Radiator care and maintenance

Radiators can be a very effective and efficient way to heat your home, allowing you to easily regulate the temperature in every room. They are robust and, with a little care, they will last many years. However, there are a few common issues that can arise – here’s a handy guide to how to deal with them.

Your radiator isn’t heating up properly

You should begin by checking that the thermostatic valves on your radiators are set correctly. Scroll to the bottom of our guide to setting up your heating and hot water for more information on how to do this.

If you’re still feeling chilly with the central heating turned up high, it’s time to check your radiators. If they have cold spots, especially at the top, it’s likely you have air trapped in the system and it’s time to bleed your radiators. It’s a fairly simple procedure.

 Here’s how:

  • You’ll need a radiator valve key or screwdriver and an old cloth.
  • Turn off your central heating and allow the radiator to cool.
  • Find the bleed valve, which is normally at the top on one end, and put the cloth directly below it to catch minor drips.
  • Put the key into the valve and turn anti-clockwise until you hear a slight hiss of air. Once the hiss turns to a gurgle or water starts to escape, close the valve.
  • Retighten the valve by turning clockwise and turn your central heating back on.
  • With a conventional boiler the water cylinder may need to be repressurised.

After bleeding you still have cold spots

  • If the problem persists, or you have to bleed radiators more than once a year, you might have a different issue.
  • It could be that rust or sludge has built up, preventing the water from flowing properly. However, this is unlikely within the first two years.
  • Contact a Gas Safe-registered engineer, who may need to power flush your system.


If you notice any leaks at all around your radiator you should:

Radiator care

There are a few easy steps you can take to get the best possible use from your radiators. And remember, if your radiators are less efficient than they could be, your boiler has to work harder.

Cleaning your radiators

The same hot air current that keeps you cosy also tends to make radiators a magnet for dust and debris, and that can prevent heat from escaping, so clean them regularly.

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