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Handy Tips - Cold Radiators

Now is the time of year when you turn on your heating for the first time in several months and find that some of your radiators aren't working. This first DIY item is how to rectify the problem of cold radiators without calling out a plumber.

The job will take up to 30 minutes and you will need:

  • a screwdriver
  • a pair of pliers
  • a can of WD40 spray: available from Tesco (both store and garage), Halfords or B&Q.
Turn on the heating.
Check that the pipes from the boiler are very hot to the touch. If not you'll have to call in a plumber to service the system.
Each radiator has a thermostatic valve on the inflow. Set the valve to maximum temperature on all the radiators. If the radiators stay cool after a few minutes you need to do the following:
Each thermostatic radiator valve has a single screw at the lowest point, close to where the plastic meets the metal. Unscrew the screw completely until it is loose.
Grasping the thermostatic valve firmly, pull it straight off (try not to bend anything as you are pulling).
You will see a small brass pin sticking out of the pipe to the radiator. Give it a squirt of WD40 and clean off any material from the pin especially at the point where the pin enters the valve.
Give it another squirt of WD40 and then push the pin in. It should move. It's on a spring so will return when you stop pressing.
Carefully grasp the pin with the pliers and gently pull the pin outwards. (If you pull it out completely you can easily push it back home).
Clean the pin with a bit more WD40 and a piece of tissue. The radiator should now be getting hot.
Push the pin in a few times until it moves freely and returns to the point where you pulled it with the pliers.
Give it one more squirt of WD40 (don't wipe off) and push the thermostatic valve assembly back onto the pipe. Do up the screw at the bottom of the valve assembly.
Set to your required temperature. Do this to all the radiators.
Job done.
If the radiators stay cold at the top but very hot at the bottom you will need to bleed the radiators of air (unscrew the tiny valve at the top of the radiator, air hisses out, until water comes out, then screw shut).


Replacing your thermostatic radiator valves

The radiator valves can be replaced for £16.45 including VAT and £5 carriage from Search for RA/VL 2950 (Danfoss Part no. 013G295000). Delivery is usually with 3-4 days.

However, I would recommend replacing the gland as well as the valve. This is the part with the pin poking out of it. The glands can be replaced without draining the radiator as they have a seal on. The Danfoss part No. 013U007000 and although you can get both the gland and the valve from the company the gland is not on the website - you have to ring them to order it on 0870 0428953. The glands are £5.20 each with no postage charge as its just a stamp.

Replacing both the glands and the thermostatic radiator valves makes a huge difference - we've had to turn our heating down since we have fitted the new valves.



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