Have you noticed how quickly the seasons tend to change these days? One minute you may be pottering around in your garden in a short-sleeved shirt and then the next moment, the forecasters are talking about the first snow of the winter. If you've been caught off-guard then you need to crank up your heating systems to make sure that everything is in good shape. However, if you rely on hot water heating with radiators in each room, this may not be a straightforward task. What should you do if everything is not as it should be?
You may be confused as one of your radiators appears to be working perfectly well, while another is only lukewarm. This is likely caused by trapped air within the problem unit that is preventing the hot water from flowing through as it should. Often, you will find that the radiator is warm towards the bottom but cold near to the top and this is because the hot water is simply coming in at one end and out the other without circulating.
You should have a special key to fit into the socket at the top of the unit. Turn this slightly and you will hear a hissing sound, while the trapped air escapes. When this sound dies down and water comes out instead, you can close the bleed screw.
Sometimes, the radiator in question will be completely cold with no evidence of hot water at all. In this case, one or both of the valves may be at fault. Many radiators are fitted with a thermostatic valve that allows you to set the individual temperature or adjust the timing for that zone, so you should first check to see if there is any power to the unit. If not, you will need to get an electrician to help you with replacement.
Your problem may lie in between these radiators and in this case, you may need to flush the system. Over time, impurities in the water can mix with internal corrosion to cause a kind of sludge that can block progress. As this residue will typically accumulate at the bottom, you may notice that you have warmth at the top of the radiator but nothing at the bottom edge.
Calling in the Experts
If you're still scratching your head at this stage, then you will need to get a hot water service to help you get to the bottom of your electrical or plumbing problem.