Many homes and apartments use radiators to heat your space instead of central heating systems. On occasion, you may need to turn off your heater to cool the area, check for a leak, or perform other routine maintenance on the system. Knowing how to properly turn off your radiator beforehand can speed up the process and avoid radiator problems.
What is a radiator?
A radiator is a heating system that uses the steam from the water in the pipes of the system to heat a space. The system heats water in a central tank, called a boiler, and pushes water through pipes to each individual radiator in the system. Then, using convection, the heater dissipates heat from the hot water which turns into vapor in the air.
There are two types of radiators:
- Monotube systems: Steam flows directly from the boiler to each radiator, and once the steam has condensed, it returns to the boiler through the same pipe.
- Two-pipe systems: Steam flows from the boiler to each radiator through an inlet pipe, and once the steam condenses, it returns to the boiler through a second pipe, an outlet pipe.
In many older homes and apartments with radiator systems, there is a radiator in every room in the house, including bathrooms, to heat each individual space. Some even have thermostatic valves, secondary nozzles that allow you to control and customize the heat of every room in the house. These nozzles are more common on two-pipe systems, but can be found on one-pipe systems.
Why do some apartments and houses use heaters?
You can find radiators in countries with very cold winters, as these heating systems can be an efficient way to heat a space and even customize the temperature in different rooms. In these areas you will find many qualified and experienced professionals and owners who know how to maintain such radiator systems because they are so common.
You will also find that older apartments and houses that were built decades ago, including those built in the 1800s or before, may have radiators instead of central heating systems, which were invented after the construction of these older buildings. Many of these older buildings are also located in northern states that experience cold winters.
If the apartment or house you are renting has radiators, it was probably built before central heating was popular. The building owner may have chosen to retain the radiator system to preserve the historic integrity of the building and / or to avoid paying the high cost of pulling out the system and replacing it with a new one, especially if the system is radiators worked well. state.
How to turn off a radiator?
Maybe you live on the top floor and as the heat rises your apartment is very hot. Maybe your utility costs are getting a little too high. Or maybe the cold season is over and you are ready to cool off. Turn off your heater by following these simple steps:
- Find the thermostatic valve and turn it to 0. Typically, this nozzle is located on the side of the radiator near the floor. However, you can also find it at the top left. Turning this nozzle to 0 prevents steam from entering the radiator and heating the room. If your radiator does not have this valve, you can proceed to the next step.
- Find the second valve and turn it clockwise until it stops turning. This second nozzle is the on / off switch for the heater itself. However, if your radiator did not have a thermostatic valve, this is the only valve you will see.
- Remove the cap from the lock valve. In addition to the first two steps, or in their place, find the on / off valve. Check if there is a screw on the top of the plastic cap. If so, find a matching screwdriver, Phillips head or flat head. Then remove the screw and valve cap and store them together until you need to replace them and turn the radiator back on. If there are no screws, follow steps one and two instead.
It is important to note that if your radiator has been running, it may take a while, or even an hour, to cool down. During this time, the space may still feel hot, and the radiator itself may still be hot.
When to call your landlord?
In most cases, you can turn off your heater yourself. But in some situations, you might need your landlord’s help. Here are some reasons you might want to call your landlord about your heater:
- Your radiator is on, but it is not giving off heat, which may mean the homeowner needs to bleed it, releasing the air that has built up inside the system
- You spot a puddle of water under one of your radiators, which could indicate a leak
- You hear knocking or hissing, which could mean your landlord needs to purge the system
- You have turned off your radiators but your apartment is still too hot, which may force your landlord to turn down the water heating
You or your landlord might hire heating and air conditioning professionals to manage the radiator in situations like these:
- Your radiator is on but it is not giving off heat and your landlord cannot fix it themselves
- There is a major leak in the system but the owner cannot find it
- A radiator or the entire system needs to be replaced
Radiators can be a great heating system, so much so that you can’t miss new central heating systems. But to keep it in the best possible operating condition, you need to know how to turn it on and off safely and correctly in order to get the most out of your heating system.