Self help guide for radiator problems

This guide can help you restore central heating or hot water without calling an engineer, or whilst waiting for an engineer to attend your home.

Only attempt the following if you feel confident to do so - if not, report the repair to book an engineer
If you have a communal heating system, report the repair to us - don't try to fix the problem yourself

First, check if just one or all radiators are not working. If you find one faulty radiator, try to turn the radiator valves to maximum (turn the knob anti-clockwise). If this doesn't work, you may have to bleed the radiator to remove trapped air.

Bleeding a radiator

You'll need a:

  • radiator bleed key (bought from a DIY shop)
  • dry cloth
  • cold central heating system

Follow the instructions below:

  1. For safety, turn the central heating and hot water off on the timer/programmer
  2. Place the dry cloth under the radiator to catch any water that may come out
  3. Find the square bleed screw at the top, side or back of the radiator
  4. Insert the bleed key and turn it slowly anti-clockwise (by no more than 2 turns as the screw shouldn't be removed completely) until you hear a hissing noise
  5. Wait until the hissing stops and you start to see small amounts of water coming from the bleed screw
  6. Retighten the screw but be careful not to over-tighten it
  7. If your boiler is a combination boiler, check the pressure gauge on the front of the boiler - if it's below its normal setting, you'll need to add water to your boiler (see your boiler manual on how to do this)
  8. Turn the heating on and the room thermostat up

If this doesn't work, report the repair to book an engineer. If none of your radiators are working, look at the central heating help guide.

Leaking radiators

To minimise damage from a water leak, turn off the radiator valve at each end of the radiator, use a container to catch leaking water and report the repair to us.

If you have a thermostatic radiator valve (an adjustable type which normally has numbers on it), the valve can open automatically in cold weather, which will continue to leak water. If this happens, report the repair to us.

Page last updated: 28 October 2022


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