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How quickly should radiators heat up?

When the summer ends and the temperatures start to fall, the radiators at home become a big part of keeping the house cosy. Are you finding that maybe the house seems like it’s taking too long to heat up? Different boiler systems do things differently and it may be that your boiler and radiators are operating as they should, but perhaps they are too slow and with a bit of attention could be much quicker.

This help article should give you a good yardstick to judge your own radiator heating speed and understand a bit more about heating systems.

It’s important to note that heating systems come in all kinds of unusual configurations and I can only give you a general idea in this article. If your heating system isn’t performing as per my examples, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a problem.

How quick should radiators at home heat up?

This depends largely on whether your heating system is pressure fed or gravity fed. Gravity fed systems are more ‘old school’, those are the ones where you have tanks in the loft to provide pressure. Pressure fed systems have been more common in modern times, if you have a combi boiler, you have a pressure fed system.

Gravity fed systems

Typically 40mins to heat up
These systems operate on a low pressure, you need to expect a fair time for radiators to heat up. You should expect upstairs radiators to heat up faster but if your downstairs radiators never reach a good temperature or do so unevenly, you problems have some gremlins in your system.

Pressurised systems – (combi boilers & system boilers)

Warm within 10-15mins
These systems force water through your radiators at a much higher pressure than gravity fed systems. As such heat should reach all corners of the system pretty quickly. You may find some radiators heat up a bit faster than others but the difference should be pretty small. If your combi boiler is taking longer than 15minutes to get heat to all radiators or it’s heating parts of the house unevenly, you may have an issue.

If my heating takes too long, what could be the reason?

These are just some of the reasons, your heating may be warming up too slowly.

  • Boiler issues, any issue that means your boiler isn’t doing the job properly
  • Your pipe system can’t cope with the radiator requirements properly, see our article on pipe sizing
  • Your radiators are inhibited by residue inside the system
  • Your radiators are poorly balanced

If I suspect I’ve got a problem with radiator heating, what should I do?

Diagnosing a heating system properly takes a qualified gas plumber. It’s not that a well informed customer isn’t often right, it’s just that being reliably right and understanding all of the issues really takes someone trained in heating systems. So if you think you’ve got radiator issues, you need an experienced gas plumber to take a look at it.

Sometimes performance can be improved greatly with proper radiator balancing, some small repairs to a boiler or with flushing of the system. Where you can ease a problem before it becomes serious, it’s always a good idea to prevent big problems later and get your home heating up faster.

If you need some help and are in the Tamworth area, why not give me a call or drop me an email about the issue, check out my contact page.

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