How Do I Fix A Leaking Radiator?

someone fixing a radiator

Help My Radiator is Leaking!!!!

Maybe you heard the sound of dripping water and followed it directly to the source, or you walked through a puddle and got your socks wet. Either way, you’re probably not best pleased. However, it is vital that you solve this issue in a timely manner. After all, in addition to the damage to property (such as flooring, carpets etc.), a leak can also cause your radiator to overheat. This can completely destroy the radiator.

Luckily, a leaking radiator usually has quite an easy fix! In this guide, we’ll talk you through the different kinds of leaks you may be experiencing and tell you how to quickly resolve them.

However, before we can offer guidance on how to fix the leak, you need to find the cause/source. In order to locate the source, you’ll need to dry the radiator. Using towels or paper towels, dry up any water that has already leaked out from the radiator and the body of the radiator itself. Depending on the amount of water the leak has caused, this could take a little time. Once you have completed this task, you should be able to find the source by figuring out where any further water is coming from.

Remember, a radiator leak usually comes from one of three areas.

– The body of the radiator
– The radiator valve, bleed point or tale
– The pipe that supplies the radiator with water.

Once you have identified which of the above you are dealing with, you’ll be able to figure out your next step. Remember – you may want to keep some kind of bucket or container on hand to collect any further water that may leak. You might want to wear waterproof/protective clothing to keep you dry, but this usually isn’t necessary.

How to fix a Leak in the Radiators Body

A leak coming from the body of the radiator is rare and is typically caused by corrosion and age. This is due to the fact that over time, a layer of sludge can build up on the inside of the radiator. As a preventative measure, you can help limit the build-up of this material with rust and corrosion inhibitors, which are added to the radiator tank.

If too much sludge builds up, it can cause a blockage or cause the radiator to ‘rot’, eventually leading to a hole that causes a leak. Unfortunately, when this occurs, you are going to need to purchase a new radiator, though there are some temporary measures you can put into place in the meantime. For example, you can purchase and instal a plastic sealant over the hole, which can stem the flow until you locate a replacement.

Luckily, other radiator leaks are much easier (and cheaper) to resolve!

How to fix a leak in the valve

The valve is located at the bottom of the radiator (usually on the left or right-hand side) and is the area where the pipes enter and exit the radiator itself.

A leaky valve is perhaps the most common kind of leak, and they occur when the equipment that holds the valve in place begins to wear away, or becomes loose and the issue can be resolved fairly quickly.

1) Firstly, you need to remove any water that is still in the radiator to below the source of the leak. To do this, turn off the supply valve and the lockshield valve. This will, obviously, cause even more water to leak out from the source, so be sure to have something on hand to clean up the excess water before you proceed to the next step.

2) Grab a spanner and undo the nut that holds the valve in place. Once you have done this, open the bleed valve. At this point, even more, water is likely to spill out. Give it time to ensure there is no water left in the system. You might want to clean up during this time.

3) Next, apply several layers of PTFE tape around the valve. We’d recommend around 10-15 layers. PTFE tape, or polytetrafluoroethylene, is a form of tape that is low in friction and resistant to water – meaning it can help hold things (such as the valve) in place. It is sometimes marketed and sold under the name of ‘plumbers’ tape, and is a useful addition to any toolbox!

4) After applying the tape, use the screwdriver to tighten to the union nut. Then, reopen the supply valve and lockshield. The tank will then begin to fill once again. If you have been successful, no more water will leak, and you can close the bleed valve.

How to fix leaky radiator piping

Sometimes, the cause of a leaky radiator can be traced back to the piping. Namely, the pipe that supplies water. This can be remedied by using a spanner to tighten the nut that holds this pipe in place. If this does not work, you could once again benefit from using PTFE tape to tighten the nut and stop the leak.

How to fix a leaky radiator gland

The ‘gland’ is a part of the radiator that is located within the valve, usually underneath the plastic lid. To fix a radiator gland, you need to:

1) Ensure all water is drained from the system, as described above.
2) Turn off the valve.
3) Remove the plastic lid.
4) Take time to unscrew the nut gently. It can be easily damaged, so take your time.
5) Apply PTFE tape to the damaged area (the part that is sticking up). This may take some time as it is quite intricate, and you need to ensure the whole area is covered.
6) Once you have done this, fix the nut in place and reattach the lid.

In short, if you find a leak in your radiator, the most important thing to remember is not to panic. Although it may seem like a huge problem – it’s likely that you can fix it yourself in a relatively short amount of time, using materials you already have on hand and by following our easy guide! If you are still struggling give us a call and one of our accredited plumbers will happily fix your problem.

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