If you live in an older home, you may still have radiators. And if you do, you need to worry about your radiator maintenance.
If radiators - which are also referred to as a radiant heating system - are your main source of warmth in the winter, this is how it works. You may have a boiler that heats up water and sends it to radiators throughout the house. This then generates warm air. Not maintaining these radiators can cost you quite a bit of money. And with an average annual home heating cost of $1,000 or more, finding ways to save on these costs is essential.
Radiator maintenance tips
1. Inspect your pipes
The first thing you should do maintain your radiators is regularly examine your piping for any potential problems. Check your radiators and the pipes surrounding them for any cracks or leaks - even a small drip could become a big problem if not addressed.
Next, examine the pipes around your boiler for similar issues, but be careful not to touch any hot water pipes. You should replace any problematic pipes immediately or your heating system will not be able to sustain the pressure required to warm your home.
2. Bleed hot water radiators
Hot water radiators will not warm your home efficiently if there is air trapped in them. The process for getting air released is called “bleeding” and it’s important to do it annually to maintain your radiators.
Your radiator should have a key that fits into the water shutoff valve on one end of the radiator. To bleed the radiator, insert the key and turn it counterclockwise until water begins to drip out.
Have a container on hand to catch the runoff. This process will release any trapped air so your radiator can heat up properly.
To close the valve, turn the key back to its original position when nothing but water is coming out. Once you're finished, you should make sure the pressure gauge on your heating system is still within the manufacturer's recommended range. If it's not, add water through the water fill valve.
3. Clean steam radiator vents
To maintain steam radiators, you'll need to clean out its air vents. These vents are located halfway down one side of each radiator.
If the air hole becomes plugged, it can compromise the efficiency of your heating system. To clean them out, simply use a fine wire or sewing needle to clear any debris from the hole. In addition, make sure that the vent does not get painted over or covered by furniture.
Concluding thoughts on radiator maintenance
While these three regular radiator maintenance steps are a great way to ensure that it is running smoothly, the best step is to purchase a Cinch home protection plan for those unexpected breakdowns. Check out our home warranty plans, which will cover breakdowns caused by normal wear and tear, no matter the age of your appliances or system.
The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.