We all know that radiators are essential for distributing heat around our homes. The radiators help us keep our home warm and cosy. However, if there are cold spots in your radiators due to a buildup of air or if one radiator is getting hot and others are not, you have to balance or bleed them out.
But before bleeding, you need tools, including a towel, bowl, and bleeding key. Out of these, most people find themselves without a key. That leaves us with the question: can you bleed out your radiators without a key?
So, in this article, I will answer how to bleed radiators without a key, so you can still bleed out your radiator if you don’t have a bleeding key.
Tools you need to bleed the radiator without a key:
- Pair of gloves
- Plastic or a steel bowl
- Flat head screwdriver
How to Bleed a Radiator with a Screwdriver
To begin bleeding out a radiator without a key, turn on the central heating system to check which radiators are getting cold. After discovering this, please turn off the central heating system entirely and let it cool down; then, locate the bleed plug.
Most modern radiators provide an indent that allows you to insert the screwdriver. After locating the slit, carefully insert the flathead screwdriver into the bleed plug and turn it anti-clockwise. If the air is trapped inside, you will hear a hissing sound.
Ensure you have placed a bowl to collect the water that might spill. After the hissing sound ends and the excess water is drained, re-tighten the valve clockwise.
Here you have it: you have successfully bled out your radiators with a screwdriver. However, whether you have a key or not, if you are looking for a detailed guide regarding bleeding a radiator, read our article: How to Bleed a Radiator.
Is it Necessary to use a Flathead Screwdriver as a Bleeding Key Replacement?
If your radiator is, let’s say, 5–10 years old, then it will be considered a modern radiator. In modern radiators, always use flathead screwdrivers and avoid using cross-head screwdrivers or pliers, as they can damage and put scratches on the valves, which will cause difficulty in closing the valves next time when you plan to bleed out the radiators.
On the other hand, if you have an old radiator, particularly a convector radiator, then a flathead screwdriver might not work. But that doesn’t mean you can’t bleed it out without a key; instead, find an Allen key, a small spanner, or a pair of pliers. Still, be careful while bleeding out radiators with these tools, and if you are having difficulty performing the bleeding process, wait until you get a hold of the bleeding key.
Are all Radiators Key the Same Type?
If I talk about types of radiator keys, then about 11 kinds of different keys are available on the market. One of the basic keys many people use is the bleed key, which removes trapped air from your radiators. Then, four-way and three-legged keys are available for loosening and tightening the valves.
To remove the valve tails and plugs, a double-ended key, an Allen key, a radiator spanner, and a universal key are available. You can also find a stepped ratchet key, radiator tail socket, and radiator valve spanner to avoid bending pipework and fitting and removing valve tails.
Do Radiator Keys Come in Different Sizes?
The size of a radiator key highly depends on your radiator type. If you have a modern radiator installed in your home, a standardised size of the key will be available on the market. But if your radiator is old, meaning it was established about 25 years ago, a newer one might not fit.
For older radiators, you must find keys to wind up the clocks. Generally, this kind of key works on a scale of 000 to 16; however, for your older radiators, 8 to 12-size clock keys will assist you in bleeding out your radiator.
I hope that the above-mentioned alternative techniques to bleed out your radiators without a key will solve your problem of disrupted heating flow from your radiator. However, it is suggested not to depend entirely on the screwdriver as it can damage your valve, so find the right bleeding key as soon as possible.
If the above tips do not help and your radiator is still not working correctly and has cold spots, read our blog: My radiator is cold! Or try balancing out your radiators if you need assistance; read another blog covering this topic: how to balance your radiators.
If you have any queries or problems related to your boiler, radiator, or central heating system, feel free to contact us on 0345 3192 247 and one of our representatives will help you.