Balancing a radiator system can make some radiators which are cooler or not working at all, work.
If you have radiators which are just not heating up, first make sure the valves are open. Radiators have a valve at each end, Ideally one of these is a Thermostatic Radiator Valve (TRV) which can easily be adjusted by hand to control the temperature at which the valve opens up. Make sure this is set to maximum.
At the other end (or possibly at each end) is a Lockshield Valve which is either turned using a fitted handle or may need the application of a small spanner or pliers. Make sure this is opened fully – looking down at the valve turn the handle or spindle anti-clockwise to open. Open all the way then back half a turn so it doesn’t jam in the open position. The radiator should now be fully open to the system and therefore heat up.
If it doesn’t heat up then remove the head from the top of the TRV – this is normally done by unscrewing the metal collar around the base of the handle or possibly with a screwdriver. The top of the TRV is the large plastic knob with numbers on it – turning it or removing it will not cause the system to leak. At the top of the metal valve itself is a spindle pointing upwards – under normal operation the head of the TRV pushes down on this spindle to close the valve or allows it to rise opening it up. Sometimes this sticks in the open or closed position.
Taking a metal spanner, press down firmly on the spindle repeatedly – it should free-up and start moving. If it is fixed in place then a judicious tap of a small hammer on the top of the spindle can free it up.
If the spindle will not be freed you will need the valve replacing. If the valve spindle is free but the radiator still does not warm up (be patient) then the system may need balancing.
If you believe your heating system would benefit from having the radiators balanced, see our separate page How to Balance a Radiator System or call Surrey Hills Heating Ltd on 07944 575970 or email us using the link below.