It may seem a little ironic that excessive heat inside the house coming from heat panels, air conditioners, or radiators is what makes us sick during the winter, more so than the looming cold. Too much heat makes the air more dry and dusty, causing dryness of the throat and the skin. Author RonyB previously recommended the use of humidifiers to work with your heating system, to fight winter illnesses due to excessive heat. However, radiator maintenance is still necessary for keeping your interiors consistently and comfortably warm during the winter. Though maintenance is minimal, it is important to make sure you do it properly and follow these steps to keep your system running efficiently.
Bleed the Radiator
If your radiator feels cold at the top but hot at the bottom, there’s air probably trapped inside it, and you will need to bleed the unit. If you let trapped air bubbles to remain there, it may cause damage over time and the radiator will definitely be wasting energy and money. That’s because it will not be able to heat up your home despite all the hot water flowing into it.
Moreover, a guide to bleeding your radiator by HomeServe lists some other warning signs to watch out for such as when your radiator rattles, or if you start to find mold around the house. Despite the term, bleeding is not a complicated process, and can be done in a few steps. Once you’ve identified the faulty radiators, turn off your heating and wait for them to cool. Place a cloth underneath the radiator to catch any water that will be released by your radiator’s bleed valve before opening the valve to release the air. You should hear a hissing sound, and when that stops, simply close the valve.
Check the Boiler Pressure
After the radiator is bled of air, you will next want to check the boiler pressure. Open the service panel on the boiler, and look for a temperature and pressure gauge. A cold boiler should read 1.3 bar, depending on the manufacturer, and a hot boiler should read 1.5-1.8 bar.
If your boiler falls under these pressure guidelines, you may need to add more water to the system. A cold water pipe that leads into your boiler can be opened in order to allow more water in, which you should do while closely watching the pressure gauge. Shut the cold water valve when your gauge hits 1.3 bar.
If you accidentally bring the pressure above 1.3 bar, your system will have a pressure relief valve. Be aware that this valve will evacuate water to balance the system, so make sure you have a large bucket underneath it to catch any water that spills out. You can also use this valve to release water if your gauges are reading too high from the beginning. If that does not work, WikiHow’s guide to reducing boiler pressure will give other methods to help you, including solving uncommon problems you may encounter.
Don’t Forget the Combustion Chamber
Your boiler is powered by a combustion chamber, which provides the fire to heat the water in your radiators. If the chamber collects too much residue, it may not perform efficiently. Cleaning out the chamber is dangerous due to fire risk, so it is advised to have a professional provide this service for your system every few years. This Old House recommends annual servicing and shows how professionals do it should you feel confident to do it yourself.
A properly maintained system can last for decades with little work. And with these tips, you will have a better idea of how to do radiator maintenance each year to keep your system working efficiently.
Just make sure to always use caution with your radiator system, ensuring the water is cooled and safe before attempting any of these maintenance tasks. Though radiators are very safe, any maintenance performed when the boiler is hot can result in severe burns from hot water or steam.