A well-maintained home heating system—including the radiators—uses less power, and heats the space more efficiently. On occasion, it is appropriate for a trained professional to inspect your system, but you can take other steps to keep your radiators working properly. Proper maintenance not only allows your system to function, but it allows you to spot and solve any problems before they become larger issues.
Adjust the Slope
Radiators without a slight slope towards the steam inlet pipe can cause a furnace to make knocking and clunking noises. This inlet pipe comes out of the floor or wall in proximity to your furnace. To add slope to the pipes, put a wood wedge under the feet of the radiator's vent. Use a level to double check for a slope.
Repair Vent Blocks
A block in a radiator's vent prevents steam from entering, which minimises the radiator's ability to heat a space. Rust, paint, mineral deposits, and corrosion commonly cause blockages. To clean the radiator vent, close the supply valve to cut off steam to the radiator. Remove the valve and place it in a hot pot of vinegar. Let it soak for 30 minutes, replace the valve, and check the steam flow. If the valve still does not properly allow steam in and out, replace it with a new one.
Check Inlet Valve Position
The inlet valves regulate the amount of steam that enters the radiator. Not only does a partially open valve not regulate steam properly, but it also clangs and bangs noisily on the inlet pipe. In the cold months, open the radiator valves completely. In the warm months, close the valves all the way. This makes the radiator system quieter and more energy efficient.
Close Leaky Valves
Typically, inlet valves leak from the buildup of steam condensation. Loose radiator valve caps on the top and side are the most common causes. With one radiator spanner on the valve and another on the cap, twist until tight. If necessary, buy replacement caps. Leaks that come from the bottom of the valve might be due to a faulty gland nut. Tighten it with a gland nut spanner. If the problem persists, it might be an issue with the double-threaded brass connector, which connects the valve to the radiator. Purchase a replacement and use two spanners to disassemble and reassemble the valve, radiator, and new connector.