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Radiator Leak – 6 Best Signs to Watch For

Radiator Leak Signs

What are the Signs of a Radiator Leak?

There are several possible signs that can indicate a radiator leak in your central heating system, some are easy to find whereas others may require a leak detection engineer to find them. Not all radiator leaks are the same, not least because there are many different types of radiators and, critically, installed in many different types of property and central heating systems.

Several of these are related to our our article on the general signs of a water leak, which is worth checking out too as you may spot these things too. However, here are some possible signs of a radiator leak:

  • Visible signs of water or damp around your radiator, you may even see droplets of water or staining, which can be made more distinctive by the fact your system has inhibitor within it or if you have corrosion in your system, which may also discolour the water in your central heating pipes.
  • Related to the previous point, you may spot a strong odour. Anyone who has had to bleed their radiator will know that the water can have a strong and distinct musty smell. If you can smell that, you may have a leak in or around your radiators. On that…

Radiator Leak - Not Heating
Radiator Leak – Thermal Image
  • Spotting that your radiator is not heating up and has air within it. Air getting into the system can indicate a leak, where the air has replaced water that has leaked out of your pipework. Be careful though as, if you have a radiator leak, a cold spot may show on another radiator in the system. This can depend on the flow of the system and where the radiators are located, especially as air rises.
  • One of the most common is noticing that your boiler is losing pressure and turning off (such as from an F1 boiler fault, also an E119 boiler fault, an F22 boiler fault or even a F75 boiler fault) this can indicate a leak in your radiators, the pipework and connections on and around them. Water leaks are often found near to radiators or the pipes that feed them, especially around joints in pipes. The challenge is finding exactly where this is, which is where our leak detection engineers can help.

Radiator Leak Heating
Radiator Leak on Central Heating?

  • We discuss this further in our article about combi boiler leakages, on that subject we have a great comprehensive and useful guide to how combi boilers work which can be one of the links in the chain related to a radiator leak in your home or business.
  • When you have a radiator leak, you may also spot mould patches on the wall or floor related to the same issue. These additional issues may have been fed by the moisture or, similarly, there could also be damp patches on ceilings below a radiator, measured using a moisture meter.
  • We have an excellent tool with our Boiler Pressure Lowering tool, in which we mention radiator leaks and there is some handy diagrams to explain different types of radiators, in particular single skinned vs double skinned (sometimes know as panes too) radiators.

Radiator Leaking Bleed
Radiator Leaking or need bleeding?

What can help find Leaks in Radiators?

We use various leak detection methods to find leaks in radiators and central heating systems, these include the following:

  • Thermal imaging leak detection – this can show the source of leaks and where air is in radiators
  • Acoustic listening leak detection – listening for the sounds that a water leak or dripping too
  • Tracer gas leak detection – which can find even very small leaks in your pipes or radiators
  • Damp meter leak detection – looking for the effects of the water that has leaked from radiators
  • There are other tools and systems we use to find heating water leaks too but these are the main ones when looking for radiator leaks in your home. We have a high success rate of finding leaks and, wherever possible, use non destructive means to find water leaks and radiator leaks.

Radiator Thermal Image
Radiator Thermal Image

Is a Radiator Leak an Emergency?

Unless it is a large radiator leak, it is unlikely to be an emergency situation. However, you should never ignore a water leak as it can cause damage to your property. And, in some cases, you may have more than one water leak so get help from a water leak detection expert as soon as you can.

We have a network of trained local leak detection engineers and are trusted by some of the biggest insurance companies to do their leak detection and trace & access work, so if you have a water leak (or think you might have one), get in touch with our expert team today.

Spotting things such as water leaks from radiators early are a good way of preventing water leaks causing too much damage to your property and possessions. On this subject, we have a really informative guide to leak sealers for central heating.

Water Leak Detection Service
Water Leak Detection Service

Can a radiator leak be fixed?

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Whether a radiator leak can be fixed will depend on three things. Firstly, how bad the damage is to the radiator. Secondly, where the radiator leak is located (for example – it could just be something loose, so an easy fix). Finally, the cost of the repair to the radiator leak vs buying a brand new radiator to replace it, which may be more practical.

Can you fix a radiator that leaks?

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If you have a radiator that leaks, it can often be fixed. This is especially the case when it is a connection to the radiator or another fixing attached to it, like a radiator valve. In instances like that, it is a relatively straightforward repair. It is relatively uncommon for household radiators to break beyond repair from a fracture or something similar, even on antique radiators.

Is it safe to use a leaking radiator?

When you have a leaking radiator it is best to get it remedied as soon as you practically can, not only will the leak be draining water from your central heating system most likely, it will could cause significant damage to your property which will need repairs and could make floors weakened or unsafe.