Last week, while browsing a mail shot, I saw something that I thought we ought to try out. An automatic radiator bleeder, for your central heating system. It’s a valve that goes on your radiator to automatically remove any air trapped inside. It only seems to effect one of our radiators, but it’s the bathroom radiator and there’s nothing worse than going up for a shower and finding the bathroom is freezing cold because of air in the radiator. Then you have to try to remember where you left the little ‘key’, which usually means only Mo knows where it is and she’s out, so you have to suffer the freezing cold bathroom, or wait until she gets home. It’s a real pain in the winter.
They suggest you have two valves. One in a radiator nearest the boiler and one upstairs. We ordered them and they arrived yesterday. They sent us full instructions for installing them ourselves.
All you need is an adjustable wrench and an old towel to mop up any water leakage. A five minute DIY job, it said.
DIY Mo style.
The first valve is going on the radiator in the kitchen. I’m in the kitchen, making a sandwich when Mo decides to do it. She always picks a weird time to do things.
“Make sure you do it right” I say.
“I know what I’m doing. I’ve already isolated the radiator…….. Quick! Get me an old towel” I rush across the room, sandwich half made and grab an old towel out of the cupboard, which Mo throws on the floor to soak up the pool of water. I continue making my sandwich. “I can’t get it in!” Mo says. “It won’t fit!” I go over to see what’s wrong, still not having made my sandwich. “See if you can do it!” Mo says, angrily, thrusting the valve into my hand.
“It should fit, I bought the correct one for new radiators and they’re standard”, I say, trying to push this thing home. It was not going to fit. Mo goes out to get the dreaded hammer. This is where Mo usually loses her temper and ends up damaging the thing she is trying to improve. “Be careful! Don’t damage it”.
“Where’s my big hammer?” Mo calls from the garage. I panic.
“Don’t use the big hammer! You’ll damage the radiator”. Mo gets the small one, much to my relief. “This black rubbery bit is loose and if you press it, you can feel the thread underneath it”, I say. “Maybe it’s some fancy type of washer”. Mo takes it and starts to hammer it in, while I sweat at the prospects of having to replace the complete radiator if Mo damages it. I attempt to finish my sandwich, before the bread gets stale.
Whack…whack…whack… “That’s it! I’ve split it now!”
I drop the knife and go over to see what damage has been done. Mo thrusts it in my hands in disgust. “Look!” I take it and, sure enough, the black rubber part is split. On closer inspection, I see something inside the rubber, so I pull on the split, to discover a little tool inside, for tightening the washer once it’s installed. Realisation hits me and I pull off the protective rubber casing to expose the actual valve.
I finish making my sandwich and Mo screws on the now perfectly fitting valve.
Only in our house.