Is your radiator full of sludge? Has it been many years since you last cleaned your radiators, or have you never cleaned your radiator at all? Most people don’t even know that cleaning their radiators out is an important job designed to ensure maximum heating in the room. If you don’t get them cleaned out, this can stop your central heating working as efficiently as it should, or can even prevent it from working completely. Making the intelligent decision to have a radiator flush or cleaning your radiators to prevent problems from occurring is the right way to go. You may be able to tell that you need to clean sludge from your radiator if it is warm at the top or at the sides, but is cold at the bottom. Surprisingly this is pretty common but most people don’t even realise that sludge is the reason for the radiator no longer working. Rust and dirt will naturally sink to the bottom of a radiator and create a thick sludgy layer that takes a long time to heat up.
Doing the yearly spring clean is a big job and if you’re like most people, making a list of what jobs to do is the most important thing to do. On that job list you should definitely be including the home maintenance jobs like cleaning and bleeding out the radiators. Each year, radiators build up a sort of ‘sludge’ through them and if your central heating isn’t performing as well as it should, you may find that bleeding your radiators is a good place to start; it may even solve the problem outright. Either way, bleeding regularly is a good habit to get into to keep your home warm and your family comfortable. Companies such as aebheatingandplumbing.com always recommend proper drainage of radiators to avoid any plumbing issues.
It may sound like a fairly technical term, but you’ll be surprised how easy it is to bleed a radiator. We’re not meaning that you should take a knife and stab it repeatedly, this isn’t that type of bleeding. Before starting, turn off your hot water and your central heating, and wait until the central heating system is completely cold. You definitely don’t want boiling water spraying you in the face the moment you put in the radiator key. Then, place a dry cloth or two underneath the radiator – this is important as otherwise you could damage your carpet or flooring with the water that comes out. Some people choose to place a bucket or a tray underneath the radiator so if discoloured water comes out it won’t ruin the carpet. For the next part, you’ll need a radiator bleed key. These can be bought from any DIY shop and don’t cost much. Look for the square bleed screw which should be located at the top of the radiator, on the side or on the back. Insert the bleed key and – slowly – turn it anticlockwise, by no more than two turns though as you don’t want to remove the screw completely. You will hear a hissing noise, and this is normal. Wait until the hissing stops, and you’ll start to see a small amount of water coming out from the bleed screw, at which point you should tighten the bleed screw again (but be careful not to over-tighten it). Repeat the process for all the radiators in your house.