Kick-Start Your Heating With Our Five Minute Guide To Radiators


Winter is coming, and now is the time when most of us dig out our winter clothing, call the chimney sweep and think about turning on the central heating. When exactly you start to use the heating can vary from year to year, but if you still haven’t done this by November, it’s best to have it ready at a moment’s notice.

Kick-Start Your Heating With Our Five Minute Guide To Radiators Photo Gallery


How you prepare your home for winter will depend on the type of heating system you have. In new builds and extensions, many people choose electric radiators, as this saves installing an entirely new system and requires no preparation each year. However, if you own a period home, chances are that there is already plumbing in place for hot water radiators. In this case forward planning is necessary, as during the summer when your heating is out of action, air enters the pipes and collects near the top of each radiator.

This prevents hot water from filling the radiator, which in will reduce the heat output. Luckily, it’s easy to find out if this is the case – after you’ve turned your heating on for the first time, carefully touch the top of the radiator. If the surface is cold, you’ll need to remove the trapped air by bleeding the radiators. Make sure the heating is off (this is vital to avoid injuring yourself and covering the floor with water) and find a radiator key and some rags. If you can’t find the radiator key, a flat-blade screwdriver will suffice.

The radiator valve is located at the top corner of the radiator; fit the key into the groove of the vale, and hold the rag underneath to catch any drips. Twist the key anti-clockwise until you hear the air escaping and be prepared as the sound begins to slow, as hot water will be travelling upwards to push the air out. As soon as water begins to drip out, shut the valve quickly by turning the key clockwise. The final thing to remember is to check the gauge on your boiler, as bleeding can often reduce the pressure in the system. If this is the case, adjust the pressure in accordance with the manufacturer’s advice.


If you’re looking to update your heating, there is a wealth of options available. Generally, the cheapest and easiest option is to stick with an existing system, but if you’re looking for a model that suits the age of your property, this shouldn’t present too much of a problem. Cast-iron radiators look lovely and stand the as you can always improve your existing space test of time, and there are plenty of refurbished models available for purchase. Restored school and hospital radiators are a popular choice, as are column radiators if you want to make a statement. However if you have no plumbing in place for heating, all is not lost; there are plenty of electric reproduction options on the market as well.

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