How to Spot and Fix Common Heating Problems

Even the most efficient heating systems sometimes run into problems. No matter how well-prepared you are to keep things functioning, every now and then an issue can arise which needs a little added care and attention.


In this blog, we’ll take a look at how to identify some of the most common heating problems, and offer a few tips on finding a fix.


The System Has Lost Pressure

Checking your heating system pressure is simple, and simply requires a quick look at the pressure gauge on the boiler. There could be a number of reasons why the system has lost pressure, though it is most commonly caused after routine maintenance, such as bleeding your central heating radiators. Water leaks can also cause similar issues.


How to Fix It

Your system will likely need to be topped-up with more water via the integral filling loop. If you aren’t sure how this is done, take a look at the instruction manual which came with your boiler, or contact an expert who can fix this for you.


The Boiler Is Making Strange Noises

This is one of the most common heating complaints, and strange noises coming from a boiler are sometimes known as ‘kettling’. The noise is most frequently made when the pilot light starts to ignite. However, some people report boilers continuing to make strange noises long after this initial process – causing concern and irritation.


How to Fix It

Firstly, turn off the boiler. This will help you assess whether noises are being caused by trapped air in the system. If so, find out where the air bleed screw is on your boiler, and be sure to vent any excess before carrying out a further examination.


If this doesn’t work, it’s a good idea to check there is enough water reaching the tank connected to your boiler (found as part of traditional boiler systems). These are usually located in the loft or designated cupboards in more modern homes.

The system could be clogged, which means flushing it clean will help to find a fix. In addition, for pressure-based systems, an incorrect pressure level could be contributing to the boiler noises.


Radiator temperature


Radiators Are Different Temperatures

If your radiators are giving off heat at the top, but still cold lower on the system, then you can never fully heat your home. There is a problem which is preventing your radiator from becoming as warm as it should, negatively affecting its efficiency. However, identifying that they’re still (partially) working means you can at least rule out a larger-scale problem, and set about getting things back on track!


In other cases, you may find some radiators in your home fail to heat up at all – giving you yet another reason to investigate further.


How to Fix It

The first step is to bleed your radiator. This allows you to release trapped air and give the system a much-needed ‘kick’ back into action!  It also leads to a warmer house – and as the system will become more efficient again, you can even look forward to reduced energy bills.


Whether you buy radiators online or in-store, radiators in the UK all function in similar ways – so we’ve outlined in detail (below) how to get the system working once more.


Bleeding Your Radiators – Step by Step

Before going ahead, make sure you have a few key tools assembled. This will help you bleed the radiators speedily and effectively. You’ll need a towel or cloth to catch any water which escapes the radiators, which (depending on your décor) could damage home furnishings. In addition, you’ll need a radiator key or screwdriver. Radiator keys can be purchased at many DIY outlets.


Bleeding a Radiator


Step 1: Turn the Heating System On

This is important so you can identify any problems with the system as a whole. Instead of focusing on just one radiator where you know there is a problem, wait until every radiator has had sufficient time to heat up. The time this takes could differ if you have a variety of different models, such as traditional white radiators and tall radiators – but it’s a crucial step to take.


Step 2: Check Which Radiators Need to Be Bled

After you’ve left enough time for your radiators to heat up, you can carefully check which ones are in need of bleeding. This can be done simply by placing your hand on each radiator. If the radiator is warm in some places but cold in others, it needs to be bled.


This is because air or gas has become trapped, and will have to be removed from the system before it can function again. If you have radiators in your home which do not heat at all, then they will also need to be bled to assess whether there is a deeper underlying problem.


Step 3: Bleed Your Radiators

For the third step, turn off your central heating. Turning off the heating and giving radiators sufficient time to cool down once more is essential, as otherwise you could burn yourself on the radiator itself or any water which leaks out of the system during the bleeding process.


To bleed the radiator, look for the valve at the top. Once you’ve identified it, attach the radiator key or screwdriver. We recommend using a cloth for this process, and slowly turning the key/screwdriver in an anti-clockwise motion.


During this stage, you should hear a hissing sound (indicating gas leaving the system) followed by seeing water. Once this happens, close the valve quickly to prevent too much spillage!


Step 4: Check Your Water Pressure

Your water pressure could be reduced by the bleeding process, but by checking the boiler gauge you can assess whether you will need to top up this pressure using the filling loop. The process for completing this differs depending on the make and model of boiler, so contact your manufacturer or an expert if in doubt.