How to Bleed a Baseboard Radiator

hands draining radiator into bowl
  • 1-3 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-30
What You'll Need
Work gloves
Radiator key or flat head screwdriver
What You'll Need
Work gloves
Radiator key or flat head screwdriver

If you own a baseboard radiator, it means that you have to take on the responsibility of occasionally bleeding it. This type of radiator is one where hot water runs through the pipes and heats up to produce heat for the room. The radiator must be bled so that rusty water won’t build up in the pipes and damage the system.

Step 1 - Preparation

Put on your work gloves so you won’t hurt your hands, especially if the radiator is hot. Next, find the valve on your baseboard radiator. Turn off your central heating before you begin to bleed the radiator. This ensures that additional air doesn’t keep coming into it and make it more difficult for you to bleed it.

Step 2 - Find the Baseboard Radiator Valve

Look for the valve on the radiator. Usually, the valve is next to the pipes that go into your flooring. Sometimes the valves are behind a little opening at the very end of the radiator. Look carefully and see where the valve is on the model of radiator that you'll be bleeding.

Step 3 - Get your Screwdriver or Radiator Key Ready

Take a look at the valve and see what type of tool will fit into it to bleed it. The most common tools that fit are either a special radiator key or a common everyday flat head screwdriver.

hand opening radiator with key

Step 4 - Draining the Water from the Radiator

Before you start to turn the valve to bleed the radiator, put the bucket under it. If you don’t do this, you will have a big mess of water all over your floor. The bucket should be large enough to hold the water you plan to drain out of the radiator. The valve could pop off easily, so be careful not to turn the screwdriver or key too hard. If you do, you will have a big mess on your hands. Another thing to be careful of is that the water that comes out of your valve will be very hot, so don’t take off your work gloves.

Step 5 - Turning the Valve

Now, turn the baseboard radiator valve slowly and carefully. After the valve has been opened with the key or screwdriver, leave it that way until only air comes out and no water is draining out of it.

Step 6 - Retighten the Radiator Valve

Now that you have bled the radiator, you have to retighten the valve. Double-check to see that only air comes out and no water, then use the screwdriver or key to tighten the valve.

Step 7 - Finish

Repeat the above steps if you have additional radiators to bleed. If you have removed an excessive amount of water, you should check your boiler and see if you need to add more water. Now, you have finished, and your baseboard radiator maintenance is complete.