3 important steps in radiator maintenance

Key tips to remember

  • Inspect your pipes for leaks or cracks
  • Bleed the hot water radiators annually
  • Clean the steam radiator air vents
Maintenance and Repairs

If you live in an older home, you may still have radiators, which is referred to as a radiant heating system, as your main source of warmth in the winter. In this type of setup, you may have a boiler that heats up water and sends it to radiators throughout the house. This then generates warm air. Unlike more recent gas or electric heating systems, radiator systems require a slightly different annual maintenance procedure. Taking these three steps will help you keep your radiators in good shape throughout the year.

1. Inspect your pipes

The first thing you should do 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. Your radiator should have a key that fits into the 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

If you have steam radiators, you'll need to clean out the air vents to maintain proper function. 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.

While these three regular maintenance steps are a great way to ensure that your radiator is running smoothly, the best step is to purchase a Cinch home protection plan for those unexpected breakdowns.  Check out our home protection 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.