How to Bleed a Home Radiator

Normally a radiator works quite well when it comes to heating a home, but occasionally air will get into your radiator and interfere with the proper transfer of heat from one element to another. Often the bottom portion of your radiator will be hot, but the top will be cool to the touch. Occasionally the entire radiator will feel cool to the touch and you will notice that the radiator is doing very little to heat your home. In such cases, the first problem to check for is air trapped in the radiator. The solution is to bleed the radiator -- a very simple process as long as you have a radiator bleed key. If you do not have a bleed key, your local hardware store may carry it or tell you where you can find one.

  • Radiator bleed key
  • Small pan or bucket
Turn off your heating system as per the manufacturer's instructions for your system.

Locate the radiator's bleed valve. The bleed valve is usually located in either the upper right corner or upper left corner of the radiator.

Insert your bleed key onto the bleed valve and turn the valve 1/2 turn counterclockwise. Air should hiss out of the valve. This is a good thing. Position a small pan or bucket under the bleed valve so that if any water comes out it will be caught before it causes a mess.

Turn the bleed valve 1/2 turn counterclockwise to shut it off as soon as water comes out of it or the hissing stops. Follow steps 2 through 4 with all other radiators in the house until the air has been removed from all of them.

Turn your heating system back on. You should notice an immediate improvement in the operation of your radiators.

Tips and Warnings

  • Close the bleed valve the moment water begins to spurt from the valve.

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