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How to bleed a radiator

Bills for central heating make up a significant proportion of every household’s budget. Luckily, there is a lot that you can do to save money on heating, such as switching your energy supplier and getting a new boiler.

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According to the experts at the Energy Saving Trust, there is plenty that you can do to radiators to help you save money on your heating bills. Providing insulation behind them is one option. Bleeding radiators also makes your heating system work more efficiently.
If you decide to take on the simple task of bleeding a radiator yourself, here are some top tips. The process works for a variety of radiator types including your standard radiator and column radiators. If you are wondering What do column radiators look like, it is worth taking a quick internet search.
Before you start bleeding a radiator
The aim of bleeding a radiator is to let out air that is trapped in the central heating system. It tends to accumulate at the top of radiators, where it causes cold spots and makes the whole system less efficient.
Start by turning on the heating system and give it time to warm up. Then go to each of the radiators and feel the top of them with your hand. It is easy to spot which radiators need bleeding as they are the ones with cold spots. Then turn the heating off and let the system cool a little.

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Prepare a radiator key (check that it fits the radiators that need bleeding) and a rag. Now you are ready to start.
The process of bleeding a radiator
Fit the radiator key into the bleed valve at the top of the radiator. Twist the key slowly in an anti-clockwise direction and be ready to catch any water that dribbles out with the cloth. It is important that you do not twist the valve too quickly.
You will hear a hissing noise as the air escapes from the radiator. Eventually, when all the air has been released, water will start to come out of the valve. This is a sign that you should close off the valve again by turning it clockwise.
Repeat this for all of the radiators that have cold spots, then start up the boiler. Check that the boiler pressure is correct and top up if it is too low.

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