Costs to Get a Radiator Leak Fixed
If you spot a pool of water underneath one of your radiators then it is probably leaking. This is a problem, but not a major one – as long as you get it fixed as soon as possible.
Leave the leaking radiator without attempting to stop any water coming from it and you will find that not only will the pool of water grow, it may also damage the floor boards, carpet or vinyl you have underneath it. It may also cause mould if left unresolved.
For the cost of fixing a radiator, there’s no quick, easy answer. If the leaking radiator is upstairs for instance, you could find the water dripping through a ceiling and even into an electrical socket or light fitting (which can prove extremely dangerous).
Small leaks are easiest to fix, it might be that you have been trying to work out how to bleed a radiator and when finished you didn’t tighten the valve enough. It could even be as simple as tightening a nut. But if not, then you need to get on the case quickly to stop the problem from becoming worse.
The first you may know about the leak is when you spot a tiny drop of discoloured water dripping down from the radiator itself. This could, for instance, be down to corrosion resulting in small holes.
But, leave the leak and it may damage your central heating system. That’s because pooled water may end up in the system, causing corrosion and giving you a much bigger financial headache further down the line.
In addition to a pool of water underneath the leaking radiator, another sign that your radiator is faulty is if your boiler starts losing pressure. A hissing or knocking sound when you have the heating on is another indicator of a leaky radiator.
Why your radiator is leaking is the first issue to have to resolve. This could be for various reasons and we attempt to list them in this article, together with advice on how to detect a leak and the costs you can expect to pay for different radiator repairs.
Radiator Repair Costs
You can expect to pay an average cost of £270 to have a leaking radiator fixed. This ranges from £99 for a small leak and up to £476 for a serious leak and an out-of-hours emergency call.
The overall cost of the repair will, of course, depend on whether you will need new materials to fix it, and even what type of radiator you have in the first place.
Regardless of whether your central heating system is run by hot water, electricity or steam, it will always need regular maintenance. Most radiators will also, at some point or another, require repairing.
A hot water radiator is usually made of steel, aluminium, stainless steel or iron. The radiator receives hot water from the boiler when it’s switched on. Once the radiator fills with hot water, the room in which it sits begins to warm up. The colder water is sent back to the boiler for reheating. In this sense, it’s similar to a loop system.
The type of problems to go wrong with a hot water radiator include not just leaks, but also the radiator becoming clogged up and needing to be cleaned, a water pipe becoming loose or even air getting trapped inside the radiator.
The type of average costs you can expect for this type of radiator are anything from £120 to £400.
Also known as storage heating, an electric radiator doesn’t have the same complicated plumbing as a hot water version because it stores heat to be used during off-peak hours.
The heat (hot air) is emitted via convection currents which spread around the room. When the heat rises, the radiator pulls in colder air to heat up via a cooling fan.
The type of issue that can go wrong with your electric radiator is when your thermostat stops working, a heating element dies or there is loose wiring.
To fix an electric radiator you are looking at paying anything from £100 to £340.
The least common radiator type of the three, the steam radiator usually has a couple of steam cooling system pipes attached to the boiler. They work in a similar fashion to hot water radiators, although the temperature is higher and the steam causes pressure.
A steam radiator requires more maintenance than a hot water or electric radiator.
The average costs to repair a steam radiator start at around £140 and end at roughly £475.
When it comes to paying for the cost of a plumber to come out and fix your radiator, you will no doubt find that a large portion of the bill is down to labour costs.
How much he or she charges for their labour depends on how experienced they are, their skill level and where you live. Around £120 per hour isn’t unheard of, but neither is £40 an hour.
A leaking radiator isn’t too costly though, in that it should be fixed within an hour. A minimum charge may be in existence, ie £50. If more work needs to be done, such as the water pump being replaced, then this often adds another £30 on to the bill. So, as you can see it’s difficult to give a definite answer when asked how much does it cost to fix a radiator leak?’
A base fee is similar to a call-out charge. This ranges from £40 to £160. Sometimes this is added to the final bill and other times subtracted from it, depending on the company.
It may be that the problem with your leaking radiator is difficult to detect. In such instances, your tradesperson could end up having to carry out an inspection to help them find the fault. An inspection is usually an additional charge over and above the cost of labour and a base fee. It can range from £80 to £160.
Factors That Affect Radiator Repair Costs
There are a number of factors that can affect how much it costs to fix your leaking radiator. These include:
Age of Your Radiator
It can be difficult to find good working parts for older radiators, which can add to the cost. It may also be that older radiators are more fragile, with parts breaking off easier than they would with a new heater.
The Issue Causing the Leak
The problem with your leaking radiator may be more extensive than you and your plumber or heating engineer first imagine. A rusted radiator probably needs replacing, for instance, and will be far more expensive than simply replacing the valve.
On the whole, though, radiator leaks tend to be caused by a problem with:
- The valve or bleed point (the most common reason)
- The radiator itself
- The pipe carrying the hot water
It could also be that your radiator has been damaged in some way (a bike thumping up against it or it may have been dropped while decorating). Another reason may be the radiators you have had installed aren’t particularly compatible with your boiler.
You’ll also find that another factor affecting the cost of the radiator repair is the type of leaking radiator that you have. Hot water radiators, for instance, are the least expensive to repair.
The Location of the Leak
Where the leak sits on the radiator affects the cost of repair too. If the drip is coming from the valve or some other fitting on the radiator then it is relatively easy to fix this (usually by replacing the valve). If, however, the leak is from a rust hole in the radiator then it will be more expensive to repair.
If the leak is coming from a pipe which is difficult to get to because it’s behind a wall or underground, then this will add in a time factor to the job, making it costlier in terms of labour charges.
Replacement Parts Required
If the system is old then getting parts for it may prove time-consuming and difficult. Due to their scarcity they will probably also be more expensive than newer parts.
Emergency Call Out Costs
If you have to call out a plumber or heating engineer out of hours or on an emergency basis then the bill will be higher. Often you can pay up to £160 for the call out charge alone.
Repair vs. Replacement
If a leaking radiator is in a bad state of disrepair then it can be that it’s not worth repairing it. The better solution may be to replace the radiator. This is especially the case if the radiator is old and breaks down frequently.
A radiator replacement can range from £800 to £3200. This is in terms of materials and for labour. The average cost of a replacement radiator is around £1200. Labour costs to replace a radiator range from £400 to £800.
DIY Vs Professional Repair
DIY repairs for a radiator can work – provided the repair is a small one. It’s possible to fix a small leak or block a pinhole in the radiator body. But this only works for so long. You really need to get in a professional before the issue gets any worse.
Finding a Plumber
If you are looking for a plumber or heating engineer for a radiator repair or radiator replacement, then you’ve come to the right place. Here at The Page we have a list of trusted and checked tradesmen, all personally vetted face-to-face, by ourselves. Their qualifications and reviews are also followed up. Just let us know what you need done and we will send you a curated list of professionals in your area.