Had to do it

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A couple of months ago I bought several new radiator valves to replace those which have become worn or stiff or have simply stopped working properly. Changing the valves is relatively simple and straightforward. Is anything ever straightforward? For the most part though it should be a simple job. It all started with the radiator in my bedroom which had two faulty valves on it, the control valve and the lockshield valve. In real terms they are exactly the same. One, once set through balancing the whole radiator system, remains in a fixed position usually facilitated by removing the control knob and replacing it with a cap which cannot be turned and the other  can either be left as a manually controlled unit or be fitted with a thermostatic control. As long as the correct tools are available then the hardest part of the job is in draining down the system and then refilling it and bleeding out the trapped air and that isn’t difficult at all. On Wednesday evening I noticed that the lockshield valve on the radiator in my bedroom was leaking water but I knew that already as I had wrapped the valve with a cloth to absorb it until I could get around to changing the valve. The leak had become too heavy so the replacement was now a matter of urgency but it was late at night and I was about to get into bed. I wrapped more cloth around the valve and closed it off. The following morning I arose early, that is six o’clock, and after breakfast I began the process of replacing the valves on my radiator. Up to the loft to valve off the header (expansion) tank water supply then down into the cellar to affix a hose pipe on the boiler drain point. I then switched off the electrical supply for I didn’t want the system starting up for the day whilst I was working on it. I opened the drain cock on the boiler then went upstairs to the radiator in my room to open the bleed screw and wait for the water to cease flowing before returning to the cellar to close the drain cock and stop the system from draining down completely. There was no need to drain off the lower floor once the radiator in my bedroom was drained. It took about twenty minutes to replace the two valves then I returned to the loft to open the water supply to the header tank. Slowly opening the bleed valve on the radiator I waited for the air to escape. Finally everything was done so I switched on the electrical supply at the boiler and raised the room thermostat setting to force the heating system to come on so that I could check the radiator was operating correctly. That was it, end of the work so I put away my plumbing tools. Now I could have replaced more valves and done some other planned work whilst the system was down but I didn’t want to tie myself down in case I received any electrical work as it was Thursday, part of my normal working week. If and when I tackle the remaining plumbing work I will probably take a few days off to do it. At the moment I have no plans to do that, or anything major at home.

Shirley Anne

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