“Turning Up The Heat”

Yesterday morning I kept hearing an intermittent knocking sound which sounded like a woodpecker. Since the noise was coming from the basement, not an adjacent tree, Charlie went downstairs to find the source. The furnace was making the noise, and some tiny spot in my brain said “I bet it’s air.” The heating man came later that morning and confirmed that it was air.

How did I know this? I remembered some vestige of knowledge from my childhood about radiators. Sadly, I had forgotten the other bit from then that heard my mother saying she had to “bleed the radiators.” We have lived in this house for twenty years and, although we have a 1929 heating system which uses radiators, we have never “bled” them. The upstairs has always been chilly with very little heat coming from the radiators there, but we had never given it a second thought.

The worker began to “bleed” the radiators using the little key pictured above. Apparently there was so much air in the upstairs radiators that the technician had to go into the basement three different times to deal with an override setting when too much water was accumulating. He said he expected the upstairs would be much warmer and that we might need to partially close the radiators.

No kidding! I am now in my office which is even warmer than the dining room “office” gets with the door shut enclosing the thermostat. The bathroom is toasty. Our bedroom was so hot last night I threw off the covers. So adjust them we will. And let’s hope we don’t go another twenty years without thinking of”bleeding” the radiators!

26 thoughts on ““Turning Up The Heat”

  1. The incredible part of your story is that your heating system is from 1929 and still functioning well. My parents were the type who never threw anything away. They were married over 50 years and had the same toaster the whole time. I once looked up the company, and they were no longer in business. Is that what happens when you build something too well?


  2. Aha, a little but lost word sentence and you’ve back in business.
    I wish some if our more modern household gadgets had that “easy fix”. I had hoped my nice fridge/freezer had been able to be fixed a short time ago. But apparently not, the guy showing me the “problem” …. so in the midst of that lockdown I was purchasing a appliance unseen! Which does work but the inside fittings are plain weird…


  3. I bought a radiator key as soon as we moved into the house. Then the next month, we had the 25-year old system completely replaced with something more efficient. Even so, air still accumulates in certain parts of the system.
    A 1929 heating system that is still working must be something of a world record, Elizabeth! 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.


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