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Maintenance Jobs to Keep Your Heating System Running at Its Best

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

A man making repairs to a boiler system

There is little maintenance needed to keep your radiators working effectively. Keeping them free of dust, particularly in models with narrow gaps between the fins, checking regularly for small drips or leaks, especially around valve connections, and making sure the water in the system has been correctly treated with inhibitor.

Checking an inhibitor has been added to the water, is probably the single most important thing you can do to make sure your whole heating system is protected from natural corrosion and sludge/debris buildup in the boiler and radiators.

Water naturally gives off oxygen and initiates a chemical reaction with steel to cause corrosion (rust), having a mix of metals (steel, copper, aluminium even cast iron) also generates a chemical reaction which can increase the rate of corrosion. An inhibitor helps to reduce this corrosion and keeps sludge from building up in the system. If left untreated, this can severely reduce efficiency, potentially damage your boiler, and reduce a radiator's effectiveness.

The level of inhibitor can be checked, and topped up, by a plumber at an annual service. Using an inhibitor is essential to maintaining and protecting your heating system.

Heating systems need to be serviced every year. This helps to keep everything working smoothly and safely and will help your radiators last as long as possible. Your heating engineer will check your boiler is working safely, and efficiently and identify any potential issues. They should also test the water for inhibitor.

The best regular maintenance for radiators is to keep them free of dust, especially removing any buildup between the fins or panels. It’s surprising how much gets trapped as the air flows through them. Large amounts of dust can impact the airflow which the radiator needs to heat effectively.

Air is released from water as a natural process particularly from water newly introduced into the system. You will know when this is if cool patches develop at the top of the radiator. Bleeding air from radiators when they need it helps keep them working at their best as air pockets prevent hot water from circulating efficiently. Quite often this is noticeable in the radiator at the highest point on the system, often a towel rail.

Electric radiators are oil-filled and sealed and do not need to be bled, simply keep them dust-free and check that the element is still working correctly, if you think it is not working or overheating, ask a professional heating or electrical engineer to test the product.

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British Thermal Units (BTU) is a measure of the output of heat needed to raise the temperature of a room. Determining the correct BTU will help you get the right radiator for your home.

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