What Is a Bleed Screw?

When operating a hydraulic or pressurized system that is enclosed, it can often be useful to have a method in place for relieving substances for the means of reducing pressure and density differences. This is often achieved through the use of a component known as a bleed screw, that of which is a screw that may be turned to create an outlet within a given system. When the screw is turned to make an opening, it is known as “bleeding” the system as pressurized substances escape. As a component that is found in various industries and applications for system pressure control, understanding the functionalities of bleed screws and their use can be very beneficial.

To make identifying the bleed screw easy, such components will often feature a more specialized head that differentiates itself from surrounding parts. Additionally, the screw may either be manually actuated or turned with the use of a key or tool. This is so that accidental releases are avoided, ensuring that pressure is only reduced when needed. For an insulator radiator, as an example, a key is typically required for loosening the bleed screw.

Whether the system is a hydraulic assembly or a radiator, there is always the chance that contaminants such as dirt and water enter the system due to imperfect seals. As this can reduce the performance of a particular system or even threaten its health, the bleed screw is important as it can allow for contaminants to be expelled through pressure release. Braking systems often face this issue, collecting water and air over time within the braking fluids. Through brake bleeding, these contaminants may be removed for the health of the assembly.

When using the bleed screw to expel pressure and substances, it is important to note that the high pressure release can cause contents to squirt out. As such, utilizing a container or another object to capture spewed substances is important for controlling messes and minimizing contact with harmful contents. Once a set pressure is met, the actuating screw can then be tightened again to close the system.

When loosening and tightening the bleed screw, one should always take advantage of the right tools and torque so that the screw head is not stripped and damaged. If the screw becomes overly damaged and requires replacement, one should procure a replacement that is of the correct size. The seal should also match the system in question to prevent unwanted escape of substances and for mitigating contamination. There are a number of manufacturers that produce bleed screws, or one may reach out to the original manufacturer if possible. In the case that there is no replacement for a particular screw for whatever reason, one may also have a technician seal up the old hole so that a new hole may be tapped for the installation of a replacement screw.


February 17, 2023

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