If there’s one thing you want to work properly in winter, it’s your radiators. You can lower the odds of heating malfunctions by giving your radiators a check-over before the cold weather really sets in. Let’s look closer at how to do that and what to consider depending on the types of radiators you have.
When is the right time to check?
There’s often a very obvious shift between summer and autumn. As soon as you feel the weather turn, it’s time to check the radiators. They have probably been lying dormant for a while, so now they need some TLC.
Winter prep tasks to consider
So what exactly do you need to check? Well, here’s a quick list just for you:
- Leak-proofing: Leaks can do a lot of damage and leave you shivering. Anticipate them by keeping an ear out for hissing, gurgling or knocking noises. Loss of boiler pressure could be another sign. Call a gas-safe engineer out if you have any reason to doubt.
- Water tanks and boiler checks: Get annual inspections done by a gas-safe engineer. Don’t skip this step. If either of these items fails, you could be in for a winter of havoc. Does a burst tank explosion sound appealing to you? We thought not.
- Thermostatic valve checks: This refers to the valve on the side of your radiator that you use to control the temperature. It often stays in one place over summer, which may cause the valve to get stuck. Another problem may be that you feel no resistance at all when you turn it. Check that the valve is compatible with your boiler and get it looked at if you need to.
Of course, there are different considerations for electric and oil-fitted radiators.
How to prepare electric radiators
A common problem with electric radiators in winter occurs when the circuit breaker (AKA the fuse) trips. This happens because as an electric radiator ages, it’s more likely to develop small faults.
You should check that all the wiring is undamaged, clean all filters, cuts and vents, and test the radiator to see if it emits any unusual sounds.
If this radiator is more than 10 years old, there’s a chance it could be eating into your energy bills. Consider if it’s time to get a replacement.
How to prepare the oil-filled radiators
Though these typically require less maintenance than their electricity-powered counterparts, an autumnal inspection is still wise. After you first use it for the colder months, it could be a good idea to bleed it. You’ll know it needs bleeding when you can feel cold patches even though it’s been heating up for a while.
Most of the heating checks you can do are fairly straightforward. Of course, calling out a professional to do more complex checks should also be part of your routine. You can save yourself a lot of agro by staying on top of it.