Central Heating Tips For Winter

Colin from British Gas presents some great tips on getting the most out of your central heating system in winter.

With just a few simple checks and adjustments you can keep your home warm more efficiently and save money too. And, don’t forget to have your gas appliances regularly inspected by a qualified engineer at regular intervals.

Answer from Adam

Thank you for your question regarding the radiator in your bedroom being cold.

You can always check that the thermostat setting is high enough and that the other valve on the radiator is open. If it used to work and now doesn’t, it may need what we term as bleeding. The radiator may be full of air rather than water, in which case the air needs letting out or exhausting.

To bleed a radiator you will need a radiator key. Then follow the instructions:

If the top section of a radiator is cold when the heating is on, it is usually an indication that air has got into the system somewhere and has become trapped. Air in a radiator will rise to the top forming a pocket stopping the hot water from getting to that part. This can be released by bleeding the radiator, remember to turn the heating off first and be careful of any hot water that may come out.

When air is bled or released from an open vented system, the water in the system will be topped up by the feed and expansion tank.

If a radiator in a sealed system needs bleeding the pressure in the system will be reduced. The system will, therefore, needed to be topped up. However, sealed systems are different from open vented ones and have no feed and expansion tank. The instruction manual for your system may have details of how to top up the system. If not, or if you have any doubts at all, contact us.

Bleed the radiator

bleeding the radiatorYou will need a radiator key and an old rag. Radiator keys are readily available from DIY stores and ironmongers. Armed with the rag beneath, use the radiator key to slacken the air bleed valve which is at one end towards the top of the radiator.

There will be a hissing sound as the air comes out. As soon as water begins to flow, close the vent again and wipe away any water.

Take care not to get scalded – the water may be pretty hot.
The heating can then be switched back on.

Air release valve

Some systems have an automatic air release valve fitted. This usually has a small red top which should be slack to enable the air to escape.

Radiators should not need frequent ‘bleeding’. If they do, air is getting into the system or may be generated by an unclean system. In this case, the system may require a complete flush, which we offer as a service.

DIY Skills missing

A recent study by Halifax Home Insurance has discovered that around 50% of those aged under 35 do not know how to rewire a plug, while 54% couldn’t bleed a radiator and an incredible 63% admitted that they would never attempt putting up wallpaper. The survey also found that 45% would ask someone else to put up a shelf and 36% don’t even bother to do their gardens.

42% would rather employ a professional than try to undertake such jobs themselves. A significant proportion admitted that they usually ask their father to help them with DIY jobs because he is much better than they are.

Unfortunately, when people under the age of 35 try to complete a DIY job, they find that it often goes wrong and can cost up to three times as much to put right as it would for any other age group. Those under 35 will pay around £2500 to fix a botched DIY job while those aged over 45 pay just £800.

Martyn Foulds from Halifax points out that young households could be storing up all sorts of problems for the future when it comes to household maintenance and home improvements, just because they don’t feel they have the experience or knowledge to complete even the most basic tasks.