How to Troubleshoot Home Radiators

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A broken or malfunctioning home radiator can fail to properly heat your home while making irritating noises. The radiator also can present a safety hazard and raise your utility bills. If there's something wrong with your home radiator, follow these steps to troubleshoot the problem.

  • Carefully feel the radiator to see if all parts of the radiator are hot. If not, identify which parts of the radiator are hot and which are cool. If the top of the radiator is cool, there is probably air trapped in the system and the radiator needs to be bled.

  • To find out if the problem is just with one unit or if it's systemic, check the other radiators in your home or building. If the radiators are cool, the system is probably clogged with a sludge of black iron oxide. A professional plumber needs to clean the system so hot water can reach all parts of the system.

  • Check the radiator's inlet valve. If just one radiator is cool and all the pipes leading to it are properly tilted, there probably is a problem with the radiator's inlet valve. Make sure the valve is completely open by shutting the valve, and then turning it in the opposite direction until it is completely open.

  • Check different floors to see if some radiators are cool while others are hot. If radiators are hot downstairs but cool upstairs, the system's pump is probably not working right. If the radiators downstairs are cool while upstairs they are hot, you might have an empty feed-and-expansion cistern.

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