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How can I isolate a leaking radiator?

Ferris Avatar
2y, 4w agoPosted 2 years, 4 weeks ago
One of our radiators is rusty and is leaking. It doesn't have a thermostatic valve (the only one in the house without one), and I'd like to stop water getting to it so that we can use the remaining radiators without all the water dripping out of the system while we sort out a plumber to fix it (which may take a while at this time of year).

I've closed the two valves on the radiator, and the rad is completely cold while all the others heat up, but it seems to still be dripping. What else do I need to do? I assumed that closing the two valves would stop any more water getting to it, but I guess I was wrong...

Any advice?
Ferris Avatar
2y, 4w agoPosted 2 years, 4 weeks ago
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Responses/page:
#1
I think you've done it right, but the dripping might be left over water. Just drain it and see. If that doesn't work your valves are probably not closing fully?
#2
If it has a valve at one end close that valve . The other inlet will probably have a cap on it ,but if like mine is also a valve . remove cap and then turn the valve off using pliers or screwdriver . Put a Tupperware container under the drip to catch the water . If its cold sounds like its not getting fed with hot water so probably just what already in the rad dripping out .

Edited By: rogparki on Dec 17, 2014 23:53
#3
Try this as a quick fix it will stop the leak BUT if you do decide to use the radiator don't set it to full heat as it can cause problems
#4
Put some plumbers mate around the drip as a temporary stop gap

Or as said, isolate valves and drain and remove the rad. Easy job.
#5
isolate valves. get a paint tray under one of the valves and crack open the union. open air vent on radiator and slowly drain radiator. Once tray partially full pour into a bucket by the side of you. put towel under to absorb any spills. If when drained the valves are not passing you may be able to buy replacement size from somewhere like screwfix or toolstation and do a direct swap. If it's a bit smaller you can fit radiator tail extensions. If either valve is leaking you either need to drain whole system and replace or at least blank off.
#6
I wouldn't rely on any putty or leak sealer. Last thing you want is a flooded house near Xmas
#7
diycrazy
I wouldn't rely on any putty or leak sealer. Last thing you want is a flooded house near Xmas
an isolated radiator is unlikely to flood a house ;)

it would stop a drip from a rusty radiator though
#8
What you could try is putting something under to catch the drips. Turn the heating on then open the bleed screw at the top of the rad. If water continues to come out of the bleed screw hole for more than a few seconds then the chances are the rad is still getting some pressure from the Central heating and the 2 valves at the bottom aren't completely isolating it.
If it is isolated then opening the bleed screw should cause the leak to speed up and help empty the rad of water that's already in it. Yoiu should be able to empty the rad in theis way though it probably won't be quick. And don't forget to close the bleed screw when u are finished.

Edited By: RxTx on Dec 18, 2014 08:13
#9
If this is the only one without a thermostatic valve then it's the main radiator and you'll need it working for the rest of the system.
Is it an old radiator size? I had to replace a non standard radiator years ago for a standard one and had to run more copper piping and fit new valves. When I'd done that the new pressure started another radiator leaking. Ended up doing the whole house. Needed it though. They were very old.
#10
If you can remove the radiator withe grips or pliers on the 2 nuts on to the valves
And drain remaining water from radiator in to a bowl
Go to plumbers merchants and get 2 1/2 inch or 3/4 cap ends ( take a photo to show them first )
And screw them on the rad valves then there is no rush to sort
But if it's the only radiator without a thermostatic vavle go to another radiator and screw the thermostat part off
So the system has a flow if other rads shut down
Also when you are at merchants explain situation he may be
Able to advice you more and may know someone who can sort the problem for you
#11
Thanks for all the replies. So yesterday I closed both valves (well, screwed them both in completely), and then refilled the system to get the pressure back up. The heating has been on twice since then, and both times the radiator that I've 'isolated' has remained cold while all the other radiators warmed up as normal. However, there is still a steady drip-drip from the 'isolated' radiator and even now (when the heating is off and has been for a couple of hours) the dripping continues and the boiler pressure continues to drop. The dripping is contained for now, as we've located the hole and placed a tub under it, so we no longer have a puddle on the floor!

Both valves I closed yesterday have a knob on, and I can't figure out how to get those off to get to the actual valve. But then if the radiator remains cold while others heat up, does that not suggest the closed valves are already doing their jobs?

If the radiator remains cold while others heat up, I assume that means it's not getting any new water. I would be happy with the radiator emptying its contents out, but then why is it having an impact on the overall pressure if it is now 'isolated'?

This radiator has already been replaced once after the exact same problem around 6 years ago, when it was still within the warranty period of the original install.
#12
Ferris
Thanks for all the replies. So yesterday I closed both valves (well, screwed them both in completely), and then refilled the system to get the pressure back up. The heating has been on twice since then, and both times the radiator that I've 'isolated' has remained cold while all the other radiators warmed up as normal. However, there is still a steady drip-drip from the 'isolated' radiator and even now (when the heating is off and has been for a couple of hours) the dripping continues and the boiler pressure continues to drop. The dripping is contained for now, as we've located the hole and placed a tub under it, so we no longer have a puddle on the floor!

Both valves I closed yesterday have a knob on, and I can't figure out how to get those off to get to the actual valve. But then if the radiator remains cold while others heat up, does that not suggest the closed valves are already doing their jobs?

If the radiator remains cold while others heat up, I assume that means it's not getting any new water. I would be happy with the radiator emptying its contents out, but then why is it having an impact on the overall pressure if it is now 'isolated'?

This radiator has already been replaced once after the exact same problem around 6 years ago, when it was still within the warranty period of the original install.
is the drip around the valves or a hole in the actual rad? Staying cold means it is isolated so doesnt explain why pressure is dropping unless the valve is leaking quite a lot.
#13
chocci
Ferris
Thanks for all the replies. So yesterday I closed both valves (well, screwed them both in completely), and then refilled the system to get the pressure back up. The heating has been on twice since then, and both times the radiator that I've 'isolated' has remained cold while all the other radiators warmed up as normal. However, there is still a steady drip-drip from the 'isolated' radiator and even now (when the heating is off and has been for a couple of hours) the dripping continues and the boiler pressure continues to drop. The dripping is contained for now, as we've located the hole and placed a tub under it, so we no longer have a puddle on the floor!

Both valves I closed yesterday have a knob on, and I can't figure out how to get those off to get to the actual valve. But then if the radiator remains cold while others heat up, does that not suggest the closed valves are already doing their jobs?

If the radiator remains cold while others heat up, I assume that means it's not getting any new water. I would be happy with the radiator emptying its contents out, but then why is it having an impact on the overall pressure if it is now 'isolated'?

This radiator has already been replaced once after the exact same problem around 6 years ago, when it was still within the warranty period of the original install.
is the drip around the valves or a hole in the actual rad? Staying cold means it is isolated so doesnt explain why pressure is dropping unless the valve is leaking quite a lot.

The drip seems to be coming from a small rust hole in the radiator itself rather than the valve. I can feel the hole, and that's where the drips emerge from (a drip every 6 seconds). When I ran a tissue over the valves, it was dry, but I'll try it again and see if I missed anything.

Does it make any difference that it's still dripping even when the heating is off?
#14
Hi
Ferris
Thanks for all the replies. So yesterday I closed both valves (well, screwed them both in completely), and then refilled the system to get the pressure back up. The heating has been on twice since then, and both times the radiator that I've 'isolated' has remained cold while all the other radiators warmed up as normal. However, there is still a steady drip-drip from the 'isolated' radiator and even now (when the heating is off and has been for a couple of hours) the dripping continues and the boiler pressure continues to drop. The dripping is contained for now, as we've located the hole and placed a tub under it, so we no longer have a puddle on the floor!

Both valves I closed yesterday have a knob on, and I can't figure out how to get those off to get to the actual valve. But then if the radiator remains cold while others heat up, does that not suggest the closed valves are already doing their jobs?

If the radiator remains cold while others heat up, I assume that means it's not getting any new water. I would be happy with the radiator emptying its contents out, but then why is it having an impact on the overall pressure if it is now 'isolated'?

This radiator has already been replaced once after the exact same problem around 6 years ago, when it was still within the warranty period of the original install.

I had the exact same issue. a leaky rusty radiator that wouldn't stop dripping from a hole right in the centre of the radiator. I also closed both valves at each end by truning the valve caps to close, which seemed to stop the heat (just like yours), but the dripping continued when the heating was on. My father in law managed to stop the dripping thankfully.

If you can remove the white knobs over the valves (i used some plieres and just ripped em off) i'm hoping that you will find that the square valve things. They should be able to be pressed down slightly like a button. Its fractional but apparently pressing down the valve will completely isolate the radiator not just stop them heating it up. My father in law show me this, and then he used a white valve cap (which was like a flat version of the white knobs id ripped off (im not sure where he got this from), stuck a penny inside to create the right about of depth to press down on the valve and screwed the cap snugly onto the valve. Dripping stopped immediately and we were able to get through the summer without any further leaks. Thankfully managed to get em replaced for winter.
#15
shepademus
Hi
Ferris
Thanks for all the replies. So yesterday I closed both valves (well, screwed them both in completely), and then refilled the system to get the pressure back up. The heating has been on twice since then, and both times the radiator that I've 'isolated' has remained cold while all the other radiators warmed up as normal. However, there is still a steady drip-drip from the 'isolated' radiator and even now (when the heating is off and has been for a couple of hours) the dripping continues and the boiler pressure continues to drop. The dripping is contained for now, as we've located the hole and placed a tub under it, so we no longer have a puddle on the floor!

EDIT: removed the white knobs. The shafts seemed to be fully tightened when I tried to shift them further with pliers. There also didn't seem to be any "pressing in" as you describe.

The dripping rate had slowed down to almost half (once every 11 seconds), but is now back to normal, although that may be because I was fiddling around near it.

Both valves I closed yesterday have a knob on, and I can't figure out how to get those off to get to the actual valve. But then if the radiator remains cold while others heat up, does that not suggest the closed valves are already doing their jobs?

If the radiator remains cold while others heat up, I assume that means it's not getting any new water. I would be happy with the radiator emptying its contents out, but then why is it having an impact on the overall pressure if it is now 'isolated'?

This radiator has already been replaced once after the exact same problem around 6 years ago, when it was still within the warranty period of the original install.

I had the exact same issue. a leaky rusty radiator that wouldn't stop dripping from a hole right in the centre of the radiator. I also closed both valves at each end by truning the valve caps to close, which seemed to stop the heat (just like yours), but the dripping continued when the heating was on. My father in law managed to stop the dripping thankfully.

If you can remove the white knobs over the valves (i used some plieres and just ripped em off) i'm hoping that you will find that the square valve things. They should be able to be pressed down slightly like a button. Its fractional but apparently pressing down the valve will completely isolate the radiator not just stop them heating it up. My father in law show me this, and then he used a white valve cap (which was like a flat version of the white knobs id ripped off (im not sure where he got this from), stuck a penny inside to create the right about of depth to press down on the valve and screwed the cap snugly onto the valve. Dripping stopped immediately and we were able to get through the summer without any further leaks. Thankfully managed to get em replaced for winter.

That's handy, and I might give that a go. The one difference that I can see between your situation and mine is that our radiators are leaking even when the heating is off. But otherwise that might be the sort of solution that makes sense!

I spoke to a plumber friend who has no time to do any work for us but suggested that if the pressure is dropping with both valves closed, there is either a leak somewhere else (there isn't, anywhere visible) or a problem with the boiler (gulp!) That would be a bit of a coincidence, if the radiator started leaking at the exact same time a boiler problem manifested, but it's still a scary thought.

He also mentioned that the faulty extractor fan (it's in a bathroom) is most likely to blame for the recurrent radiator rust problems.

Edited By: Ferris on Dec 18, 2014 15:32: .
#16
I just took the white caps off and the square shafts seemed to be as tight as possible - no pushing in would shift them any further. So it's back to the drawing board :( I'm leaning towards removing the radiator completely, but I fear that I'll end up with a couple of leaking pipes instead of a leaking radiator, and won't do anything to improve the overall pressure situation...
#17
Ferris
I just took the white caps off and the square shafts seemed to be as tight as possible - no pushing in would shift them any further. So it's back to the drawing board :( I'm leaning towards removing the radiator completely, but I fear that I'll end up with a couple of leaking pipes instead of a leaking radiator, and won't do anything to improve the overall pressure situation...

It may well still be the leak in the rad that is causing the drop in pressure. You have closed the valves and say that the rad isn't warming up, but if perhaps the valves aren't fully closed ther may be a small flow still going through them, ie if the valve was closed enough to limit the flow to 5% of what would be normal you probably wouldn't be able to feel the effect of hot water going into the rad (though you might feel it on the inlet pipe ?) The leak is small so wouldn't be effected by the limited flow so would continue to lower your pressure.

You'd struggle to take the radiator off the wall without draining the whole system down. In my admittedly limited DIY experience the valves screw into the rad and then the pipes are attached to the other side of the valves. However if you do drain the system down you can easily get blanking plugs for the end of the pipes that if fitted properly will seal the ends until you are ready to replace the rad.
#18
RxTx
Ferris
I just took the white caps off and the square shafts seemed to be as tight as possible - no pushing in would shift them any further. So it's back to the drawing board :( I'm leaning towards removing the radiator completely, but I fear that I'll end up with a couple of leaking pipes instead of a leaking radiator, and won't do anything to improve the overall pressure situation...

It may well still be the leak in the rad that is causing the drop in pressure. You have closed the valves and say that the rad isn't warming up, but if perhaps the valves aren't fully closed ther may be a small flow still going through them, ie if the valve was closed enough to limit the flow to 5% of what would be normal you probably wouldn't be able to feel the effect of hot water going into the rad (though you might feel it on the inlet pipe ?) The leak is small so wouldn't be effected by the limited flow so would continue to lower your pressure.

You'd struggle to take the radiator off the wall without draining the whole system down. In my admittedly limited DIY experience the valves screw into the rad and then the pipes are attached to the other side of the valves. However if you do drain the system down you can easily get blanking plugs for the end of the pipes that if fitted properly will seal the ends until you are ready to replace the rad.

Thanks. How would I check if the valves are fully closed? They are screwed tight, as are the shafts when the valves are tightened. What else could I do to check? And would water still be flowing into the radiator even when the heating is off?

By draining down the whole system do you mean dumping all of the water out of the whole system? How would that be achieved? The system is doing a pretty good job of draining itself down at the moment! :)

So it's not possible to just take the 'isolated' radiator off? I thought that was the point of isolating it with the valves... Shows what I know :)
#19
try sticking some chewing gum on that hole, it might be worth a try as everything else seems not to work.
#20
Ferris
RxTx
Ferris
I just took the white caps off and the square shafts seemed to be as tight as possible - no pushing in would shift them any further. So it's back to the drawing board :( I'm leaning towards removing the radiator completely, but I fear that I'll end up with a couple of leaking pipes instead of a leaking radiator, and won't do anything to improve the overall pressure situation...
It may well still be the leak in the rad that is causing the drop in pressure. You have closed the valves and say that the rad isn't warming up, but if perhaps the valves aren't fully closed ther may be a small flow still going through them, ie if the valve was closed enough to limit the flow to 5% of what would be normal you probably wouldn't be able to feel the effect of hot water going into the rad (though you might feel it on the inlet pipe ?) The leak is small so wouldn't be effected by the limited flow so would continue to lower your pressure.
You'd struggle to take the radiator off the wall without draining the whole system down. In my admittedly limited DIY experience the valves screw into the rad and then the pipes are attached to the other side of the valves. However if you do drain the system down you can easily get blanking plugs for the end of the pipes that if fitted properly will seal the ends until you are ready to replace the rad.
Thanks. How would I check if the valves are fully closed? They are screwed tight, as are the shafts when the valves are tightened. What else could I do to check? And would water still be flowing into the radiator even when the heating is off?
By draining down the whole system do you mean dumping all of the water out of the whole system? How would that be achieved? The system is doing a pretty good job of draining itself down at the moment! :)
So it's not possible to just take the 'isolated' radiator off? I thought that was the point of isolating it with the valves... Shows what I know :)

If the rad is truly isolated then you open the bleed screw with the CH off you should get a bit of water coming out, but this shouldn't last long. Leave the bleed screw slightly open and get someone to put the CH on. If the water starts coming out of the bleed screw again then it must be because the valves are still open if only slightly ?

If you look at this diagram of a typical valve http://www.upperplumbers.co.uk/images/Text/central_heating/Thermostatic-Radiator-Valve.jpg, the threaded part on the RH side of the valve is screwed into the body of the rad, typically 7 or 8 rotations till it's in properly. In this particular valve it's possible to unscrew the fitting between the bit that screws into the rad and the TRV, but they aren't all like that and clearly you couldn't do this if the pipe was already attached to the bottom fitting, so if you don't have this kind of arrangement on both sides then you will have to take the rad and both valves off as one piece , hence the need to drain the system down.

There will prob be a drain point somewhere , in my again limited experience it will be at or near the lowest point of the system. This guide is one of many online that give tips on what to do - How to drain your CH


Edited By: RxTx on Dec 18, 2014 19:49
#21
You'd struggle to take the radiator off the wall without draining the whole system down

oO

You don't need to drain the system to take a rad off the wall. He's isolated both sides with the valves so can drain the rad, and take it off the wall. D.i.y job
#22
Ferris
chocci
Ferris
Thanks for all the replies. So yesterday I closed both valves (well, screwed them both in completely), and then refilled the system to get the pressure back up. The heating has been on twice since then, and both times the radiator that I've 'isolated' has remained cold while all the other radiators warmed up as normal. However, there is still a steady drip-drip from the 'isolated' radiator and even now (when the heating is off and has been for a couple of hours) the dripping continues and the boiler pressure continues to drop. The dripping is contained for now, as we've located the hole and placed a tub under it, so we no longer have a puddle on the floor!

Both valves I closed yesterday have a knob on, and I can't figure out how to get those off to get to the actual valve. But then if the radiator remains cold while others heat up, does that not suggest the closed valves are already doing their jobs?

If the radiator remains cold while others heat up, I assume that means it's not getting any new water. I would be happy with the radiator emptying its contents out, but then why is it having an impact on the overall pressure if it is now 'isolated'?

This radiator has already been replaced once after the exact same problem around 6 years ago, when it was still within the warranty period of the original install.
is the drip around the valves or a hole in the actual rad? Staying cold means it is isolated so doesnt explain why pressure is dropping unless the valve is leaking quite a lot.

The drip seems to be coming from a small rust hole in the radiator itself rather than the valve. I can feel the hole, and that's where the drips emerge from (a drip every 6 seconds). When I ran a tissue over the valves, it was dry, but I'll try it again and see if I missed anything.

Does it make any difference that it's still dripping even when the heating is off?

Can you do without the rad bring on for the time being? If the rad is dripping, then keep the valves closed on either side, drain the rad so it's empty then problem solved until you can replace the rad (assuming it's definitely the rad at fault)
#23
kjcoolcat
Ferris
chocci
Ferris
Thanks for all the replies. So yesterday I closed both valves (well, screwed them both in completely), and then refilled the system to get the pressure back up. The heating has been on twice since then, and both times the radiator that I've 'isolated' has remained cold while all the other radiators warmed up as normal. However, there is still a steady drip-drip from the 'isolated' radiator and even now (when the heating is off and has been for a couple of hours) the dripping continues and the boiler pressure continues to drop. The dripping is contained for now, as we've located the hole and placed a tub under it, so we no longer have a puddle on the floor!

Both valves I closed yesterday have a knob on, and I can't figure out how to get those off to get to the actual valve. But then if the radiator remains cold while others heat up, does that not suggest the closed valves are already doing their jobs?

If the radiator remains cold while others heat up, I assume that means it's not getting any new water. I would be happy with the radiator emptying its contents out, but then why is it having an impact on the overall pressure if it is now 'isolated'?

This radiator has already been replaced once after the exact same problem around 6 years ago, when it was still within the warranty period of the original install.
is the drip around the valves or a hole in the actual rad? Staying cold means it is isolated so doesnt explain why pressure is dropping unless the valve is leaking quite a lot.

The drip seems to be coming from a small rust hole in the radiator itself rather than the valve. I can feel the hole, and that's where the drips emerge from (a drip every 6 seconds). When I ran a tissue over the valves, it was dry, but I'll try it again and see if I missed anything.

Does it make any difference that it's still dripping even when the heating is off?

Can you do without the rad bring on for the time being? If the rad is dripping, then keep the valves closed on either side, drain the rad so it's empty then problem solved until you can replace the rad (assuming it's definitely the rad at fault)

Thanks all. And yes, I think we can definitely do without the rad (it's a small bathroom that heats up very quickly just from the hot water). If I could even get it to the point where that one radiator was dripping but the pressure in the rest of the system was roughly consistent (rather than dropping into the red very quickly), I'd be happy until we get a longer term solution sorted!

I'll see what bleeding does in the morning. Had enough of staring at it for today! Weirdly, the heating has been on for a couple of hours, the the pressure is up, the rad (and the pipes leading to it) are cold, and the drips seem to have stopped. I've even been able to put a piece of kitchen towel over the pot that's been collecting the water, and not a drop. No idea if it will start again.

Thanks again for all your advice and suggestions so far :)
#24
Ferris
kjcoolcat
Ferris
chocci
Ferris
Thanks for all the replies. So yesterday I closed both valves (well, screwed them both in completely), and then refilled the system to get the pressure back up. The heating has been on twice since then, and both times the radiator that I've 'isolated' has remained cold while all the other radiators warmed up as normal. However, there is still a steady drip-drip from the 'isolated' radiator and even now (when the heating is off and has been for a couple of hours) the dripping continues and the boiler pressure continues to drop. The dripping is contained for now, as we've located the hole and placed a tub under it, so we no longer have a puddle on the floor!

Both valves I closed yesterday have a knob on, and I can't figure out how to get those off to get to the actual valve. But then if the radiator remains cold while others heat up, does that not suggest the closed valves are already doing their jobs?

If the radiator remains cold while others heat up, I assume that means it's not getting any new water. I would be happy with the radiator emptying its contents out, but then why is it having an impact on the overall pressure if it is now 'isolated'?

This radiator has already been replaced once after the exact same problem around 6 years ago, when it was still within the warranty period of the original install.
is the drip around the valves or a hole in the actual rad? Staying cold means it is isolated so doesnt explain why pressure is dropping unless the valve is leaking quite a lot.

The drip seems to be coming from a small rust hole in the radiator itself rather than the valve. I can feel the hole, and that's where the drips emerge from (a drip every 6 seconds). When I ran a tissue over the valves, it was dry, but I'll try it again and see if I missed anything.

Does it make any difference that it's still dripping even when the heating is off?

Can you do without the rad bring on for the time being? If the rad is dripping, then keep the valves closed on either side, drain the rad so it's empty then problem solved until you can replace the rad (assuming it's definitely the rad at fault)

Thanks all. And yes, I think we can definitely do without the rad (it's a small bathroom that heats up very quickly just from the hot water). If I could even get it to the point where that one radiator was dripping but the pressure in the rest of the system was roughly consistent (rather than dropping into the red very quickly), I'd be happy until we get a longer term solution sorted!

I'll see what bleeding does in the morning. Had enough of staring at it for today! Weirdly, the heating has been on for a couple of hours, the the pressure is up, the rad (and the pipes leading to it) are cold, and the drips seem to have stopped. I've even been able to put a piece of kitchen towel over the pot that's been collecting the water, and not a drop. No idea if it will start again.

Thanks again for all your advice and suggestions so far :)

Heating problems can really do your head in!

Do you mean the rad and pipes are now hot?
#25
kjcoolcat
Ferris
kjcoolcat
Ferris
chocci
Ferris
Thanks for all the replies. So yesterday I closed both valves (well, screwed them both in completely), and then refilled the system to get the pressure back up. The heating has been on twice since then, and both times the radiator that I've 'isolated' has remained cold while all the other radiators warmed up as normal. However, there is still a steady drip-drip from the 'isolated' radiator and even now (when the heating is off and has been for a couple of hours) the dripping continues and the boiler pressure continues to drop. The dripping is contained for now, as we've located the hole and placed a tub under it, so we no longer have a puddle on the floor!

Both valves I closed yesterday have a knob on, and I can't figure out how to get those off to get to the actual valve. But then if the radiator remains cold while others heat up, does that not suggest the closed valves are already doing their jobs?

If the radiator remains cold while others heat up, I assume that means it's not getting any new water. I would be happy with the radiator emptying its contents out, but then why is it having an impact on the overall pressure if it is now 'isolated'?

This radiator has already been replaced once after the exact same problem around 6 years ago, when it was still within the warranty period of the original install.
is the drip around the valves or a hole in the actual rad? Staying cold means it is isolated so doesnt explain why pressure is dropping unless the valve is leaking quite a lot.

The drip seems to be coming from a small rust hole in the radiator itself rather than the valve. I can feel the hole, and that's where the drips emerge from (a drip every 6 seconds). When I ran a tissue over the valves, it was dry, but I'll try it again and see if I missed anything.

Does it make any difference that it's still dripping even when the heating is off?

Can you do without the rad bring on for the time being? If the rad is dripping, then keep the valves closed on either side, drain the rad so it's empty then problem solved until you can replace the rad (assuming it's definitely the rad at fault)

Thanks all. And yes, I think we can definitely do without the rad (it's a small bathroom that heats up very quickly just from the hot water). If I could even get it to the point where that one radiator was dripping but the pressure in the rest of the system was roughly consistent (rather than dropping into the red very quickly), I'd be happy until we get a longer term solution sorted!

I'll see what bleeding does in the morning. Had enough of staring at it for today! Weirdly, the heating has been on for a couple of hours, the the pressure is up, the rad (and the pipes leading to it) are cold, and the drips seem to have stopped. I've even been able to put a piece of kitchen towel over the pot that's been collecting the water, and not a drop. No idea if it will start again.

Thanks again for all your advice and suggestions so far :)

Heating problems can really do your head in!

Do you mean the rad and pipes are now hot?

No, they're cold (someone mentioned earlier that maybe the pipes would still be hot even if the rad isn't, but they're all cold.
#26
Ferris
kjcoolcat
Ferris
kjcoolcat
Ferris
chocci
Ferris
Thanks for all the replies. So yesterday I closed both valves (well, screwed them both in completely), and then refilled the system to get the pressure back up. The heating has been on twice since then, and both times the radiator that I've 'isolated' has remained cold while all the other radiators warmed up as normal. However, there is still a steady drip-drip from the 'isolated' radiator and even now (when the heating is off and has been for a couple of hours) the dripping continues and the boiler pressure continues to drop. The dripping is contained for now, as we've located the hole and placed a tub under it, so we no longer have a puddle on the floor!

Both valves I closed yesterday have a knob on, and I can't figure out how to get those off to get to the actual valve. But then if the radiator remains cold while others heat up, does that not suggest the closed valves are already doing their jobs?

If the radiator remains cold while others heat up, I assume that means it's not getting any new water. I would be happy with the radiator emptying its contents out, but then why is it having an impact on the overall pressure if it is now 'isolated'?

This radiator has already been replaced once after the exact same problem around 6 years ago, when it was still within the warranty period of the original install.
is the drip around the valves or a hole in the actual rad? Staying cold means it is isolated so doesnt explain why pressure is dropping unless the valve is leaking quite a lot.

The drip seems to be coming from a small rust hole in the radiator itself rather than the valve. I can feel the hole, and that's where the drips emerge from (a drip every 6 seconds). When I ran a tissue over the valves, it was dry, but I'll try it again and see if I missed anything.

Does it make any difference that it's still dripping even when the heating is off?

Can you do without the rad bring on for the time being? If the rad is dripping, then keep the valves closed on either side, drain the rad so it's empty then problem solved until you can replace the rad (assuming it's definitely the rad at fault)

Thanks all. And yes, I think we can definitely do without the rad (it's a small bathroom that heats up very quickly just from the hot water). If I could even get it to the point where that one radiator was dripping but the pressure in the rest of the system was roughly consistent (rather than dropping into the red very quickly), I'd be happy until we get a longer term solution sorted!

I'll see what bleeding does in the morning. Had enough of staring at it for today! Weirdly, the heating has been on for a couple of hours, the the pressure is up, the rad (and the pipes leading to it) are cold, and the drips seem to have stopped. I've even been able to put a piece of kitchen towel over the pot that's been collecting the water, and not a drop. No idea if it will start again.

Thanks again for all your advice and suggestions so far :)

Heating problems can really do your head in!

Do you mean the rad and pipes are now hot?

No, they're cold (someone mentioned earlier that maybe the pipes would still be hot even if the rad isn't, but they're all cold.

Think you've got more work ahead of you :) that doesn't sound right. If the rad valves are closed, the pipes (or at least one of them) should still be hot when the heating is on.

You might be better off getting a plumber in to check it over

If the pressure is holding then leave it be for now, at least you know the waters not pishing out somewhere!
#27
kjcoolcat
Ferris
kjcoolcat
Ferris
kjcoolcat
Ferris
chocci
Ferris
Thanks for all the replies. So yesterday I closed both valves (well, screwed them both in completely), and then refilled the system to get the pressure back up. The heating has been on twice since then, and both times the radiator that I've 'isolated' has remained cold while all the other radiators warmed up as normal. However, there is still a steady drip-drip from the 'isolated' radiator and even now (when the heating is off and has been for a couple of hours) the dripping continues and the boiler pressure continues to drop. The dripping is contained for now, as we've located the hole and placed a tub under it, so we no longer have a puddle on the floor!

Both valves I closed yesterday have a knob on, and I can't figure out how to get those off to get to the actual valve. But then if the radiator remains cold while others heat up, does that not suggest the closed valves are already doing their jobs?

If the radiator remains cold while others heat up, I assume that means it's not getting any new water. I would be happy with the radiator emptying its contents out, but then why is it having an impact on the overall pressure if it is now 'isolated'?

This radiator has already been replaced once after the exact same problem around 6 years ago, when it was still within the warranty period of the original install.
is the drip around the valves or a hole in the actual rad? Staying cold means it is isolated so doesnt explain why pressure is dropping unless the valve is leaking quite a lot.

The drip seems to be coming from a small rust hole in the radiator itself rather than the valve. I can feel the hole, and that's where the drips emerge from (a drip every 6 seconds). When I ran a tissue over the valves, it was dry, but I'll try it again and see if I missed anything.

Does it make any difference that it's still dripping even when the heating is off?

Can you do without the rad bring on for the time being? If the rad is dripping, then keep the valves closed on either side, drain the rad so it's empty then problem solved until you can replace the rad (assuming it's definitely the rad at fault)

Thanks all. And yes, I think we can definitely do without the rad (it's a small bathroom that heats up very quickly just from the hot water). If I could even get it to the point where that one radiator was dripping but the pressure in the rest of the system was roughly consistent (rather than dropping into the red very quickly), I'd be happy until we get a longer term solution sorted!

I'll see what bleeding does in the morning. Had enough of staring at it for today! Weirdly, the heating has been on for a couple of hours, the the pressure is up, the rad (and the pipes leading to it) are cold, and the drips seem to have stopped. I've even been able to put a piece of kitchen towel over the pot that's been collecting the water, and not a drop. No idea if it will start again.

Thanks again for all your advice and suggestions so far :)

Heating problems can really do your head in!

Do you mean the rad and pipes are now hot?

No, they're cold (someone mentioned earlier that maybe the pipes would still be hot even if the rad isn't, but they're all cold.

Think you've got more work ahead of you :) that doesn't sound right. If the rad valves are closed, the pipes (or at least one of them) should still be hot when the heating is on.

You might be better off getting a plumber in to check it over

If the pressure is holding then leave it be for now, at least you know the waters not pishing out somewhere!

I should add that my check was shortly (15-30 minutes) after the heating went off, but even then I would have expected some residual warmth. I should have compared them to pipes elsewhere in the house really.

The pressure has dropped slightly, but then it is cold and rainy so a slight dip is sort of understandable. Checking in the morning after the heating's been on and off again will be the key.

Still, at least the dripping seems to have stopped! :D


Edited By: Ferris on Dec 18, 2014 23:52
#28
Seems like you've managed to isolate the radiator ,to double check open ,as suggested the bleed screw ,if it doesn't hiss or stops hissing after a couple of secs and doesn't continue to vent water the rad is isolated . Ignore a previous reply that suggested feeder pipe should be hot even with valves off (water is pretty solid and if valves off both rad pipes will be cold ) .
It seems strange your boiler is losing pressure if rad is ,as seems , isolated , but it could be that when boiler is off water in the system will cool down ,contract and suck in air which will then disperse through the system .
I would suggest that you have isolated the offending rad , you now need to bleed every other rad to get rid of any air in the system and hopefully this will cure the "pressure dropping problem" . Replacing a small rad is no problem as long as you can unscrew the pipes where they screw into the actual radiator body (they tend to be well tight after a few years - you'll probably need a hefty monkey wrench, hammer and WD40) - as previously advised have a drip tray (or similar) handy to catch the contents of the rad , small rad about 4 or 5 pints .
Wont transfer pressure to next rad as pressure is regulated by the boiler and should be the same through out the system as most rads are "wired" in parallel .
If you cant "break" the screw where it screws into the rad you'll have to remove rad complete with valves (as I had to do ). You will then need to drain the system down before doing this (obviously) . If your bathroom is upstairs you wont have to drain it completely ,just to below the level of the radiator .
Now once you've done all that and feel comfortable with plumbing you need to flush (put some Fernox flusher in and run the system for a few days ) then drain down the system - there'll be a square tap at the lowest point which you can attach a hose to, to empty to outside . Fill up again ,run for a day ,obviously bleeding radiators again . Finally drain down again then refill but this time add inhibitor - which prevents rusting in the system .
Plumbing really is simple ( the hard bit is gas and boilers - don't even think of touching them !) - its just nuts and bolts . Unfortunately most of the nuts and bolts will be rusted solid which is the main challenge !
#29
Ferris
I just took the white caps off and the square shafts seemed to be as tight as possible - no pushing in would shift them any further. So it's back to the drawing board :( I'm leaning towards removing the radiator completely, but I fear that I'll end up with a couple of leaking pipes instead of a leaking radiator, and won't do anything to improve the overall pressure situation...

Sorry mine was the same- leaking when the heating was off, like a slow drip drip all day long. Over the course of a day it would be about 4 ltrs. And funnily it was in a a bathroom that had a faulty extractor fan too! The rust was unbelievable when we finally took it off the wall. The back of the radiator being almost fully corroded! But as i say, once my fatherinlaw pushed the valve down and secured it in the pushed down position- literally stopped dripping in a matter of minutes.

Hope youcan get it sorted, we put up with it for 6 months as we couldnt get our regular plumber in- nightmare!
#30
rogparki
Seems like you've managed to isolate the radiator ,to double check open ,as suggested the bleed screw ,if it doesn't hiss or stops hissing after a couple of secs and doesn't continue to vent water the rad is isolated . Ignore a previous reply that suggested feeder pipe should be hot even with valves off (water is pretty solid and if valves off both rad pipes will be cold ) .
It seems strange your boiler is losing pressure if rad is ,as seems , isolated , but it could be that when boiler is off water in the system will cool down ,contract and suck in air which will then disperse through the system .
I would suggest that you have isolated the offending rad , you now need to bleed every other rad to get rid of any air in the system and hopefully this will cure the "pressure dropping problem" . Replacing a small rad is no problem as long as you can unscrew the pipes where they screw into the actual radiator body (they tend to be well tight after a few years - you'll probably need a hefty monkey wrench, hammer and WD40) - as previously advised have a drip tray (or similar) handy to catch the contents of the rad , small rad about 4 or 5 pints .
Wont transfer pressure to next rad as pressure is regulated by the boiler and should be the same through out the system as most rads are "wired" in parallel .
If you cant "break" the screw where it screws into the rad you'll have to remove rad complete with valves (as I had to do ). You will then need to drain the system down before doing this (obviously) . If your bathroom is upstairs you wont have to drain it completely ,just to below the level of the radiator .
Now once you've done all that and feel comfortable with plumbing you need to flush (put some Fernox flusher in and run the system for a few days ) then drain down the system - there'll be a square tap at the lowest point which you can attach a hose to, to empty to outside . Fill up again ,run for a day ,obviously bleeding radiators again . Finally drain down again then refill but this time add inhibitor - which prevents rusting in the system .
Plumbing really is simple ( the hard bit is gas and boilers - don't even think of touching them !) - its just nuts and bolts . Unfortunately most of the nuts and bolts will be rusted solid which is the main challenge !


That is a comprehensive and detailed answer... thanks!

A quick update. The pressure seems to have settled and the radiator has not dripped at all for the past 24 hours. The current thinking is that the leaking was from a spot where an earth wire was screwed into the radiator, and water emerged out of the screw hole after the wire had been nudged for some reason. Our endless fiddling must have inadvertently set it back in the correct position to prevent leaks. It's not a long term solution, but it solves the immediate problem. It also does seem that the dripping from the isolated radiator and the pressure drop were connected somehow, but I can't really imagine how. I guess that if I dislodged the screw again, it would recommence dripping, and the pressure would drop again. Really confusing. Or maybe all the rads do just need bleeding. It has been a long time since they last were, as far as I know. I'll get on to that later.

What do you mean by "water is pretty solid", though? The only bit of your reply that puzzled me!
#31
Ferris
rogparki
Seems like you've managed to isolate the radiator ,to double check open ,as suggested the bleed screw ,if it doesn't hiss or stops hissing after a couple of secs and doesn't continue to vent water the rad is isolated . Ignore a previous reply that suggested feeder pipe should be hot even with valves off (water is pretty solid and if valves off both rad pipes will be cold ) .
It seems strange your boiler is losing pressure if rad is ,as seems , isolated , but it could be that when boiler is off water in the system will cool down ,contract and suck in air which will then disperse through the system .
I would suggest that you have isolated the offending rad , you now need to bleed every other rad to get rid of any air in the system and hopefully this will cure the "pressure dropping problem" . Replacing a small rad is no problem as long as you can unscrew the pipes where they screw into the actual radiator body (they tend to be well tight after a few years - you'll probably need a hefty monkey wrench, hammer and WD40) - as previously advised have a drip tray (or similar) handy to catch the contents of the rad , small rad about 4 or 5 pints .
Wont transfer pressure to next rad as pressure is regulated by the boiler and should be the same through out the system as most rads are "wired" in parallel .
If you cant "break" the screw where it screws into the rad you'll have to remove rad complete with valves (as I had to do ). You will then need to drain the system down before doing this (obviously) . If your bathroom is upstairs you wont have to drain it completely ,just to below the level of the radiator .
Now once you've done all that and feel comfortable with plumbing you need to flush (put some Fernox flusher in and run the system for a few days ) then drain down the system - there'll be a square tap at the lowest point which you can attach a hose to, to empty to outside . Fill up again ,run for a day ,obviously bleeding radiators again . Finally drain down again then refill but this time add inhibitor - which prevents rusting in the system .
Plumbing really is simple ( the hard bit is gas and boilers - don't even think of touching them !) - its just nuts and bolts . Unfortunately most of the nuts and bolts will be rusted solid which is the main challenge !


That is a comprehensive and detailed answer... thanks!

A quick update. The pressure seems to have settled and the radiator has not dripped at all for the past 24 hours. The current thinking is that the leaking was from a spot where an earth wire was screwed into the radiator, and water emerged out of the screw hole after the wire had been nudged for some reason. Our endless fiddling must have inadvertently set it back in the correct position to prevent leaks. It's not a long term solution, but it solves the immediate problem. It also does seem that the dripping from the isolated radiator and the pressure drop were connected somehow, but I can't really imagine how. I guess that if I dislodged the screw again, it would recommence dripping, and the pressure would drop again. Really confusing. Or maybe all the rads do just need bleeding. It has been a long time since they last were, as far as I know. I'll get on to that later.

What do you mean by "water is pretty solid", though? The only bit of your reply that puzzled me!
There'll be quite a few feet of water in the feed pipe to the rad , if the rad is isolated (as it seems it now is ) the water in both pipes to rad will remain cold as on the feed side the cold water has nowhere to go and the hot water from the boiler will have to "push" its way past several feet of cold water in the pipe (which has nowhere to go ) . Might get slightly less cold via conduction but wouldn't even get warm , Just correcting someones previous post that said the feed side would be hot even when isolated .

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