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Controlling your heating system

If you intend to leave your home unoccupied for more than two days in winter you should ask a trusted person to operate the central heating system or set the thermostat to 10°C to avoid freezing.

Do not restrict the air supply to the boiler by blocking off any means of ventilation.

Any signs of rust on central heating radiators should be removed by light sanding and then repainted which will stop further corrosion.

Most central heating controls have an auto, on and off setting. The auto setting will set the heating and hot water to come on at the times chosen. The on setting will override the auto settings and allow the heating and hot water to be on constantly. The off setting will override the auto to switch either the hot water or the heating off permanently.

Separate thermostat controls on radiators allow you to adjust the temperature of each room individually.

Storage heaters store heat from electricity supplied at cheaper off peak night rates and release it the following day.

Ensure all heating controls are set properly to meet your needs.


Bleeding a radiator

If the top part of the radiator is cold it is likely that air has become trapped in the system. Bleeding the radiator releases this air and allows hot water to fill the whole system. If the whole radiator is cold make sure that it is turned on. If the radiator is cold and the pipe leading to the radiator is warm even though the radiator is on it could be that the valve has seized up. If the whole system is cold then this will need to be checked by a plumber.


If you have a combination boiler or sealed systems do not bleed the radiator, check to see what type of boiler you have.

The heating system should be turned off before bleeding the radiator, otherwise the pump will draw more air into the system.

The bleed valve is located at the top end of the radiator and is a small square nut. Place a radiator key (available at most hardware stores) over the valve and gently turn the key anti-clockwise. It is advisable that a cloth should be held around the valve to catch any water. Once all the air has escaped and water starts coming out of the bleed valve turn the key back clockwise to shut the valve off.


Freeing a seized thermostatic radiator valve

If a radiator contains water but is cold when turned on and the pipes are hot this usually means that the thermostatic radiator valve has stuck due to the system not being used. If the top part of the radiator only is cold then it will need bleeding.


Remove the thermostat by undoing the knurled nut by hand. The valve has a small steel pin that may be stuck, this regulates the flow of hot water to the radiator. Gently tap the side of the valve body with a hammer to try to release the pin. If this doesn’t work then spray the pin with a lubricant and try to gently ease it out with a pair of pliers. Once free check that the pin can be pushed down and that it can spring back up again of its own accord. Replace the thermostat and tighten the knurled nut.

If this process does not work then contact a plumber.

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