Radiator Key

If you don’t already know bleeding your radiators can make your home more energy efficient. There are a number of causes to why your central heating radiators might not be working efficiently so here we are going to tell you why should bleed your heating radiators and how to do so.

What do I need to know about bleeding heating radiators?

Many people don’t actually know how to drain a radiator nor do they know when its time to do so. There are a couple of easy, simple steps to follow to maintain your heating radiators and prevent any damage.

When should you bleed a radiator?

If your finding your central heating system is no longer warming your home, this might be because there are air bubbles trapped in the system. The bubbles stop the water from being able to freely pass through the radiator. You can experience strange noises such as gurgling or creaking. If you leave this for too long, you can experience mould growth and dampness throughout your home.

Before thinking about bleeding your heating radiator, we recommend checking for any blockages. Firstly you will need to turn on your central heating you will need to make sure your thermostatic radiator valve is on full and is not obstructed by anything. If the thermostatic radiator valve (TRV) is covered by anything, this could prevent the radiators from heating as this sensor for surrounding air temperatures. The TRV can be found either at the top or the bottom of the radiator.

Due to the air in the radiators rising to the top of it you will find that it can steadily collect which can make your home colder if the problem isn’t fixed. If this does collects this is when you know it needs bleeding.

If you have rust or erosion collection on your radiator, you may want to check with a local plumber before bleeding your radiator. If you have any water forming beneath your radiator, this could be a sign you need plumbers Buckingham to check for any water leaks in the pipework or radiators.

Kitten on radiator

How to bleed a radiator

  • You will need to start by turning your central heating off, the last thing you want is for boiling water to spray all over you while you’re trying to bleed your radiator.
  • Make sure you have the right tools – first of all, you will need an old rag or towel, a bowl or tray to catch the water which you can get from the Plastic Box Shop. You will also need your radiator key, don’t worry if you cant find it or no longer have one you can purchase them from ScrewFix.
  • You will need to find the square bleed screw at the top corner of your radiator, we recommend placing the bowl underneath before you do this just in case any water comes flying out.
  • You will then want to place the radiator key onto the square fitting bearing in mind this must be snug so if it is rather lose you potentially have the wrong key, grab another cloth and place over the key you will need to apply pressure and push anti-clockwise. The cloth is there to protect your hands. You will then hear hissing as the air starts to release. As you do this, you will also need to hold the cloth close as you may experience spitting water.
  • Once the air stops making noise you will notice water will begin to trickle out steadily, you will then want to tighten the screw clockwise. Many people tend to damage the valve because they tighten it too much, be wary of this when doing so, it needs to be tight enough that you won’t experience any leakage.
  • We always recommend wiping down the radiator once you’re done as any leftover moisture can cause rusting.
  • Switch your central heating back on, check all the radiators are heating correctly and that none of the valves is leaking.

Hat and glove on radiator

How else can I improve my heating?

There is a range of different ways to heating your home, but you might want to consider radiator foils, they are great for walls that lead outside. If you fit radiator foils to all your exposed walls on your property, you could see a £20 saving. You might be put off by how they look and whether they are hard to install. However there is now a range on the market which is not noticeable and is easier to install, it is all about the research.

A significant 50% of our home energy bills go on heating our home and hot water. By knowing how to bleed your radiators, you will see a substantial difference in the cost of your energy bills.

Another thing to consider is proper insulation which can make a big difference to how energy efficient your home can be. If you insulate your internal walls and ceilings, it will prevent any warm air from escaping. This also works well in the summer months as it traps the cool air.

Another option to think about is a radiator booster, this sits typically on the top of your radiator and pushes the warm air around the room. The radiator boost does use electricity to run but will help towards reducing your water bills, so we recommend only turning it on when necessary.

Radiator Survey


Bleeding your radiators don’t have to be a difficult task when you know how to it becomes easier and you are more likely to know exactly when it needs to be done. If you hear any gurgling or creaking from your radiators, it is most likely time for you to bleed them, before going ahead make sure you have all the essential tools and the central heating is turned off. You may also want to consider having a radiator survey completed which can pick up any potential problems with your central heating.

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