Why Isn’t My Radiator Working Properly?

  • Check Other Radiators: Before taking action, check if other radiators in your home are working. This helps determine if the issue is isolated to one radiator or your entire heating system. Ensure your boiler and heating system are switched on as well.
  • Bleed Your Radiator: If only the bottom part of the radiator heats up or if it’s completely cold, it likely needs bleeding to release trapped air. Use a radiator key to open the bleed valve and release the air, allowing hot water to circulate properly.
  • Clean Your Radiator: If the top half is warm but the bottom half remains cold, the radiator may be dirty. Remove the thermostatic valve and open the bleed valve to flush water through the radiator, clearing out accumulated dust and grime.
  • Inspect the Valves: If the entire radiator stays cold despite the heating system being on, the issue might be with the static radiator valve. Check if the pin in the thermostatic valve moves up and down; gently tap a stuck pin to free it. Avoid excessive force, as it can damage the valve and lead to leaks.
  • Call a Reputable Firm: If the problem persists after attempting these steps, it’s best to contact a reputable plumbing or heating company for professional assistance. They can diagnose and resolve the issue safely and effectively.

With the nights drawing in and the mercury falling, there’s a good chance you’ve tried turning your radiators on recently.

If they didn’t work, don’t panic.

While no one wants to be caught without heating as the season’s turn, there are a variety of steps you can take to get your radiators working again.

First, check your other radiators

By checking the other radiators in your home before you take action, you will be able to work out the scope of the problem; is it just the one radiator, or is it your whole heating system?

Make sure to check if your boiler and heating system are actually on too!

While this seems like an obvious tip, it could save an embarrassing conversation with a technician.

Bleed your radiator

If you have established that it’s only one or a couple of radiators that aren’t working, then it’s time to take some action.

Firstly, is only the bottom part of the radiator heating up, or is it completely cold? If it’s the former, then this is a sign that your radiator needs bleeding.

This is simply because there is trapped air inside the radiator, meaning that hot water will flow to the bottom, but the air won’t be able to circulate properly.

Man readjusting the valve on a radiator to make it bleed


Clean your radiator

If the top half of your radiator is warm but the bottom half is cold, this indicates a different problem: your radiator is dirty.

It’s easy for dust and grime to build up over time inside your radiator unit, and most of this will settle at the bottom.

Obviously, with the dirt being at the bottom, this isn’t the simplest job, but it’s certainly doable. Here’s how:

  • Turn your heating system off, including all radiator valves
  • Remove the thermostatic valve and open the bleed valve with a radiator key
  • Take the radiator outside and run water through the unit with a hose

This can be quite a messy job, so be sure to have buckets, bags and towels at the ready!

Close up image of radiator valve
corner of a heating system radiator showing the temperature valve

Inspect the valves

If your entire radiator unit is cold, but your heating system is definitely on, then this could be a problem with your static radiator valve.

In this case, you should remove the thermostatic valve head and check if the pin moves up and down.

You just need to lightly tap the stuck pin to free it.

Be careful when handling the thermostatic valve.

Too much force can damage it and in some cases it can release the pin causing water to flow out of the opening. In this case, you’ll need to install a new valve.

Still not working? Call a reputable firm

Sometimes our efforts don’t bear fruit, but don’t worry – the best thing to do is call a reputable company and have them take a look at your heating system.

Around the Bend Plumbing are local plumbers providing precise and efficient plumbing and heating services to customers throughout Lewes, Tunbridge Wells, Uckfield, Worthing, Bexhill, Brighton, Hove, Eastbourne and beyondAround the Bend Plumbing also offer a comprehensive range of plumbing services including, kitchen plumbing, bathroom plumbing, toilet & sink unblocking, radiator plumbing, plumbing repairsfixing burst pipes and leaks & central heating services. We understand that the worst can happen at any time, which is why we offer emergency services if your radiator is on the blink, 365 days a year. Get in touch with our team for more information. We’re always happy to help.


Talk to us

A: Around The Bend Plumbing
Archer House, Britland Estate
Northbourne Road
BN22 8PW

E: [email protected]

T: 0800 756 5115

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