How to Burp a Radiator: A Step-by-Step Guide

Preparing Your Radiator

Before burping your radiator, it’s vital to prep it. Do the following steps so that you can get the best results when burping your radiator:

  • Drain any water.
  • Flush the system to eliminate sediment.
  • Open the air vents for proper air circulation.

Turn off the power to the radiator

Unplug the radiator from the wall socket or turn off the power supply. Be careful! You don’t want an electric shock. Now, lay your hand on the radiator and check for any hot elements. If there are, make sure to insulate them before proceeding.

Shut off the water supply to the radiator

To burp a radiator, first shut off the water supply. Locate the water valve at the bottom of the radiator, near where it connects to the wall. Use a flathead screwdriver and your hands to turn it clockwise as far as it will go. This will turn off the water running into the radiator.

Do not attempt burping a hot radiator. It can cause scalding hot water and steam to come in contact with you. Allow time for cooling before beginning.

Open the valves and drain the radiator

Once the heater is off, it’s time to open the valves and drain the radiator. If you’re using a filling key, leave it in so air can escape as the hot water fills up. Open both valves and any bleed screws, if there are any.

Get a bucket and loosen the connector at the bottom of the radiator with a thin-blade screwdriver or pliers. Be careful – don’t let go of the connector, as it could cause scalding from hot water!

When you see a steady flow of warm liquid for several minutes with no interruption, it’s safe to close off the valve. No more warm liquid should be visible.

Burping the Radiator

Burping a radiator? That’s a thing! It’s a process to get rid of air that’s trapped in the radiator. This can help the system work more efficiently and quietly. Here’s what you need to do to burp the radiator:

  1. Check the temperature of the radiator.
  2. Slowly open the vent valve.
  3. Shut off the valve once all the air has escaped.
  4. Refill the radiator with water and close the vent.
  5. Turn on the heating system and check the radiator.

Place a bucket under the radiator

Gather your materials: a bucket, rag, and a plumbing snake/clean rag.

  1. Put the bucket under the radiator; it will catch any water that may leak.
  2. Use a wrench to loosen and remove the bleed valve.
  3. Put the rag over the mouth of the drain valve.
  4. Aim your plumbing snake/clean rag at the highest point inside the radiator.
  5. When air escapes, you should hear a gassy sound. This means most of the air has been removed.

Use a radiator key to open the bleed valve

Burping a radiator? Get yourself a radiator key. It’s usually L-shaped and can be bought at the local hardware store. Find the bleed valve and secure it with the radiator key. Turn it counterclockwise until it opens fully. You’ll see a stream of air and water, plus hear a gurgling sound. If you need more light, use a flashlight.

To close the valve, turn it clockwise. This will help heat circulate better in your house or building. Check for further bubbling at the end to make sure no air is trapped.

Allow the air to escape until the water runs clear

Add coolant or water to your radiator. “Burp” it – let air out – to fill and cool the engine. To do this, open the rad cap while the engine is running. Air and antifreeze will escape from the overflow tube. Keep going until only fluid flows. Tighten the cap and monitor the engine. If all is good, turn off the engine.

Look at the dashboard for gauges and lights. If everything looks okay, you can drive.

Finishing the Job

The radiator has been drained of coolant! Time to finish up and reassemble. Burping it is the way. Burping is getting rid of air bubbles so the coolant can flow right. This is how to burp properly:

Close the bleed valve and the valves on the radiator

Purge the air from the radiator and get rid of all air locks. Shut the bleed valve first. Then, close the valves on either side of the radiator. Check each valve is shut tight. If it’s stuck, adjust it. Get rid of any extra water by opening the bleed valve. Don’t over-tighten it.

Repeat for other radiators in the system. This will make your home’s heating efficient and free from airlocks.

Turn the water supply back on

After you have bled the radiator, it is time to turn on the water supply. First, find your water isolation valve. Turn it clockwise – it should be marked with either an “O” for off or an arrow pointing toward the water supply.

Open all other valves in the house. Then go back to the radiator valve and bleed the air out of the system twice more.

When all air has been replaced by water, close all radiators in your home. Carefully close the original radiator cocks. Don’t do this too fast; it could cause a leak down the line. Keep turning until they are tight. If any leaks appear, re-open the valves and bleed them until they are fully ready.

Turn on the power to the radiator

Flick on the power switch to your radiator. It could be an electrical one or your boiler. Let it sit for a few minutes. This allows air to leave and water pressure to increase.

Check the gauges connected to your boiler – when they stop rising, you can move on.

Frequently Asked Questions

What tools are needed to burp a radiator?

To burp a radiator, you will need a radiator key or a flathead screwdriver. You may also need a pair of protective gloves, a bucket, and a towel.

To burp a radiator, start by turning off the radiator’s shut-off valve. Then, open the valve at the top of the radiator with the key or screwdriver. Place the bucket underneath the radiator to catch any water and carefully turn the valve, allowing air to escape. When all of the air is gone, close the valve and turn the radiator’s shut-off valve back on.

What should you do after burping a radiator?

After burping a radiator, check the system for leaks. Use a towel to wipe up any excess water, and make sure that the radiator is still heating properly. If not, you may need to call a professional for further assistance.