How to Clear a Steam Radiator Air Vent

What You'll Need
Vinegar and water
Replacement air vent
Steam Traps

Sometimes your steam radiator air vent can become clogged but it’s not a complicated matter to clear them out or replace them. There are two types of steam radiators:one-pipe systems and two-pipe systems. One-pipe systems have automatic air vents that bleed air as steam fills its system and then close automatically when steam gets to the vent. Two-pipe systems have separate pipes for steam and condensed water. 

Step 1 – Clear the Air Vent 

Halfway down the side of the radiator, you’ll find the air vent. Often these get painted over and the air hole gets plugged. You can clear your air vent out with a small sewing needle or wire. 

Step 2 – Clogged One-Pipe System 

A clogged air vent keeps the radiator from heating up. Sometimes you can clean the air vent on these systems by boiling them in water and vinegar but more often than not, the air vent needs to be replaced. 

Step 2 – Clogged Two-Pipe System 

In two-pipe systems, it is common for the steam traps to become stuck in the open or closed position. It can cause imbalance, with some radiators giving off too much heat and some not giving off enough. The best way to fix this is to replace the steam traps.