Tools You’ll Need
Bleeding a radiator without the use of a key is something that can actually be carried out in a lot of cases. While using a key is obviously encouraged, it is not something that you will be hopeless without. Whenever you are in a pinch there are a few other skills that you can still use to get the job done.
1 – TURN OFF HEATING SWITCH
First ensure that the heat has been turned off. You will need to have your radiator as cool as possible for this work so you can avoid injuring yourself. It is vital that you use special caution with the liquid that is inside of the radiator. Just because the radiator is cooled off does not necessarily mean that the water itself is. Be prepared to work with scalding hot water.
2 – USE A SCREWDRIVER
You may be able to use a slotted screwdriver to get the work done. You will first need to check to confirm if your radiator has a slotted bleed screw. If this is the matter, then your screwdriver should work as a perfect substitute for the key. Insert the head of the screwdriver into the slot and turn counter clockwise to bleed the radiator correctly.
3 – USE ALLEN KEY
If the screw is not slotted in then an Allen key, or hex key, should be able to do the magic. You will simply repeat the same steps as you did with the slotted screwdriver. It will work the same way.
4 – LAST OPTION
If your bleed screw seems to be too badly damaged for either of these substitute tools to work, then you may have to move on to more extreme measures. As a last resort, you can loosen up the radiator bleed key assembly instead. It is not something that you handle do without first trying other methods, as it can be very dangerous and harmful to your radiator if not done properly.
5 – WHAT NOT TO USE
A lot of people would feel that a pair of pliers will do the trick, but typically, what pliers do is cause damage to your screw. Pliers often cannot get a firm enough grasp on the screws to spin them, but they can get enough hold to completely shred the screw instead. This could be what has caused the damage to the screws that are past the point of using Allen keys and screwdrivers. You will want to keep your screws maintained and in good condition for the next time that you need to bleed out your radiator without a key, so avoid using pliers at all