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Brown "rusty" water leaking from top of radiator

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Brown "rusty" water leaking from top of radiator

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Hi,
I have a 19 year old gas central heating system which was installed by British Gas and has been exclusively maintained by them. New Potterton combi boiler installed by them in 2013. I have always had BG homecare for boiler and central heating cover. However, I cancelled this after the annual service in September 2019 as the price was getting too expensive.

In 2016 one of the radiators in the living room was leaking brown water which left rust stains on the flooring. The BG engineer replaced the radiator with a brand new one as part of my Homecare agreement. However, the same radiator is leaking a very small amount of brown water again from the top, where you would bleed the radiator from. The Boiler was losing some pressure so I topped it up. Bled the two upstairs radiators but only one had a small amount of air in it.

My questions are:
1. Do I need a new radiator?
2. Do I need chemicals/inhibitors?? added to the boiler?
3. Do I REALLY need a powerflush??
4. Should I restart my Homecare with British Gas and get them out OR should I get a local heating engineer to have a look?
5. Roughly how much would a new radiator including installation cost me?
6. Is the leaking radiator causing damage to the boiler?

Any advice greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance :)

Replies

  • HasbeenHasbeen Forumite
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    haz25a said:
    Hi,
    I have a 19 year old gas central heating system which was installed by British Gas and has been exclusively maintained by them. New Potterton combi boiler installed by them in 2013. I have always had BG homecare for boiler and central heating cover. However, I cancelled this after the annual service in September 2019 as the price was getting too expensive.

    In 2016 one of the radiators in the living room was leaking brown water which left rust stains on the flooring. The BG engineer replaced the radiator with a brand new one as part of my Homecare agreement. However, the same radiator is leaking a very small amount of brown water again from the top, where you would bleed the radiator from. The Boiler was losing some pressure so I topped it up. Bled the two upstairs radiators but only one had a small amount of air in it.

    My questions are:
    1. Do I need a new radiator?
    2. Do I need chemicals/inhibitors?? added to the boiler?
    3. Do I REALLY need a powerflush??
    4. Should I restart my Homecare with British Gas and get them out OR should I get a local heating engineer to have a look?
    5. Roughly how much would a new radiator including installation cost me?
    6. Is the leaking radiator causing damage to the boiler?

    Any advice greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance :)
    Perhaps all you need is one of these, if leaking from thread around valve?

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Manual-White-Chrome-Directional-Radiator/dp/B076JGY45T/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=radiator+bleed+screw+replacement&qid=1584861425&sr=8-3
    The world is not ruined by the wickedness of the wicked, but by the weakness of the good. Napoleon
  • dogshomedogshome Forumite
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    Steel radiators are painted on the outside, but not on the inside and will rust if there is not enough chemical inhibitor in the system.
    The way to change a leaking Rad for a new one is to fill the new one from the top with a mix of inhibitor & water, before the supply and exit valves are opened.
  • edited 22 March at 11:25AM
    JJ_EganJJ_Egan Forumite
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    edited 22 March at 11:25AM
    Looks to me as its the bleed valve weeping .
    Rad costs see Screwfix web site  .
  • EctophileEctophile Forumite
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    1. Maybe.  Or maybe just a clean around the bleed valve, if there's a bit of trapped gunk stopping it from closing properly.
    2. That should have been done when the boiler was replaced.  If not, expect to replace the rest of the radiators some time soon.  And possibly the boiler as well.
    3. Only if the system was full of sludge.  The power flush is to unblock a clogged-up system.
    4. I use a local gas-safe registered plumbing company.
    5. I will let someone else answer that.
    6. Not in itself.
    If it sticks, force it.
    If it breaks, well it wasn't working right anyway.
  • Mister_GMister_G Forumite
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    As Hasbeen says, it could just need the bleed valve replacing (or maybe the metal housing just needs tightening a bit more?).  You can do this by switching off the radiator once it is hot and shutting off both the inlet and outlet valves.  When the radiator is cool, turn off the heating completely and you can unscrew the old bleed valve (complete metal valve assembly).  Some water will come out but only down to the level of the opening.  Have a towel or something under the radiator to catch it.  Note that the new valve metal housing will have a rubber O ring.  Clean the area around the threaded opening to ensure that this seats properly.  You should only need to tighten up the new valve housing sufficiently for it to seal.

    HTH

  • haz25ahaz25a Forumite
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    Thanks for your comments everyone, much appreciated. At the moment it is amount a tablespoon (maybe less) of water a day that's leaking. Like I said, I've topped up the boiler so it's ok pressure wise for now but that's about the extent of my experience when it comes to my heating i.e. bleeding the radiators and topping up pressure in boiler when needed. All the other radiators are totally fine, it's weird that it should be the one that's only three years old that's leaking again! There is quite a lot of "brown gunk" around the bleeding valve. I took out central heating emergency care with my home insurance as I had cancelled my BG Homecare but not sure if it will cover this problem? I'll give them a call tomorrow and see what they say and if there will be an excess. Failing that, I'll find a reputable local heating engineer to have a look. Chemicals/inhibitors were added to the new boiler when it was installed in 2013. I just wanted to check if it was damaging the boiler. I might have to think about reinstating my BG homecare again IF I need all the radiators replaced, I just can't be bothered with them banging on about a powerflush as there is no way I would pay them to do one if it really needs done as they just rip you off.

    Obviously we are also heading towards some really scary times at the moment so it may be difficult to get anyone out at all.
    Would it make any difference if I turned the affected radiator OFF at the thermostatic valve or would it still leak?

    Again, many thanks.
  • edited 23 March at 8:18AM
    HasbeenHasbeen Forumite
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    edited 23 March at 8:18AM
    haz25a said:
    Thanks for your comments everyone, much appreciated. At the moment it is amount a tablespoon (maybe less) of water a day that's leaking. Like I said, I've topped up the boiler so it's ok pressure wise for now but that's about the extent of my experience when it comes to my heating i.e. bleeding the radiators and topping up pressure in boiler when needed. All the other radiators are totally fine, it's weird that it should be the one that's only three years old that's leaking again! There is quite a lot of "brown gunk" around the bleeding valve. I took out central heating emergency care with my home insurance as I had cancelled my BG Homecare but not sure if it will cover this problem? I'll give them a call tomorrow and see what they say and if there will be an excess. Failing that, I'll find a reputable local heating engineer to have a look. Chemicals/inhibitors were added to the new boiler when it was installed in 2013. I just wanted to check if it was damaging the boiler. I might have to think about reinstating my BG homecare again IF I need all the radiators replaced, I just can't be bothered with them banging on about a powerflush as there is no way I would pay them to do one if it really needs done as they just rip you off.

    Obviously we are also heading towards some really scary times at the moment so it may be difficult to get anyone out at all.
    Would it make any difference if I turned the affected radiator OFF at the thermostatic valve or would it still leak?

    Again, many thanks.
    You can turn it off and it will probably stop leaking as it would expand when hot.

    But as Mister_G posts: It is an extremely simple job to do yourself. Less than 5 minutes and a  few pounds to change valve. Definitely worth trying.

    This IS a money saving site?
    The world is not ruined by the wickedness of the wicked, but by the weakness of the good. Napoleon
  • EctophileEctophile Forumite
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    You would need to turn off the thermostatic valve at one end and the lockshield valve at the other.  The valve at the other end usually doesn't have a handle on, so you need to find something (spanner, pliers or whatever fits) to turn it off.
    If it sticks, force it.
    If it breaks, well it wasn't working right anyway.
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