feeling the radiators for warmth to avoid burning your hand. 

Step 3 Turn off your heating system

Once you have identified the radiators that need bleeding, you can switch off your heating system and let the radiators cool. You don’t want any injuries as the radiators will likely be too hot at this point and the water inside them. 

Step 4 Put your dry cloth and bowl or bucket underneath the radiator bleed valve 

If you can spot the radiator bleed valve, place your dry cloth below it to trap any water coming out when you start bleeding the radiator. The radiator bleed valve is usually found on the top corner and resembles a round hole.

Step 5 Open the radiator valve to release the trapped air 

Opening the valve will release any air trapped inside your radiator. However, sometimes the valve may be blocked with paint, stopping air and water from escaping. You need to close both the outlet and inlet valves at either end of the radiator then remove the screw at the centre. After inserting the radiator key into the valve, turn it anti-clockwise just a little and you’ll hear the hissing sound of escaping air. 

Step 6 Close the bleed valve 

The hissing sound will stop once all the trapped air has escaped. This will be followed by some water leaking out of the valve. You want to turn the radiator key clockwise to close the valve at this point. 

Check the heating system pressure 

Follow the above steps for every radiator you determine needs bleeding inside your home. After you have finished, you should look at your boiler’s water pressure gauge. The pressure has to be between 1 and 2 bars to indicate that your heating is restored back to normal. If it’s below 1 bar, you will have to repressurise the heating system and you will likely need a boiler specialist to do this for you. 

NB: Keep in mind that the water found inside the radiator can be extremely hot, so you should be extremely careful not to burn yourself. Be sure to wear protective gear and use a bucket to protect your flooring. 

How frequently should I bleed my radiator?

You should check your radiators every few months to look and feel for any cold areas. Remember to do this before the cold season is here to ensure that your heating system is operating efficiently when you need it. 

Has the radiator bleeding worked? 

You will know the radiator bleeding was successful when the unit starts heating up soon after you switch the heating back on and the whole radiator is warm. Alternatively, you can look at the boiler pressure gauge to see if it’s between 1 and 2 bars.

Bleeding Radiator Summary 

When your heating system isn’t working as it should, chances are the radiators need bleeding and it is an easy thing to check and rectify. It is something you can do without having to call a professional boiler technician. Use the simple guide above to bleed your radiator and restore the integrity of your home’s heating system.

If you are unsure if you have the time or skills to bleed your radiators or you have done this and your heating still isn’t working effectively then contact a boiler specialist. You should always check they are Gas Safe registered and qualified to work on your heating system. Often they will come out and quickly assess what the issue is and rectify it for you meaning your heating will be back up and running quickly as well as your heating bills increasing. A regular boiler service is essential for the efficient heating of your home and will also increase its life span. 

Total Boiler Services

Total Boiler Services are Gas Safe Registered and have a team of qualified engineers who can come out and service your heating system and repair or replace parts if needed. We work with all makes and models of boilers whether they are gas, electric, oil or solar-powered. We offer a 24/7 emergency repair service as well as design, supply and installation. Our engineers are experts in radiator bleeding and will quickly have your property warm again.

Contact us today on 02922 407934 and we can answer any questions you may have or book an appointment for you.