It’s easy to take something as every day as central heating for granted, but without a bit of love and attention even something as reliable as your radiators can pack in. Central heating systems can develop all sorts of problematic issues and build ups such as rattling noises, lime-scale, corrosion, cold spots and mineral deposits – just to name a few. Here are some tips on caring for your radiators to keep them efficient and healthy.
Firstly, radiators need regular bleeding – if this isn’t something you’ve not done for a long time you’ll undoubtedly feel the difference! Air or gas can get trapped in the piping and prevent the hot water from heating the radiator fully. To find out which radiators need bleeding, turn up the heating and test each one for cold spots by touch. Once you know which radiators will benefit most from bleeding, turn off the central heating.
The next thing you’ll need is to get hold of your radiator key – if you haven’t got one, go out and buy one! Most good hardware shops will stock them, but be sure to check the valve first before you go out shopping; unfortunately, not all radiators are born the same!
Use the key to turn the valve on the radiator very slightly. You want to turn it enough to let out air but not too much water; be sure to have a bowl or cloth on hand to catch any drips. Once the gas has fully escaped, reclose the valve tightly. Finally, once you have completed this for all the radiators, check the pressure on your boiler. It will have dropped and may be too low to operate effectively. If this is the case, top it up via the filling loop on your boiler; your boiler’s manual should point you in the right direction on where to find it.
Banging noises in the pipes are often due to pipes expanding and contracting with the heating and cooling cycles, but they could also be from air trapped in the system. If the latter is the case, bleeding radiators as described above should resolve the problem. If you have bled your radiators and there are still noises disturbing your home life, locate the source of the noise and check to see if any pipes have come loose. If you find this to be the case, secure them again to eliminate the noises.
Supply Valve Packing
Check for moisture near the supply valve. Over time the packing around the supply valve can deteriorate and start letting moisture out. If you notice moisture building in this area you will need to replace the supply valve packing. To do this, close the supply valve and loosen the packing nut. Wrap the valve stem with more packing, tighten and reopen the supply valve. Moisture may still ooze out temporarily but should stop after a couple of hours.
To properly look after your central heating system, water treatment by chemicals or filtering systems are vital. A water treatment system will cleanse and protect your boiler, radiator, pipes and cylinders, reducing the chance of mishap and damage and increasing the lifespan of your system over all.
Even the best radiators and central heating systems will perform below its optimum without proper treatment. Without water treatment, cold spots can arise from a build-up of metal oxide, corrosion can cause pump seizure or failure and boiler noise. These problems will cause you extra hassle and cost for repairs from expensive engineers.
Other problems that can be prevented by water treatments are caused by lime scale and iron oxide deposits; these can reduce efficiency and eventually cause damage that will require more costly attention. Before that happens though, an inefficient heating system will drive up your energy consumption, increase your CO2 emission and push up your bills. Simple, easy water treatments will avoid all this hassle and extra cost.