There are several ways to clean a radiator, but not all are safe or effective. The type of radiator you have determines which cleaning method to use.
Some types of aluminium radiator do not need to be cleaned. These are a popular choice amongst homeowners for many reasons.
Steps to clean your radiator
Caustic soda bath (only for copper-brass radiators)
The first step prepares the radiator for the cleaning process by dissolving colours and oils. This is not something you should try at home, and it should never be used on aluminium.
As mentioned previously, there are some aluminium radiators that do not need regular cleaning. If you are thinking aluminium might be a good option, you can find out more from a specialist such as http://apolloradiators.co.uk/Category/3/header/3/radiator-ranges.
Pressure wash and flush
Pressure washing the exterior and flushing the interior of your radiator aids in maintaining it but doesn’t remove sludge or corrosion. A pressure test is performed to check the radiator is suitable for the rest of the cleaning process.
Remove tanks and clean tube joints and headers
Solder-bloom occurs in copper-brass radiators and causes a build-up of corrosion around the tubes joined to the header. Clogs affect the radiator’s ability to cool; in addition, they can damage your radiator by increasing pressure. Scrubbing the headers removes corrosion and is done with a wire brush.
Re-solder tube to header joints
If you have no experience in soldering, it is best to leave this to the professionals. If you do it yourself, make sure you use the right amount of solder.
‘Rod’ the tubes
This involves inserting a metal rod down each radiator tube to remove corrosion. This works most of the time; however, if the corrosion is extensive, your radiator might need replacing.
Sandblast the tanks
Radiators are sandblasted inside and outside before the dents are repaired. The radiators are then checked to see whether they need to be replaced.
Pressure test and wash
The radiator needs to be tested to ensure there are no leaks after components have been reattached. It is then washed to remove any debris.
Paint the radiator
The final step is to paint the radiator to keep it looking new for years. This is not necessary for aluminium models.