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There are several common problems that can mean your radiators aren’t working properly.

They might not warm up or they might only get hot at the top or at the bottom. Your radiators could be noisy and need bleeding. Or you might have a radiator that’s leaking. 

Below you’ll find advice and tips on how to care for your radiators.

My radiator is cold at the top but hot at the bottom

If your radiator is not warming up at the top, you probably have air trapped inside. You can let the air out by bleeding the radiator with a radiator key. You can buy this from a DIY store.

You can find out more in our guide to bleeding radiators. Or you can watch our short video on how to bleed a radiator.

My radiator is cold at the bottom but hot at the top

You might have sludge or rust blocking your radiator or pipes.

This is tricky to fix. So it's best to ask a Gas Safe registered engineer to take a look. They may need to power flush your central heating system to remove the blockage. After that, they may add an inhibitor solution to stop future build-up.

Find out how to book a Gas Safe registered engineer

My radiator is not getting hot

If your heating is on and other radiators are working fine, you may have stuck or frozen valves. These stop water getting into the radiator. Or, again, sludge or rust may be to blame.

In some cases, there may be a bigger problem going back to your boiler. We recommend you ask a Gas Safe registered engineer to take a look. You might need to have your central heating system power flushed.

Find out how to book a Gas Safe registered engineer

My radiator is making strange or loud noises

Noisy radiators aren't usually anything to worry about. A ticking or clicking sound is just the metal of the radiator expanding or contracting as it warms up or cools down.

If the noise is coming from under the floor, it's probably the pipes expanding or contracting.

You might also hear the radiator whistling if the water flow rate is too high. Try turning the radiator valve fully on. This should stop the whistle.

Banging, clanking and gurgling sounds can be caused by air in the radiator. Bleeding your radiators could fix the problem. Some noises might be caused by loose pipes under the floorboards. If you think this is the case, it’s best to get a Gas Safe registered engineer to take a look.

My radiator is leaking

A radiator leak could be caused by several things, including a leaking valve or corrosion.

If you notice a radiator leaking water, you should turn off the valves at each end. Use a bucket or towels to catch leaking water. Then contact a qualified plumber or engineer.

If you’d like to learn more, our guide to heating controls has information on how to use radiators effectively.

Or are you having problems with your boiler? Our guide shows how to deal with common issues with your central heating system.