Rusting radiator

I noticed last night that the living room radiator is rusting through.
The rusty patch is at the top of the radiator, and at the back (which is why it has gone unnoticed, and it is an inch or so long by a half an inch high. It is just the tiniest bit damp to touch - so the actual penetration must be quite small and is just letting through a few drops of liquid.
It is quite an old radiator but I could really do without trying to replace it just at the moment.
Is there anything I can do to "patch it up", just to get me through the winter?
I was thinking about getting some of that "rust eater" stuff you can buy for cars that is supposed to seal the rust, and them slapping on a thick coat of hammerite or the like. Is this stupid or the way to go?
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Freda wrote:

That won't work because the corrosion will most likely be from the inside. I once had a house with this problem in several rads shortly after I moved in one cold Jan. The drips quickly became messy leaks so I replaced the rads which weren't expensive compared to the damage that would have resulted from horrible stuff you get coming out of old rad which stains permanently. If you can't replace it just now at least turn off both valves fully...
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BillR said

I know what you are saying as we the only other old radiator go a few months back - we replaced that.
Like I said, just trying to win a few months - personal stuff means now just isn't a good time to be trying to get a radiator replaced. I can keep an eye on it and obviously if, in the fullness, I have to replace it the so be it - just not now.

Unfortunately that would leave me with a very cold living room.
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wrote:

Probably better than having a very wet one with wrecked carpets....
.andy
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Andy Hall said

LOL - don't you think I don't know that :-
But I doubt catastrophic failure quite yet, and now I know about it I can keep an eye on it - and of course it is at the very top of the radiator.
When the bedroom one failed, in a similar spot, it thankfully wasn't too bad, which is just as well because we didn't realise there was a problem until we noticed the damp carpet.
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Freda wrote:

You also need to address why they are corroding. The ones in the other house I had were less than 10 years old when they failed. I found out there was never any inhibitor in the system. In my current house, which I've had from new for 23 years, never had a problem like that but always keep inhibitor topped up.... The inhibitor seems expensive at 10-20 quid but cheap compared to effect of not using it..
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BillR said

They were/are old - I've lived here 14 years and pre-date my time. They have inhibitor in now, but I obviously have no idea what they went through before then.
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Use an electric convector heater in that room until you replace the rad. In any case, radiators are only a few tens of quid, so it can be replaced as soon as you have an hour or two to spend.
In the meantime, top up the inhibitor. You don't want the other radiators going too.
Christian.
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Christian McArdle said

This is a whopper - 1550 mm long, so unfortunately it is either going to cost a bit more than a few 10s of quid (I've done a bit of research on this already) to replace with like-for-like or I need to drain the system, change the pipework to lose 35mm, and fit "just a few quid" smaller DIY shop one.
If I could just have gone down to B&Q and bought a like-for-like I would have done so already - could have changed it over in the time I've spend typing about on here I suppose.
But life and DIY is never that simple, and if it was, we would need this ng! :-)
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Remember that modern radiators are vastly more efficient than old ones as new ones tend to be finned. To match the heat output, you may need one about 1/2 or 2/3 the size of the old one. I'd do a full heat loss calculation before choosing a radiator. You may gain valuable wall space if you don't oversize too much.
Myson do radiators this size. A 1556 x 690 has between 1.6kW and 3kW, depending on the number of panels and fins. I haven't found a price, but these sizes are, indeed, expensive. Around a hundred quid, I'd imagine.
Christian.
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Freda wrote:

If you want a temporary fix that will last a year or two:
Switch off the valves.
Drain the radiator.
Chip off any rust in the area. This will probably leave a hole.
Clean the rust off from around the hole until the metal is bright.
Make sure the surface of the metal is completely dry!
Apply car body filler, squeezing some inside the hole, and covering the area around the hole about 1/2" (12.7mm).
Allow the filler to set hard.
Re-fill the radiator and bleed.
Remember to replace the radiator in due time!
(I have done this)
If you just leave it as it is, it may give you a sudden flood!
J.B.
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merchant). Messy but quick, and might just work.
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stuart noble said

I'm going to try some milliput - it will either work or it won't - thanks both.
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