Heating Up: A Guide to Radiator Maintenance
If you're lucky enough to have a radiator system to help you and your family through the cooler months, you'll want to make sure it's performing at its best. Just like air conditioning, radiators are effective—but they can be a huge drain on your energy bill. If you're going to spend that money, it's important to ensure that the system is working efficiently, and you're actually feeling the full warming effect. To do that, here's a quick guide to how your radiators should be maintained.
People often talk about 'bleeding' radiators—but what does it actually mean? Well, bleeding involves opening a valve on your radiator to allow excess trapped air to escape. This radically increases the efficiency of your system. Each individual radiator should be bled once a year. To do so, you will either need to call a professional who services radiators or procure a bleeding key with which to open the valve yourself. Be warned—if you do choose to do it yourself, you should be ready to catch any liquid that leaks out.
A buildup of dust on your radiator can vastly impede its efficiency, as the warmth has to effectively fight through a second layer to reach you. To make sure it's performing at its best, you should wash the surface of your radiator with a warm, damp cloth regularly. If there is a buildup of dust inside the radiator itself, you can use canned air to blow it out. However, you may prefer to leave cleaning the inside to a trained expert.
Radiators work by passing heated water through your home. A varying amount of water is dispensed to each individual radiator based on where it is in your home and how hot the water will be when it gets there. In order to ensure this system is working, you should have an expert check it and rebalance it if necessary. This isn't something that needs to be done regularly, but if you notice one radiator gets noticeably hotter than the others, or if itdoesn't heat up at all, then it may be time to call somebody in.
Caring for your radiators yourself is not difficult, but it may be time-consuming - especially if you have a lot of radiators in your home. It may well be worth scheduling an annual service by a professional to take care of them for you. That way, they can look after the general health of the system at the same time as maintaining it, and alert you in advance of any problems you may face—perhaps saving you money in the long run.