So far in 2020, we’ve seen Atiyah, Brendan, Ciara and Dennis all rear their heads, causing weather havoc up and down the country. It’s getting near the start of spring and it’s hard to believe that most of us will still be keeping home heating on the winter timer every evening.
If you’re getting a bit fed up with the cold weather, especially in the evenings after getting home from work, you’ll be looking for ways to keep your home warm in the easiest ways possible. That means getting to know your radiators a little better. They’ve been doing a tough job of keeping your home warm these last few months, so before you get to knocking them off for the summer, here are some tips on how to keep them in good order so you can stay warm.
Tip 1: Check your boiler settings
Are you one of those people who will crank an oven as far as the dial will go because you think it will make the oven heat up quicker? (That doesn’t work by the way) Then you may have mistakenly set your boiler settings too high.
The internal thermostat of your boiler will sometimes be independent of the central heating controls on your wall. If you have a gas boiler, you want that needle also sticking between 1 and 1.3 bar. Homes which have an oil boiler will usually find them outside in the garden and not pay much attention to them, so go out and check the next time you’re turning the heating on.
Gas boilers will usually have a semi-circle gauge, and you’re looking to keep it a third of the way there. Any higher and you’re asking the furnace to keep getting warmer and condense when you don’t need to it.
Tip 2: Keep bleeding
When it gets to Autumn, it’s routinely the time for many people to have a rummage around that spare drawer in the kitchen and find a radiator key to bleed your radiators. Most of us will only do it once a year if we remember, but you should give it a go-around now that radiators have been on a lot over winter.
And remember, you only want to bleed them until air stops and water starts coming out. Now, if that water is looking a little brown or sludgy, you’ll want to jump on our next tip.
Tip3: Get to flushing
So there’s a not so pleasant liquid appearing from the radiator. Or maybe you’ve had a feel of the radiator and noticed a cold spot in the middle. It’s time to get your radiator flushed my friend. Now if you’ve gone around your house and there are a few radiators all showing up with cold areas, the best thing to do is hire someone who can come in, close off your heating system, and pump water to flush the entire system out.
If it’s just one radiator, you can get some wrenches and a spare pair of hands to close off your problem area, lift it out to the garden and run a hose through it. Think of it as giving the insides a perfect rinse so you get rid of any nasty bits and have a lovely, clean radiator that will get back to working order in no time.
Tip 4: Have a little “inhibition”
If your radiators do have cold spots and you’ve got them all flushed out, there’s something you’ll want to do before closing them up again. Get yourself some radiator inhibitor (Trade Radiators do deals on big bottles) that you pour in your radiators. It sounds like it will be hard to do, but it is relatively simple.
All you have to do is close off a radiator and open the top to let air in before opening from the bottom and letting water come out (making sure you have something to catch it with). You’re looking to match the amount you take out with how much is in the bottle of inhibitor. When you think you have the right amount, close the bottom of the radiator and then pour the inhibitor in before closing up.
You’ve now got a lovely liquid in there preventing any sludge building up or the insides corroding.
Tip 5: Become a thermostat master
We live in a world where most people will be afraid to touch their heating controls but give yourself a later than never resolution of figuring out what the magical box with only three buttons does. You might find out that your home heating is up to high by default or is coming on at the wrong times of the day.
And don’t forget to keep it cooler!
As the weather (hopefully) starts improving, it’s ideal to lower your thermostat to around 20°C, as anything higher will be a waste of fuel. If you still can’t figure out the main controls, you can always cheat and turn your radiator valves down from a 5 to a 2 or 3.