If you find water at the base of your radiator DO NOT IGNORE IT. You can deal with a leak simply, safely and cheaply if you follow these guidelines:
- Get a bucket and some (old) towels. Without these, things could get messy!
- Find the source of the leak. Dry the entire radiator with a towel. Then using some tissue paper, systematically check every joint and valve to see where the leak is coming from.
- Leaking radiator valve? If the valve at the bottom of your radiator is leaking, the packing around its spindle may have become worn. Closing the valve fully should stop the leak.
- Valve repair. First, you need to drain the system down to below where your leak is. Turn off the supply valve (where the water enters the radiator) and the plastic-capped lockshield valve (remembering to count how many turns it takes). Use towels and a bowl to catch any excess water. Next, undo the union nut between the feeder pipe and radiator. Open the bleed valve which will allow the remaining water to run off into the bowl. Wrap the valve tail with PTFE tape 10-15 times. Retighten the union nut and open the bleed and lockshield valves - remember how many turns it took previously to close the lockshield valve. Once water has returned to the system, check again for leaks and close the bleed valve.
If your leak comes from a hole in the radiator itself, then you will need a new one. Isolating the radiator by closing the supply and lockshield valve will prevent leakage until it can be replaced.
Remember, plumbing faults can be damaging and expensive. If you’re not confident about making a repair yourself, leave it to the professionals.