Preserving and maintaining a cast iron radiator

22 December 2023  |  Admin

Preserving and maintaining a cast iron radiator

The reason we work with such high-quality products and producers is that we want the cast iron radiator of your dreams to last as long as the vintage one you replace. Good workmanship and materials aren't the only factors affecting lifespan - it also requires the owner to maintain and preserve the cast iron radiator. Our team of experts provides a comprehensive review of how to keep your radiator looking ship shape and performing as expected. 

1. Regular Cleaning

At the top of our list is basic cleaning. This is something you can do every week or month depending on how dusty your house is. Removing the dust will make the radiator look good but also prevent it from accumulating and causing issues with paintwork. To clean a cast iron radiator, follow these simple steps:

   - Begin by turning off the heating system and allowing the radiator to cool.
   - Use a soft brush or cloth to gently remove dust and debris from the exterior surfaces. Ensure thorough cleaning of crevices and grooves.

2. Bleeding the Radiator:

All radiators should be bled at some point during the year to ensure they are working optimally. This is especially true ahead of autumn and winter because many rads will have been dormant during the summer months. To bleed a cast iron radiator:
   - Turn off the heating system and allow the radiator to cool completely.
   - Use a radiator key to open the bleed valve slowly. Listen for hissing sounds, indicating trapped air escaping.
   - Close the valve once water starts flowing consistently, ensuring all air pockets are removed.

3. Inspection Routine:

At the same time as bleeding the radiator, you can complete a more thorough inspection of the radiator. Things to look out for include:
   - Conduct visual inspections for leaks, corrosion, or signs of damage. Look for rust, water stains, or damp spots around the radiator.
   - Check valves, joints, and connections for any signs of wear or leakage.

4. Rust Prevention:

Our radiators can be painted which prevents rust for a long period. However, after many years a radiator can show signs of rust. To prevent this apply a rust inhibitor suitable for cast iron radiators according to the manufacturer's instructions. Ensure the surface is clean and dry before application. If you're in any doubt about whether to paint, apply rust inhibitor or any other question, get in touch with our team who will be happy to advise. 

5. DIY Repairs and Upkeep:

If you do find some rust or a small leak, often it is fine to fix this yourself. Have a look online for epoxy putty or specialist radiator sealants and follow the instructions. The main issue can be finding the right paint. We can paint your radiator in almost any colour, so can help you find the right one. To fix a leak:
   - Address small leaks promptly using epoxy putty or specialized radiator sealants. Ensure the area is clean and dry before applying the sealant.
   - Repaint or touch up the radiator's exterior using heat-resistant paints suitable for cast iron to prevent rust and maintain appearance.

6.  Professional Assistance:

Our team at the Period House Store have decades of experience with cast iron radiators, and can lend a hand if you don't know where to turn. If you need a new radiator we can also advise on how to replace the old one with new and how to match styles and colours. Have a look at our range to get started. 

By following these practical steps and integrating them into a regular maintenance routine, homeowners can ensure the longevity, efficiency, and safety of their cast iron radiators for years to come.