Did you have a central heating problem back in the winter but never got it sorted? While central heating might not be at the top of your list during the summer months, now is a good time to plan ahead.
The last thing you want in the colder months is to find out that you’ve got a faulty radiator leaving you freezing in your home. If you test out your central heating before you need it, this will give you time to fix and pay for any problems before they cause too much trouble for you.
Radiators not heating up
There are usually two possibly causes for this and it will depend on where about on your radiator is not heating up properly. In order to narrow down the cause, put the heating on and test your radiators to see if they’re hot all over. If not, they could have one of the two problems below:
If you radiator is cool at the top, you’ve probably got air pockets. These can stop hot water from reaching that section and this prevents the radiator from working effectively.
Luckily this can be solved easily enough by bleeding the radiator. First make sure that your radiator is cool. Then use a radiator key to loosen the air bleed valve at the side. You’ll hear a hissing sound which is the air escaping. After this you can retighten the valve again and mop up any spilt water.
If the bottom of your radiator is cold, then this is an indication that there’s a build-up of sludge in the system.
Radiator sludge is a mixture of dirt from the water inside your radiator and iron oxide (rust). It’s a result of your radiator corroding over time and the resulting sludge settling at the bottom of your radiator. It’s common in older systems.
In order to flush your radiator, you will have to remove it from the wall and tip out the contents. It’s a good idea to take it outside and manually flush the sludge out with a hosepipe. Just make sure to protect your floors and furniture if you do this to avoid the dirt ruining them.
However, this only takes care of one radiator and might not be an option if you’re not confident enough to take the radiator off.
Your second option is to power flush through your whole central heating system. You’ll probably need to do this if you’ve got the same problem in more than one radiator.
It’s more expensive because you’ll have to hire an engineer to do this. However, it means that you’ll sort all your radiators out in one go. An engineer will apply a powerful but low pressure flow throughout your system which should dislodge any sludge. The process will take around 4-5 hours.
A common problem with boilers is that they become noisy, you’ll sometimes hear banging sounds when it’s turned on. This can be caused by a build-up of sludge or pockets of air, much in the same way as radiators are affected.
If you’ve got a build-up of sludge then this will cause pockets of steam or a restriction in water flow which end up creating the banging sounds.
Boilers are a bit more complicated so if you’re having trouble with them, you’ll need to seek out a licensed professional. If you’re not licensed to work with gas, then you can’t start working on your boiler yourself.
It’s not unusual to hear banging or creaking in your pipes. This usually occurs because there’s not enough room for the water to flow through the pipes. If there’s not enough room, pipes will rub against joists and create a knocking sound.
In order to solve this issue, you might have to alter the joists or cut a bit away in order to widen gap to let the water pass though without trouble. Again, finding a licensed professional will be your best option in most cases.