3 Causes of Cold Radiators

Posted on: 30 April 2019

As winter approaches, many people are turning on their home heating systems in preparation for cold weather. If you switch on the heating and notice that your hot water radiators do not heat up, there is no need to panic. There are several common causes of cold radiators, all of which are possible to solve in time for winter.

1. Your Radiators Need Bleeding 

One common cause of cold radiators is air trapped inside, which prevents hot water from flowing into the radiator. Most often, the radiators will be warm at the bottom but cold at the top. You can fix this problem by "bleeding" the radiator to release the trapped air. To bleed your radiator, insert a radiator key into the valve at the end of the radiator and turn it to release the air. The radiator will make a hissing noise. Be aware that the rush of air will likely be followed by a trickle of water, so it is a good idea to have a towel on hand to protect your carpet or flooring.

If you cannot find a radiator key, a flat head screwdriver often works just as well. Be sure to tighten the valve again once the air has escaped.

2. There's a Leak in the System

Sometimes, radiators failing to heat up can be a sign of a leak somewhere in the hot water system. In this case, both the radiators and the pipes that bring water to them are cold even when the water heater is switched on. If you suspect there is a leak in your hot water system, you need to switch off the water supply and call a plumber right away. Plumbing services can locate the leak and repair or replace the damaged section of pipe.

3. The Water Heater Is Broken

Sometimes, radiators do not get hot because the boiler that is supposed to heat the water is not working. First, check the settings to ensure that the water heater is turned on. Once you have verified that the water heater is not heating up when it should, call a plumber. A professional plumbing service can diagnose the problem with your water heater and let you know whether it is possible to repair it.

If the problem cannot be repaired, you will need to replace the water heater. An experienced plumber can let you know what options are most suitable for your home.