What causes radiator problems after summer?
With summer fast approaching, and UK temperatures on the rise, you could be forgiven for having home heating concerns far away from the forefront of your thoughts.
However, the issue of home radiators not heating up after summer continues to be a prominent topic year after year, with inactivity the biggest poser of radiator problems in this period.
So what can be done to stop problems with radiators after the warmer summer months?
This article will offer tips on how to best utilize your home heating during times of hot outdoor climes, so you can avoid problems with heated towel rails or radiators after summer, and ultimately to ensure they will resume heating up properly.
Plus, we’ll outline how to combat the problem if you do find your radiators to be struggling to, or not heat up at all.
Should I turn my radiators on in summer?
Even in sweltering outdoor conditions, in the summertime when the weather is fine, it is important to remember not to neglect your home heating.
No matter if it is just for 10 minutes here and there once or twice a month, you should look to switch on your central heating system, so that the designer radiators on the network warm up accordingly. This enables all the necessary hydraulic components to be active for a little while, reducing the risk of them being unable to heat up when actually required at a later date.
You might want to choose a time when you’re nipping out to the shop briefly, so you don’t have to reside in a scorching hot room while its warm outside too. But inactivity is one of the most prominent catalysts of a radiator’s failure to heat up, so be sure to remember to turn the system on every once in a while to retain boiler efficiency and reduce the risk of radiators not working when the weather does take a turn for the worse.
What should I do if my radiators won’t heat up after summer?
Should your heating be failing to work properly in the aftermath of a warm summer period, there are a number of measures you can take to try and address the issue, before enlisting the services of a professional plumber or heating engineer.
Firstly, check which setting your central heating system or thermostat is on. Especially so if you haven’t used the heating with any great regularity for a while, you might find you have adopted an unfamiliar schedule. For example, the heating might be set to switch on at set intervals rather than being in constant use. If so, your radiators obviously won’t heat up immediately when outside of the specified time zone. Switch to a constant setting so you can initially check if the heating will work properly, and if you prefer, move back to the timed setting later on to make sure your heating devices turn on when they should.
Inspect the radiator valves next. If a radiator or heated towel rail is failing to switch on at all, or not heating up to an adequate level you know it is capable of, take a close look at the valve which mediates the radiator temperature. You or someone else in the household might have turned the dial down or off entirely when the weather was warmer throughout summer. It would also be particularly prudent to pay close attention to the valves in rooms that aren’t used with any great frequency.
And you can check what temperature your thermostat is set to as well. The majority of central heating setups work in cohesion with a thermostat and switch on automatically when the temperature drops below a certain level defined on the thermostat. If your radiators haven’t turned on straight away, it might just be that they are not cool enough to drop below the thermostat’s set temperature. Just turn up the temp temporarily if you want to test your radiators are working after summer. (So many temps)…
What to look for if radiators aren’t heating up after summer…
After performing your initial checks, there’s some other fairly easily detectable problems to look for if your radiators aren’t heating up after summer, some of which with obvious actionable solutions…
Cold spots on radiators
If you notice cold spots on a radiator, especially towards the top, it would tend to indicate sludge is infiltrating the system. In such an instance, a radiator power flush is recommended. The basic concept is to add chemicals to the heating system at a significant pressure, to combat rust, corrosion and limescale that may have built up to cause radiator cold spots. You can acquire the services of a heating engineer to complete the job, or if confident, you might be able to do the work yourself following instructions in our guide linked to earlier.
Downstairs radiators heat up while upstairs radiators stay cold
Should you find your downstairs radiators heat up while the upstairs devices stay cold after summer, it suggests a problem with boiler pressure. Look at the pressure gauge on your central heating system – a reading below 1 indicates the boiler is failing to work properly. Low boiler pressure can result from a number of issues that are detailed in the linked article – some will be rectifiable by us mere mortals, whilst others will have to be addressed by a Gas Safe Registered heating engineer or plumber for a safe and professional job.
Radiators cold at the top but warm at the bottom
The formation of air locks in radiators can lead to them being cold at the top but warm at the bottom. The process of bleeding a radiator is the common simple fix to the problem, and it is a job that can be completed on a DIY basis. If bleeding the rads doesn’t solve the issue, it is possible sludge has built up, and you’ve to refer back to the power flushing procedure.
All radiators failing to heat up
When all radiators are failing to heat up after summer, the first thought should be to check your boiler, especially so if your hot water supply has been restricted or cut off altogether. Look for an error code on the central heating display as well as standout ailments such as leakages. In some cases, a simple boiler reset will do the trick. But if that isn’t the case, it is much better to be safe than sorry and enlist the services of a professional plumber or heating engineer.
How to make sure your radiators heat up after summer
Ultimately, to avoid issues and to make sure your radiators heat up after summer, keeping your heating appliances active is the best thing you can do. Stay proactive in switching on the heating at short intervals even in warm conditions, make sure you service your boiler at least annually (summer is a great time to do so), and frequently fill your system(s) with inhibitor to combat the possibility of sludge forming and escalating.
Following these measures can help ensure a safe and efficient home heating setup that works to its optimal effect even following a hot summer.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a few fairly easily detectable issues to look out for if your radiators aren’t heating up properly after summer, and finding them might save you a pretty penny in not actually needing the services of a professional heating engineer.
You should check for cold spots on a radiator, particularly towards the top, that would indicate sludge has formed in the system, and a radiator power flush could could be needed
If you notice cold spots on a radiator, especially towards the top, it would tend to indicate sludge is infiltrating the system. In such an instance, a radiator power flush is recommended. You can check if your downstairs radiators heat up while upstairs appliances stay cold, which would suggest a boiler pressure issue. And if your radiators are cold at the top but warm at the bottom, it is likely air locks have formed, and you need to bleed your radiator.
For further help and information about the best way to deal with radiators not working properly, browse our blog, Why are my radiators not heating up after summer?
To give your radiators the best chance of heating up properly after summer, the key is to be active in turning on your central heating for a few minutes every few days, even in warm conditions. This will ensure the hydraulic components of your radiators and alternate heating devices are getting a workout, so to speak.
In addition to this, you should service your boiler annually, with summertime the ideal opportunity to do so, and frequently add inhibitor to your designer radiators to save off the threat of rust or sludge building up.
For a deeper insight, explore our blog, Why are my radiators not heating up after summer?
Keeping your home heating devices active during the warmer summer months is the best way to stop radiators not heating up after summer. You should look to switch on your central heating system for a few minutes every few days even in hot summer conditions, to keep the hydraulic components of radiators and other appliances somewhat active.
To find out more, take a look at our blog, Why are my radiators not heating up after summer?
Summer is the best time to get your boiler serviced due to the lower demand on plumbers and heating professionals at the time, and the lack of pressure involved to fix any potential problems due to the warmer outdoor climes.
What’s more, you can gain peace of mind that your boiler will be ready and primed to deliver to your home radiators when you really need them in the colder winter months.
To find out more, brose our blog, Summer Heating & Radiator Tips.
Get in touch with BestHeating
You can consult the BestHeating Advice Centre for any further information surrounding home heating best practices, or get in touch with our team who will be happy to help.
Got a radiator or heating question?
You can find a range of helpful answers to hundreds of common home heating questions on our FAQ pages.
Click the link or tap the image above to ask a question of your own!
With a background in sports journalism, John counts content writing amongst his key passions. He’s always peppering our Advice Centre feed with reasoned and researched home heating tips, and providing expert solutions to the questions you want answering. Fine football and music connoisseur. In his own head, at least.