Winter is coming, which means it’s once again that time of year to rummage around drawers and find a radiator key so you can let trapped out before your turn the heating on.
It is what most of us will do now as we prepare our radiator for a few intense months of action, but did you know it isn’t the only thing you should be doing to help radiators. You may be surprised to know there are a few active measures you can take to improve radiator efficiency and help save money in the long run.
Thanks to the folks at Trade Radiators, here are some practical tips you can apply right now to keep your radiators running and working efficiently without wasting money.
Master your valves
Get to know the numbers on your radiator valves mean and what the ideal number for different rooms is. Poor use and lack of knowledge see many people place radiator valves up at 4 or 5 because they think that will get a room warm. And yes, while it is the max setting, you’re signifying to a little thermometer inside the cap of the valve that when you are at max, you want a room to be around 40°C.
The numbers on the valves are for you to assess and control the heat in different rooms, and you should never find that all the valves are cranked to 5 unless you’re happy to have the boiler work as full throttle and waste fuel. Set them to 2 or 3 and adjust accordingly to get a room as preferred.
A good way to test that higher numbers work as you want is to safely touch a radiator (with your hand appropriately covered) when it is set to 4 or 5. If the radiator is boiling to the touch, but the room is freezing, it is a sign the radiator is trying hard to reach that maximum temperature. If the valve is set to max, but the room is cold, and the radiator is cold to touch, you have a problem with either the valve of the radiator. Get a professional to check, or you’ll continue to waste money on heating.
1.5 is the magic number
Now, this tip is for those who have a gas/combi boiler at home and have just carried out some radiator bleeding in preparation of the colder months. When you bleed a radiator, especially if there are large pockets of air, you are decreasing the overall pressure of the system.
Think of it like having an inflated balloon in a bucket of water and letting the air out. The overall volume will go down. When this happens in home heating systems with a gas boiler, it can cause the overall pressure to drop, which can result in the boiler having a hard time heating up or even getting your shower to work correctly.
If you want to avoid this, or it has already happened, take a look at the pressure gauge on your boiler. Most will have an area highlighted which tells you the recommended pressure. If your dial is below it, you’ll need to wait until the boiler cools down and open the entry valve up to let new cold water in the tank. Once the gauge is right in the middle of the preferred pressure (usually 1.5 bar) close the valve. The next time you turn heating on, it should work correctly.
Know your timings
When you turn your heating on, hot water has to pump through the pipes and reach every radiator you have turned on. With different sizes and locations at play, you should get to know how long it takes certain radiators to get warm, and how long it takes for the whole system to get up to speed.
Some people will notice that the rooms closest to the boiler (usually the kitchen) heats up quickly and will knock it off after a short period. This can see rooms upstairs not get to heat up accordingly, effectively wasting energy for nothing at all. Even if it means lowering valves in specific areas, as I mentioned before, a little nuance can help you save a lot.
Save money on everything at home
Thanks for reading this article, and make sure you don’t get caught out when doing any form of home improvement. Whether you’re looking to decorate on a budget or plan on renovating somewhere like the bathroom and would like tips on how to save, visit the property section of the website for other articles with all the tips and advice you need to take care of your home.