A Guide to Draining Your Radiator for Optimal Performance

A radiator is one of the most important components of a heating system. It helps regulate the temperature of a room by dissipating heat from hot water or steam.

Over time, however, radiators can become clogged with debris, rust, and sediment, which can reduce their efficiency and cause them to emit strange noises. To avoid such problems, it is important to drain your radiator periodically. This article will provide a step-by-step guide on how to drain a radiator.

Materials Required

Before you begin, you will need the following materials:

  • A bucket or container
  • A pair of pliers
  • A radiator key
  • A towel or cloth

Step 1: Turn off the Heating System

Before you drain your radiator, turn off the heating system. This will prevent hot water or steam from flowing through the radiator while you work on it.

If you have a gas boiler, turn it off by switching off the pilot light. To turn off an electric heating system, switch off the power supply.

Step 2: Locate the Radiator Valve

Next, locate the valve at the bottom of the radiator. This valve is usually located on the side of the radiator and is used to control the flow of water or steam into the radiator. If you can’t find the valve, consult your owner’s manual or contact a professional plumbing services provider.

Step 3: Attach the Radiator Key

Once you have located the valve, attach the radiator key to the valve. A radiator key is a small tool to open and close the valve. It is usually included with your heating system, but you can purchase it at a hardware store if you don’t have one.

Step 4: Place the Bucket underneath the Valve

Place the bucket or container underneath the valve to catch the water or steam flowing from the radiator. Make sure the bucket is large enough to hold all the water or steam that will come out of the radiator.

Step 5: Open the Valve

Using the radiator key, turn the valve counterclockwise to open it. This will allow the water or steam to flow from the radiator into the bucket. Don’t worry if you hear any hissing or gurgling sounds; this is normal due to the air escaping from the radiator.

Step 6: Wait for the Radiator to Drain

Wait for the radiator to drain completely. This may take a few minutes, depending on the size of the radiator and the amount of water or steam in it. While you wait, use a towel or cloth to wipe any excess water or steam from the radiator and the surrounding area.

Step 7: Close the Valve

Once the radiator has drained completely, use the radiator key to turn the valve clockwise to close it. This will prevent any water or steam from flowing back into the radiator.

Step 8: Refill the Radiator

Finally, refill the radiator with water or steam. To do this, turn on the heating system and wait for the water or steam to flow back into the radiator. Once the radiator is full, check the pressure gauge to ensure it is within the recommended range. If it is too low, you may need to add more water or bleed the radiator.


Draining a radiator is a simple process that can be done by anyone with the right tools and knowledge. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that your radiator is working efficiently and free from debris and sediment. If you encounter any problems or are unsure about any steps, consult your owner’s manual or contact a professional plumber.

Jensen Property Maintenance offers exceptional plumbing services to help you with any radiator or heating system issues you may have. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our experienced team and keep your home or business comfortable and warm.