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Why aren’t my radiators heating up?

Warming Feet Against Radiator

As the nights draw in and the temperature turns for the worse, having a heating system that works is a huge priority for most homes. So, the last thing you want to discover is one radiator that won’t heat up, or worse, none of them generate heat.

But if you do think that your radiators aren't working properly, what should you do?

Thankfully, there are a few simple steps you can take to establish the problem and get your radiators working to their full potential in no time.

Most of the time, radiator issues are caused by simple problems that are easy to resolve. So, take a look at these five simple solutions to get your home toasty once more.

1. Your boiler’s on but there’s no heat to your radiators

The first step you should take when asking why your radiators aren’t heating up is whether it’s an issue isolated to your radiators or a problem with your heating system.

To establish this, you must first ensure your central heating system is working. If none of your radiators are heating up rather than a single one, this could be a sign of a bigger issue. For example, is your system making a funny noise? Is your boiler reading the correct pressure levels?  If any of these are the case, it might be time to call a Gas Safe Registered engineer. 

Boiler Pressure Guage

2. Your radiators are cold at the top

If you find that one or more of your radiators aren’t heating up, it’s most likely that trapped air is causing the issue. 

If you’ve recently turned your heating back on following summer, it’s pretty common to have air trapped in your radiators. A telltale sign of this is if your radiators are warm at the bottom but cool at the top. 

If this is the case, bleeding your radiators is your best bet.

Simply place a bucket or bowl under your radiator, then use your radiator key to unscrew the bleed screw on the side of your radiator. You should hear a hissing noise, which is the air leaving the system. Once the noise has died down and water has begun flowing from your radiators, be ready to close the bleed screw again. 

If you’d like a more in-depth tutorial, check out this handy guide on bleeding radiators

Bleeding A Radiator

3. Your radiators are cold after bleeding

If trapped air in your radiators isn't the problem, or if your radiator isn't getting hot even after bleeding, check your radiator valves. 

To start, ensure both valves on the left and right of your radiators are open, and if you have a thermostatic valve (that's the one that allows you to set the temperature and adjust it automatically), make sure that's open too. 

Thermostatic radiator valves can also seize up, causing your radiators to stop working. If this is the case, contact a Gas Safe Registered engineer or book a repair appointment with Places for People. The engineer will be able to diagnose the problem and replace the valve if necessary. 

Checking Radiator Valves

4. Your radiators are warm at the top and cold at the bottom

If none of the previous efforts have solved the problem, you may need a powerflush service.


Powerflushing involves removing sludge and debris that can become stuck in your central heating system over time, causing your radiators not to work correctly.


A classic sign that you need a powerflush service is if your radiators feel warm at the top but cold near the bottom. Sludge tends to collect in the bottom of your radiators, stopping them from heating up. If you notice this characteristic in your radiators, it might be time for a powerflushing. 


If you suspect that your heating system needs a powerflush, it’s best to contact a Gas Safe Registered engineer. If you happen to be a Places for People Customer, you can request a repair through your online account or call us on 01772 667002 in England and Wales or 0131 657 0600 in Scotland.

Hand Against Radiator To Check Heat

5. When all else fails, call in the professionals

If you’re still none the wiser about what’s causing your radiators not to heat up, it’s best to call a Gas Safe Registered engineer.


Whatever the issue, they’ll be able to diagnose and solve the problem safely. If you happen to be a Places for People Customer, you can book an appointment with one of our engineers through your online account, or by calling us on 01772 667002 in England and Wales or 0131 657 0600 in Scotland.


Remember, if you have doubts about what’s causing your radiators to malfunction, don’t attempt to fix the issue yourself – leave it to the professionals.

Reset Boiler