How Do You Turn On Radiator Heat?

Radiator key can turn radiator heat on.
Radiator in a home may require a key to turn it on.

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Welcome to the warm world of radiators! As winter’s chill creeps in, the comfort of a cozy, heated home becomes increasingly important. That’s why understanding your radiator and knowing how to operate it can make all the difference. A radiator is a heat-exchanging device that keeps spaces warm during cold months. It does this by distributing thermal energy from hot water or steam through a series of pipes and fins that release warmth into the room.

There are several steps for turning on radiator heat, and by the end of this post, you’ll be well-versed!

Why Radiators are Important

Radiator heat not only makes our homes more comfortable but also promotes a healthier living environment by reducing humidity and dampness, which can lead to mold and mildew.

Tools Needed to Turn on Radiator Heat

Turning on your radiator typically requires no special tools. In most cases, you’ll just need:

Steps to Turn on the Heat

1) Check the Thermostat: Ensure your thermostat is set to heating mode and at the right temperature.

2) Inspect the Radiator Valves: Make sure the valves on either side are fully open; one controls the amount of hot water entering the radiator.

3) Bleed the Radiator (if needed): If there’s trapped air, use your radiator key to release it until water drips out.

4) Power Up the Boiler: Switch on your boiler or central heating system.

5) Wait for the Heat: It may take some time for the radiator to warm up, be patient.

An electric radiator in the home is one type of radiator that provides heat.

Different Types of Home Radiators

  • Steam Radiators: Often found in older homes, these use steam to heat the room as it condenses back into water.
  • Hot Water Radiators: These circulate hot water, usually more efficient than steam variants.
  • Electric Radiators: An alternative to those connected to a boiler, these use electricity to generate heat.

What do you do if the radiator is still not heating up even after following the steps mentioned?

  • Check Other Radiators: To see if the issue is isolated or system-wide.
  • Bleed the Radiator: Trapped air can prevent water from circulating.
  • Examine the Boiler Pressure: It may need repressurizing.
Need to check the thermostat to turn on the radiator heat in a home.

Other Preventative Maintenance Recommendations

Now that you know about how to turn on a radiator, let’s look at other maintenance you may need in the winter.

One of those is keeping the pipes from freezing in the crawl space. One of the last things any homeowner wants in the middle of winter is for the pipes to freeze. To make sure this doesn’t happen, it is important to insulate the pipes, clean the crawl space, and make sure it is sealed.

Another is snow sliding off a metal roof. If you have a metal roof, snow does not stay in place well on this material. This requires putting in a snow guard to keep it from sliding. Another alternative is a snow fence that will help keep it in place as well.

Lastly, in winter, there is a lot of mud from slush and there is snow that comes into the home. It is important to make sure you can keep your carpet smelling good. You will need to vacuum regularly and also clean up spills as fast as they occur, do a deep cleaning, or use baking soda.

When to Call a Professional

In many cases, turning on your radiator is a straightforward DIY task. However, regular maintenance and any complex issues should be handled by a professional. Reach out to an expert if you encounter:

  • Persistent strange noises
  • Leaks or persistent dripping
  • No heat even after troubleshooting


Understanding how to turn on and maintain your radiator is essential for a cozy living space during cold seasons. While basic operations can often be done on your own, don’t hesitate to call in professionals for significant problems or maintenance check-ups. It’s a good idea to know how the radiator works before the winter weather sets in. It is a lot easier to find someone to work on it before the cold weather hits than when winter is already underway. Reach out to Fox Mountain Property Inspections for a full home inspection in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

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