Leaking Boiler

Tips to Help You Fix a Leaking Radiator

Apr-2020 / 4 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes

From the pre-historic hearths and Korean Ondol to the Franklin Stove and British steam heating systems, indoor heating has been a prominent feature in different countries. For as long as autumn and winter left people yearning for warmth, heaters were a necessity. When Stephen Gold, Franz Sans Galli, and other manufacturers invented their own models of the radiator, it would be a mainstay in houses for the longest time. Today, these contraptions come in different designs and models but with one commonality. 

All radiators have a copper pipe that is bent back and forth until it forms a metal circuit along the side of your house. Through convection, hot water will move through these pipes and provide warmth. There are three ways radiators can do that:

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Dual Fuel Radiators

As the name suggests, this radiator has the option to connect to either the central heating or the main electricity. When the power starts, the heated towel rail can either heat up with the rest of your radiator system or operate on its own via electricity.

Electric Radiators

These types of radiators are deemed energy-efficient as it does not need gas to operate. They have a container filled with thermo-fluid that heats up once the machine is plugged to the nearest power outlet.

Central Heating Radiators

The most common out of the three, central heating radiators are connected to a boiler that heats up the water.

From these, there are different types the market offers:

K1 Radiators

Also called single panel radiators or Type 11, these are the most basic and most affordable out of the four. This feature only has one panel mounted onto the wall and works best in medium or small rooms.

P+ Radiators

K1’s counterpart, this has double panels that are stacked on top of each other with the convector in between. Once they are mounted onto the wall, they are noticeably thicker than the previous radiator. This offers better heating, perfect for rooms on the corners of your house. Being a newer model, they are also called Type 21. 

K2 Radiators

As an upgrade to P+, K2 or Type 22 radiators not only have two panels but also two convectors between them. Because of the added power, this can warm up a large room without needing to be larger in size.

K3 Radiators

These radiators are more heavy-duty, having three panels and three convectors. Perfect for rooms with more space, its panels are more spread out to provide even heating.

Once you have chosen the design that works best with your home and has it set up, maintaining its quality can save you a lot of money. Because radiators have hot water passing through its pipes, leaks are common problems households have had to face for many years. 

A leaking radiator can cause multiple problems. While a leak itself is not dangerous, getting too close to a radiator with hot water spewing from it can cause burns on our skin. If your radiator is leaking and the water seeps into your carpet or the flooring and is left unattended, this can lead to expensive water damage. 

Stay cost and energy-efficient by keeping your radiator clean and leak-free. Simply follow these steps:

Identify where the leak is coming from

Before going anywhere near your radiator, it’s best to place towels around it and prepare a bucket beside you. Having water pour all over the room might be the worst-case scenario but it’s important to prepare for anything that could happen. Another precautionary measure is to wear protective gear around your hands and arms.

When you have all of that in place, get an old towel and pat your radiator and its panels completely dry. Afterwards, get some toilet paper and find the leak by placing it on different parts of the machine. They will come from either of the three: the body of the radiator, the controls (e.g. the bleed point and thermostatic valve), or the pipes that connect the boiler and the radiator.

Repair what can be salvaged and replace what cannot

One of the easiest parts to repair on a leaking radiator is the radiator dashboard. First, take a look at the bleed point. This is meant to release air that has settled inside the radiator. If you find that there is a leaking radiator valve or the bleed valve is moist, try to turn it clockwise. If the screw tightens, that means the valve loosened. 

If the bleed valve isn’t tightening, the cause of the radiator leak is probably at the thermostatic valve. This integral part of the heating system dictates the temperature of the room by controlling how much water will enter the radiator. It slows the water down, stops it, and allows it to flow again when the radiator cools. If you find it leaking, this is most likely caused by the wax inside the knob. When this object expands or contracts according to the temperature, it acts as a sign for more water to flow through. In time, it may wear out and cause leaks when it is partly open. Notice if the leak stops once you fully close the valve.

Since repairing the thermostatic valve needs some expertise, we don’t recommend doing this without prior knowledge and experience. However, if you know your tools, you may try to take your dashboard apart.

First, drain the leaking valve. Next, close the supply and lock valve, noting how many turns it takes. After you undo the union nut and open the bleed valve, make sure to catch all the water that escapes. Take some PTFE tape and wrap it around the valve tip. Afterwards, you can assemble everything back, wait for your radiator to refill, and check if the leak is still there.

If the leak is coming from the body of the radiator, then placing a sealant on it can act as a temporary solution. These holes are caused by black sludge collecting inside that will later create patches of rust. As these parts are irreparable, it is best to seal the hole until a plumbing engineer sees to it.

A leaky radiator is an issue that you do not want to get stuck with. It is also expensive to buy a new radiator, costing you up to thousands of pounds. Before this happens, give us a call so that we can provide maintenance service like draining the insides of your radiator. Not only will this increase the longevity of your machine but also keep it from draining your wallet of money.

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