/ Latest News / 22nd February 2019

How to fix issues with your radiator

It would be anybody’s worst nightmare to have a fault with their heating system during the bitterly cold winter months, even worse, not knowing how to fix the fault themselves.

Ensuring that your heating is fully functioning to keep your home warm is essential – not just for your own comfort, but to save money as well. Knowing how to resolve any minor problems, DIY style is handy, but if you’re looking to save time and want to avoid fiddling around with your radiators, our London handymen at the Handy Squad are able and willing to fix any and all problems that you’re facing, we’re just one phone call away.

  • How to fix a noisy central heating system

Remember, different models and makes of boilers have different controls, so be sure to store your operating instructions in a safe place for future usage, if needed. The majority of faults have straightforward solutions, which you should be able to do yourself – but be sure to call a professional if you are ever in doubt. We would recommend calling a gas safe engineer to deal with any boiler-related tasks (we don’t supply these engineers; however, our plumbers will be happy to help with any other tasks you might require).

Different types of a noisy central heating system include (but are not limited to):

  1. Creaking pipes

Possible cause: Hot pipes expanding and rubbing against the floor, wall or other pipes. This causes friction, which can be an unpleasantly annoying sound.

Solution: Get your pipe notches in joists widened (don’t deepen them, this will weaken the joists), clip any unsupported pipes or install insulation around and between pipes.

  1. Humming sounds in pipes

Possible cause: The pump speed could possibly be too high, or your pipes are too narrow for the system flow.

Solution: We’d recommend calling a professional for this job.

  1. Rushing sounds in pipes

Possible cause: Air or gas bubbles in the system.

Solution: Bleed the radiators. See our article on how to bleed your radiator.

  1. Hissing or banging noises

Possible cause no.1: Faulty boiler thermostat.

Solution no.1: We’d recommend calling a professional to replace your boiler thermostat.

Possible cause no.2: Limescale build-up.

Solution no.2: The limescale can be cleaned out by a professional.

Possible cause no.3: Noises could also indicate that the pump isn’t working when using a solid-fuel system (where fuel such as wood is used to heat the system).

Solution no.3: Shut down the boiler first (you can find how to do this by using your boiler operating instructions), then check that the pump is turned on and the impeller running by feeling the casing for vibration. If the switch is turned on, but the pump isn’t running, turn off the power at the mains and check that none of the wiring connections have become loose. If the pump is running, but the outlet pipe is cool, open the bleed valve to release trapped air.

Possible cause no.4: The water level in the system is too low.

Solution no.4: Follow the easy step-by-step guide below to help resolve this issue.

  • Step 1: Turn off the boiler and pump. Then, examine the feed-and-expansion cistern in the loft; if it’s empty, check that the ball valve isn’t jammed closed, also that the water supply hasn’t been turned off or check that a supply pipe isn’t frozen.
  • Step 2: If you’re able to identify and fix the cause yourself; that’s great. You can then top up the system water level again but do be sure to follow the boiler operating instructions.


  • How to fix cold radiators

If your boiler is still running problem-free, but you are somehow experiencing issues with cold radiators there could be numerous reasons why.

When all radiators are cold, the most common cause is when the pump isn’t working. To fix this, see this issue, we’d recommend calling a professional. Another cause of all cold radiators is that the pump’s thermostat or timer is incorrectly set or faulty. Fortunately, this can be fixed DIY style! Firstly, check the thermostat and reset it if necessary. If the thermostat or timer is incorrectly set, switch off the power and check the wiring connections, ensuring that you are following the radiator’s operating instructions.

Sometimes not all of your radiators will be cold, only some. The first possible cause of some radiators being cold is when your zone valve’s thermostat or timer is incorrectly set or faulty. A quick and easy solution for this is to reset it. Again, if set incorrectly, switch off the power and check the wiring connections, using the operating instructions. Another possible cause might be that the system may be unbalanced and needs balancing. Balancing means that all of the radiator valves are adjusted to make sure that all of the radiators heat up simultaneously. The last possible cause is the zone valve itself may be faulty. The solution is simple; replace the zone valve with a new one.

When there’s a single radiator that’s cold, the main possible cause is that the radiator’s manual control valve is turned off. To fix this problem, open/turn on the valve. However, the thermostatic radiator valve (TRV) could be incorrectly set and this could be causing the problem instead. If this is the case, reset the TRV. Speaking of the TRV, it being faulty could possibly be another cause of a single cold radiator.

Again, the fix for this is straightforward and DIY friendly, replace the TRV with a new one. If you’ve found that neither of those problems are what’s causing your single radiator to be cold, then you may have an incorrectly set lockshield valve. To fix this, open the manual valve fully, then remove the plastic cap from the lockshield valve and use an adjustable wrench to open the valve until the radiator warms up. The next time a handyman pays a visit to service the system, ask them to balance the radiator, they’ll ensure your radiator is successfully balanced. Having corrosion deposits blocking the inlet and outlet is the final possible cause of your single cold radiator. To resolve this, remove the radiator and flush it out or replace it if it needs to be. Be sure to add a corrosion inhibitor to the system.

If you’re experiencing a slightly different issue, such as a radiator with a cold top, it could possibly be that there is air trapped inside of the radiator. What’s the solution, you may ask? Open the bleed valve so that it can escape. See our article on how to bleed your radiator.

Your radiator may have a cold center or bottom, here’s how to fix it! Firstly, the possible cause of this is a build-up of sludge. To fix this, remove the radiator and flush it out, or replace it if it needs to be replaced. Also, be sure to add a corrosion inhibitor to the system.

We hope that this detailed guide was helpful and that you’ll be able to keep warm during the cold months. Our reliable handymen can be contacted if you face any difficulties when trying to resolve issues by yourself or if something can’t easily be fixed, you can always count on us. Call our friendly team on 0800-0-12-12-12 or request a free quote by filling our online booking form.