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Heating and air conditioning

The cold arrives, you turn on the heating and... Surprise, surprise: The radiators aren’t getting hot enough. In this article, we’ll show you how to bleed your radiators to avoid this problem.

Sometimes, when you touch a radiator and find that it’s not getting hot enough despite having the heating on full, you might think there’s  a fault but in most cases it's just that you need to bleed the radiators. It’s a simple process that you can (and should) do at certain times to improve the efficiency of your heating system

What does bleeding the radiators mean?

Radiators work using a hot water circuit that moves inside them. To be fully efficient, they need the hot water to circulate and no “air bubbles” to be produced in the circuit.

However, it’s quite common for a little air to leak into the circuit and, therefore, their efficiency decreases and they don't emit heat evenly.

Bleeding a radiator is nothing more than extracting those air bubbles to optimise circulation in the water circuit and make it work more efficiently. In other words, removing the excess air from the radiator circuit to improve the energy efficiency of the heating system.

This is very important. We must ensure that our heating system works properly. An efficient heating system will save you energy and, therefore, save you money on your bills by reducing consumption.

"We recommend that you bleed the radiators before each cold season".

How do I know if I have to bleed the radiators?

The main symptom is that the radiator does not heat up well, or does not heat up evenly. It is also common for strange noises to be heard when turning on the heating, such as the gurgling or sputtering of water, which are caused by the air that has accumulated in the system that you need to remove.

Why is it important to bleed the radiators?

Mainly to save both energy and money.

If we don’t do it, the boiler will work twice as hard to produce the same heat and, therefore, we will consume much more energy and spend more money.

When should we bleed the radiators?

You can bleed them whenever you want, but the most common time to do so is just before the cold season and always taking into account your own habits. For example, if you usually put the heating on from November, you should bleed the radiators around October. If your area requires heating from October, then you should bleed your radiator system in September.

The general rule of thumb is to do it just before the season when you use the heating the most, or before the time your climate control programme begins.

What we do recommend is that you anticipate that you should do it. It’s advisable not to wait for the temperatures to drop, when you need the heating, as if you haven’t done your homework before, it’ll work badly, be inefficient, and it will make you waste money and energy.

How do I bleed the radiators, step by step?

First of all, don't panic. Anyone can do it and it is a fairly simple process in which you basically have to be careful with 3 little things:

  • he boiler pressure
  • The water temperature
  • The bleed valve

Now, let's move onto the steps:

  1. Check the system.

    Turn on the heating and run your hand over the top of the radiator. Then do it from the bottom. If they are at different temperatures (the bottom hot and the top cold), you need to bleed it. The air rises to the top and therefore it stays cold (not being in contact with hot water, but with air).

  2. Wait by the first radiator.

    Go to the radiator closest to the boiler. You need to know the route the water takes and bleed the radiators starting with the one closest to the boiler, ending with the one furthest away. In this way, we ensure they're all bled properly.

  3. Bleed the radiator.

    You need a container (a large glass will do), and a screwdriver. You can also use a cloth in case some water spills.

    Next, find the valve at the top of the radiator and follow these steps:

    • Place a container under the valve. Hold a bowl or glass and place it under the valve. If you look closely, there is a small spout where the air will come out followed by the water, so make sure the container is right below it. This will prevent the floor from getting wet when the water starts to come out through the valve.
    • Open the valve with a screwdriver. You can also use a coin to open the valve tap. The valve opens and air begins to “hiss” until water begins to come out. The jet will not be uniform so you must wait until it is fluid to close the valve.
    • Repeat the operation on all radiators. Remember to follow the flow of the water, radiator by radiator. 

  4. Reset the boiler pressure.

    When you have bled all the radiators, you should check the pressure on the boiler. You should follow the manufacturer's recommendations, but boilers are usually set between 1 and 1.5 bars. The most common setting is to leave it at 1.5 bars.

  5. Enjoy the comfort of the optimal temperature.

    Now, the only thing left to do is to check that the system works efficiently and observe the improvement in your home's heating
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