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Leaky Radiators? Common Causes and Remedies
Few household issues are as irritating as discovering a wet carpet or a pool of water around a radiator. Leaky radiators can lead to damage to your property if not addressed promptly. In this blog, we’ll guide you through the process of fixing a leaking radiator and offer tips to minimize potential damage to your carpets and floorboards.
Finding the Source of the Leak
Before attempting any repairs, be prepared for the worst-case scenario – water pouring out of the radiator. Place towels or absorbent materials around the radiator and have a large bucket nearby to catch water.
To identify the source of the leak, dry the surface of the wet radiator using towels or kitchen roll. Once dry, you can systematically check each fixture on the radiator using toilet tissue. Common areas for leaks are around the radiator valves, the bleed valve, or at corners and edges where welding may have deteriorated.
Causes of Radiator Leaks
Radiators can leak from three main places:
- The body of the radiator itself.
- The bleed point, valve, or tail.
- The pipe that fills the radiator with water.
The most common cause of radiator leaks is a fault with the radiator valve.
Fixing a Leaking Radiator Valve
A leaking radiator valve is usually straightforward to fix. Follow these steps:
- Drain the system below the leak.
- Close both the supply valve (where the water enters the radiator) and the lockshield valve.
- Protect the floor with towels or a bucket.
- Loosen the union nut between the feeder pipe and the radiator.
- Drain the radiator using the bleed valve.
- Wrap PTFE tape around the male end of the valve tail 10-15 times.
- Retighten the union nut and open the bleed and lockshield valves.
- Close the bleed valve and check for any remaining leaks.
Replacing a Radiator Valve
If fixing the valve doesn’t stop the leak, you may need to replace it. Follow these steps:
- Purchase a replacement valve (preferably the same type as the existing one).
- Drain the central heating system.
- Unscrew the nuts connecting the water pipe to the valve and remove the old valve.
- Clean the threads at the end of the radiator.
- Wrap PTFE tape around the threads of the new valve adapter.
- Screw the new valve into the end of the radiator (avoid overtightening).
- Connect the new valve to the water pipe.
- Refill the system and bleed the radiators to remove any air.
- Check for leaks.
Corrosion can cause pinhole leaks in radiators. Unfortunately, there is no permanent fix for corrosion-related leaks. As a temporary measure, you can use plastic resin sealant if you have feed and expansion tanks in your loft. However, a new radiator is ultimately required.
Repairing a Leaking Pipe Joint
In modern central heating systems, compression valves are commonly used to join pipes to radiators. To fix a leaking joint:
- Drain the system below the leak.
- Undo the nut at the joint of the leaking pipe and wrap PTFE tape around the olive.
- Re-tighten the nut.
Dealing with Radiator Leaks
Leaky radiators can cause serious damage to your property and should not be ignored. It’s essential to turn off the heating before attempting repairs. Water damage can affect flooring, carpets, and even lead to boiler problems if not addressed promptly.
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At TopFlow Services Ltd, we come highly recommended, with a team of qualified and experienced plumbers and heating engineers. We handle everything from leak detection and repair to boiler installation, maintenance, and breakdowns. Our services also extend to various handyman tasks, including carpentry, painting, tiling, electrical work, and more. For any plumbing or heating issue, call us today at 07856780000 for a free quotation. Trust TopFlow Services Ltd for all your plumbing and heating needs.