July 6, 2021

Radiator Leak – Diagnosis & Fix

Many things may go wrong in your house and spoil your comfort, but few are as unpleasant as discovering a damp spot or pool of water due to a radiator leak. If this occurs, you must act quickly to avoid cupping or crowning, which may cause damage to your floor and furniture.

Fortunately, we’re here to assist you so you won’t have to deal with the problem alone. Follow along to discover how to stop a radiator leak and even how to prevent one from happening in the first place.


Find out where the radiator leak is coming from

Place some towels or old rags on the floor near the radiator to catch as much water as possible, and have a bucket ready to use. Now you can relax for a while, and because radiator leaks may originate from a number of places, you’ll need to pinpoint the precise location of your leak. It may be anything from a faulty joint to a tiny pinhole in the radiator body.

Dry every component of your unit with a towel or an old cloth, but be careful if it’s switched on since you risk burning yourself. Drying out your radiator will allow you to examine and, ultimately, locate the source of the leak.

The next step is to wipe all areas with toilet paper one by one to check whether the paper becomes moist. Examine all of the fittings, including pipes, couplings, and valves, in addition to the appliance’s body. The radiator component that drenches the toilet paper is, of course, the source of the leak.


How To Fix A Radiator Leak

Now that you know where the leak is coming from, it’s time to fix your leaky radiator. So, roll up your sleeves and get ready to get your hands filthy for some DIY maintenance work. We’ll go through some of the components of your radiator that may leak, explain why this occurs, and suggest a solution.


What to do if your radiator valve is leaking?

The spindle packing, which is located within the valve, wears down over time or is broken for some reason, which causes the valve to leak in a “mid-open” position. But don’t worry: a radiator valve leak is one of the most straightforward issues to resolve.

In this case, the leak will typically stop when you completely shut your valve, giving you enough time to repair it yourself or hire a professional. If it doesn’t cease, try the following steps:


Step 1: Drain any excess water

To repair a leaky valve, you must first drain the water from your unit to a position below the leak. You’ll be preventing more water from leaving your radiator this way.


Step 2: Turn off the water

To prevent your radiator from filling up while you work on it, turn off the water supply valve.


Step 3: Open and close your lockshield valve

The function of the lockshield valve is to balance your radiators within your home’s whole heating system. It’s at the opposite end of your radiator, and it’s typically covered in white plastic.

Turn the lockshield valve, but keep track of how many turns it takes to shut it completely, since you’ll need to adjust it back to the same position after you’re finished. If your valve has a screw on the top, loosen it with a screwdriver until you can freely spin the device.


Step 4: Get the location ready

Make sure you have the towels and bucket on hand to prevent any further leaks throughout the repair. Also, get a spanner that may be adjusted and prepare for the next job.


Step 5: Remove the union nut

Using the adjustable spanner that you have prepared, carefully remove the union nut that connects the radiator and the supply pipe. If it’s very difficult to move, put grips on the valve itself to keep it from moving.


Step 6: Make sure your radiators are bled

Turn off the heating system and let it cool for a few minutes to avoid scorching injuries. By opening the bleed valve on the top right of your radiator, you may let the remainder of the water out of the appliance.

Remember to put the bucket below the gadget so you don’t have to deal with a fresh pool of water. You can bleed the valve using a bleed key, but if you don’t have one, stay cool and loosen the pluck with a screwdriver.


Step 7: Apply PTFE to the valve

Wrap 10 to 20 times some PTFE tape, commonly known as “plumber’s tape,” around the valve tail at the male end of the fixture. That manner, the leak will be sealed and perhaps patched until you can purchase a new valve.


Step 7: Tighten the union nut and begin the water system

To fill the heater, tighten the union screw and open the water supply valve.


Step 8: Test the lockshield valve by opening it

Do you recall the lockshield valve? What’s the count of how many times you’ve rotated it? Now is the time to reopen it to the previous state. After that, inspect the radiator to determine whether the leak still exists.

If it doesn’t work, you’ll probably have to repair the radiator valve. Continue reading to learn more about how to continue.


How to Replace a Radiator Valve

To prevent a recurrence of a leak, it’s better to be safe than sorry, therefore you may wish to replace the valve completely. However, before purchasing a replacement valve, ensure that it is the same kind as the previous one, since it must fit snugly into the water pipe.

Because replacing the valve may be a difficult job, you might want to consider hiring a professional to do it for you. Otherwise, if you’re a DIYer, you can learn how to replace a radiator valve in no time.


Radiator connections and pipes are leaking

It’s also possible that the leak is in the radiator’s piping and connections. If you find one, turn the appliance off and let it cool for a few minutes before trying to repair it. You’ll be able to work more safely this way, and you won’t have as much difficulty untightening the fittings since they’ll shrink as the heat decreases.


The spindle of a radiator valve is leaking

The spindle is a tiny component of your radiator valve that links the piping to the appliance, and if it becomes broken, it may be the source of a leak. Fortunately, you may effectively address that problem by following these steps:

  • To begin, gently remove the valve’s plastic valve cover
  • Use an adjustable spanner to tighten your gland nut. It’s located just underneath the spindle.
  • Check to see whether the leak persists, and if so, loosen the gland nut instead.
  • Wrap a large piece of PTFE tape around the spindle and attempt to press it into the coupling’s body.
  • Retighten the gland nut and check the radiator

If this doesn’t cure your issue, you may want to consider replacing your valve.


The gland nut has a leak

A radiator leak may sometimes be fixed by simply tightening the radiator valve gland nut. If it doesn’t work, you’ll probably have to replace the olive in the coupling.

  • Switch off your heating system and turn off your water supply before you begin.
  • Remove the nut that links your radiator to the leaky pipe next, but make sure you have towels and a bucket handy since you’ll need to catch some water.
  • Remove the nut and its fitting from the tube entirely.
  • Attempt to remove the uncovered olive and ready the replacement for installation.
  • Before reconnecting it, wrap it with PTFE tape.
  • Return it to its original position.

For your peace of mind, we suggest replacing the whole radiator valve.


A pipe junction that is leaking

Leaks may occur when pipe joints become loose or worn out. Only if you have a compression heating system will you have a set of those joints that connect the pipes to your radiator.

  • With an adjustable spanner, see if you can tighten those fasteners. Usually, this will stop the leak, but if it doesn’t, try this fast fix:
  • Cut the water supply to your radiator and turn off your heating system.
  • Drain the water from your appliance to a location below the leak’s source.
  • Remove the leaky pipe by loosening the joint nut using an adjustable spanner.
  • Wrap a 20-centimeter piece of PTFE tape over the region where the olive’s face spans the joint.

Tighten the nut again, but don’t overdo it or your couplings may be damaged.


What if your radiator leak continues?

Your radiator may be corroding, or a persistent leak may develop, despite any interim remedies you may attempt. If this occurs, you’ll need to have your device inspected and perhaps replaced. However, removing a radiator, much alone installing a new appliance, is more difficult than it seems.

We suggest that you hire a professional heating expert to instal your radiators since they can ensure a job properly done and no mess.


Radiator Leaks: How to Avoid Them

Whether your old radiator has been fixed or you’ve purchased a new gleaming appliance, the prospect of another leak is unsettling. Use a rust and corrosion inhibitor as well as a radiator cleaning on a regular basis to prevent similar catastrophes from happening again.

Don’t overlook any indications of wear and tear in the pipe connections and fittings that connect the radiator to your central heating system. Early identification of problems can save you money on future repairs.


Important Points to Remember

Finding water seeping from your radiator is inconvenient, but it’s much simpler to fix than you may think. A faulty radiator valve is often the blame, but inspect the radiator’s connections and minor fittings as well. If chance isn’t on your side, you’re more than likely dealing with a pinhole leak caused by rust.

Before attempting any DIY repairs or installations, consider the cost and time involved, as hiring a qualified heating provider may be a better choice.