Radiators Not Heating? Here’s What to Do

by | Dec 10, 2023 | Uncategorized

As autumn deepens into winter, with longer nights and chillier days, one thing becomes crucial in our homes – the central heating system. It’s a common scenario: you turn on your radiator, anticipating a cosy, warm room, but instead, it stays cold, even after a considerable wait. This situation not only causes discomfort but also signals a potential need for heating system repair in Belfast.

This situation is not just frustrating but also raises concerns about potential costly repairs. At CJT Services, we understand that there can be various reasons behind a non-functioning radiator, and we’re here to guide you through identifying these issues.

To make the troubleshooting process easier, we’ll categorise the problems into two main types:

  1. Issues when only one radiator is not heating up.
  2. Challenges faced when multiple radiators are not functioning.

Our expertise in heating system repair in Belfast equips us to offer you the right guidance to pinpoint and resolve the issue effectively.

Troubleshooting a Single Non-Working Radiator

Identifying whether the heating issue is isolated to one radiator or affects multiple units is crucial in pinpointing the root cause of the problem. If you find that only one radiator isn’t working and its pipes are cold, there are several checks you can perform. Some problems might need professional help and you will then need a heating system repair in Belfast, but others could be simple enough for you to resolve on your own.

Let’s explore possible causes for a single non-functioning radiator:

Air Pockets in the Radiator

A common issue is the presence of air pockets. If your radiator is cold at the top but warm at the bottom, it’s likely that air has accumulated inside. This trapped air takes up space meant for hot water, disrupting the radiator’s circulation.

To remedy this, you’ll need to bleed the radiator. Use a radiator key to turn the bleed screw. Listen for the hissing sound of escaping air and continue until water starts to dribble out. Once water appears, tighten the bleed screw back into place.

After bleeding the radiator, it’s important to check the pressure in your boiler system to ensure it’s within the appropriate range. This step is essential for maintaining the overall efficiency and safety of your heating system.

Troubleshooting a Faulty Radiator Thermostat

A malfunctioning radiator thermostat is another common issue. Sometimes, the thermostatic radiator valve (TRV) might inadvertently shift from a set temperature to an off position. It’s also not uncommon for these valves to seize in a closed position, especially if they’ve been set at a high temperature for an extended period.

Here’s a simple way to check if your radiator thermostat is working properly:

  1. Inspecting the Thermostatic Radiator Valve: Start by removing the top cover of the valve. This is usually secured with a knurled nut that can be unscrewed by hand. It’s important to be careful during this process – avoid loosening any other nuts on the valve to prevent water leakage.
  1. Checking the Valve Pin: Once the cover is off, examine the central pin inside the valve. You should be able to move this pin up and down by a few millimetres. If the pin is immovable, it indicates that it has seized.
  1. Attempting to Free the Seized Pin: Gently tap the pin to try and loosen it. If you can’t free the pin or if it appears damaged, the valve might need to be replaced. In such cases, we highly recommend consulting a professional for the replacement.

Addressing issues with your radiator thermostat can be straightforward in some instances, but always proceed with caution. 

Addressing Sludge and Blockages in Radiators

Occasionally, you might find that a radiator is cold at the bottom but warm at the top. This unusual situation often points to the presence of sludge, debris, or a blockage within the radiator. Such accumulations hinder the circulation of hot water, especially at the lower part of the radiator.

To effectively tackle this issue, professional intervention is usually the best approach. Experts in heating system repair in Belfast, like those at our company, can provide a specialised service known as power flushing.

Dealing with Radiator Leaks

Encountering a leak in your radiator can be a source of frustration, particularly because it might necessitate a replacement of the radiator. In some cases, using external sealers or leak sealers can be an effective temporary solution, depending on how severe the leak is.

Leaks are often a result of corrosion, which could indicate that your heating system has been poorly maintained and might require cleaning and protective measures. This is considered a more serious scenario.

If you’re facing a radiator leak, it’s important to assess the extent of the problem accurately. While minor issues might be addressable with simple tools, major leaks should be handled by experienced professionals to ensure safety and the longevity of your heating system.

Addressing Issues with Multiple Non-Working Radiators

When you encounter a situation where several or all radiators in your home aren’t heating up, the first step is surprisingly simple; ensure that your heating system is actually turned on. It may sound basic, but it’s a common oversight that can cause unnecessary worry.

Diverter Valve Fault

If your heating controls appear to be working and the system pressure is normal, yet the radiators remain cold, the issue might be with the diverter valve. This motorised valve in the boiler regulates the flow of hot water to either your heating system or taps, prioritising the latter. So, if you have hot water in your taps but not in your radiators, it could indicate that the diverter valve is stuck.

Dealing with a diverter valve fault is not a DIY task. It requires the expertise of an experienced, Gas Safe registered engineer. Attempting to fix this issue yourself can lead to further complications and might even be unsafe.

When multiple radiators stop working, it’s essential to investigate systematically, starting with the simplest checks and moving towards more complex issues like the diverter valve fault. In many cases, professional assistance is necessary to ensure that the problem is diagnosed and resolved correctly and safely. In this case you will need a heating system repair in Belfast.

Managing Low Boiler Pressure in Combi Boilers

Combi boilers, operating on a closed-loop system, need to be pressurised within a specific range; typically between one and two bar—for optimal functioning. If the pressure in your boiler is too low, it won’t be able to efficiently supply the hot water needed to warm your house.

  • Checking the Pressure: You can visually check the boiler’s pressure. This is often done via the head of the cylinder, which is usually located in the airing cupboard, or by looking at the pressure gauge on the front of the boiler.
  • Adjusting the Pressure: If you find that the pressure is lower than it should be, you can increase it by using the top-up (filling) valve. This allows more water into the system to achieve the necessary pressure level. However, caution is key during this process. Adding too much water can over-pressurize the system, leading to different problems.

Addressing Potential Major Issues in Your Central Heating System

Sometimes, the problem with your radiators not heating up might not stem from the radiators themselves but could indicate a larger issue within your central heating system.

Initial Checks:

  1. Verify the Central Heating Function: Ensure that your central heating system is operational. If all your radiators are failing to heat up, rather than just one or a few, it suggests a more systemic issue.
  1. Observe Unusual Signs: Pay attention to any anomalies in your central heating system. This includes checking whether you still have hot water and listening for any strange noises from your boiler.

Signs of Serious Problems:

  • Lack of hot water throughout the house
  • Unusual sounds coming from the boiler, such as banging, whistling, or gurgling

These observations could be symptoms of a significant problem within your central heating system. In such cases, it’s crucial to contact a professional heating engineer immediately for a heating system repair in Belfast. Trying to diagnose and fix major issues without the proper expertise can be risky and might lead to more extensive damage or safety hazards.

A professional engineer will have the necessary skills and tools to accurately diagnose the problem and provide a safe, effective solution. Addressing major issues promptly helps prevent further complications and ensures the longevity and efficiency of your heating system.

CJT Services: Your Partner for Heating System Repair in Belfast

We hope this guide has helped you identify and understand the potential issues with your radiators. If you’re still unsure about the cause of the problem, or if you’re hesitant about addressing it yourself, it’s always wise to seek professional assistance. A Gas Safe registered engineer from CJT Services is equipped to resolve your heating issues safely and efficiently, ensuring your peace of mind.

Our team at CJT Services offers thorough central heating maintenance and repair services, aimed at maintaining the optimal functioning of your heating system and swiftly addressing any arising problems. Our technicians are skilled in all facets of central heating systems, from boilers and radiators to pipework and control units.

We recognise the vital role of central heating in your home and are committed to providing prompt, efficient service with minimal disruption to your daily routine. When it comes to heating system repair in Belfast, CJT Services has you covered.