Heat-Timer® Corporation
Cleaning Steam Radiator Air Vents

Cleaning Steam Radiator Air Vents

Radiator Air Vent Malfunction Symptoms

If the steam radiator is not getting as hot as it used to or the air vent is spitting water or leaking steam all the time, you may have an air vent problem.

Radiator Air Vent

These air vents allow the air to escape when the radiator is filling with steam. When the air vent is heated by the steam, it will close and stop the steam from escaping the radiator. However, if the air is not released, the steam will not fill the radiator. Over long working hours and years, these air vents clog with rust from the radiator and other heating system components. In many cases, it may be a matter of cleaning the air vent to bring the radiator back to its working condition. Cleaning the air vent is a very simple process that can be done by any homeowner.

Steam Radiator Air Vent Cleaning

First uninstall the air vent using an open wrench, Soak the air vent in hot vinegar for 30 minutes. The vinegar should dissolve the rust and free any moving parts. Rinse the air vent with cold water for one minute. Then test it by blowing through it. If the air did not move freely through the vent, repeat the vinegar soaking step and then retest. If the air was moving freely, just install the air vent back into the radiator side. This time wrap Teflon tape on the air vent thread before installing it on the radiator. Make sure that the air vent opening is facing upward. Start your heating system and observe the air vent behavior. After the air vent releases all the air, it must close. If this is not the case and the air vent was blowing steam, then it is time to replace the air vent.