Types of radiator valves: A
Radiator valves are essential components of a central heating system because they allow you to control and optimise the heat output in different rooms by regulating the flow of hot water into the radiators within your property. The results? Increased comfort, energy efficiency, and cost savings. Utilising radiator valves effectively can lead to a more balanced, comfortable, and environmentally responsible heating system in your home.
However, there are different types of radiator valves to choose from and your choice will be influenced by factors such as the compatibility of your heating system, room usage, zoning requirements, preferences, energy efficiency goals, and budget. We delve further into the importance of radiator valves within a central heating set up, followed by a detailed look into the types of radiator valves on the market.
Why are radiator valves important?
Radiator valves are important for:
Radiator valves allow you to control the temperature in individual rooms or areas of your home. By adjusting the valve, you can increase or decrease the flow of hot water into the radiator, which directly affects the amount of heat radiated into the room. This level of control ensures that you can maintain a comfortable temperature in each space, optimising comfort and energy efficiency.
Different rooms in a home have varying heating requirements based on factors like room size, insulation, and occupancy. Radiator valves enable you to create heating zones by adjusting the heat output in each room. This prevents over-heating in rooms that require less warmth and ensures that rooms with higher heat demands are adequately heated.
Radiator valves contribute to energy efficiency by allowing you to tailor your heating to specific needs. For example, if a room is unoccupied or receives ample sunlight, you can reduce the heat output by partially closing the valve. This conserves energy and lowers utility bills.
Comfort and customisation
Being able to fine-tune the temperature in different rooms enhances your overall comfort in your living space. Each occupant can adjust the heat according to their preference, creating a more pleasant environment.
Radiator valves, especially thermostatic ones, help prevent overheating in rooms. When the desired temperature is reached, the valve will begin to close, reducing the flow of hot water. This prevents the room from becoming excessively hot and maintains a consistent and comfortable temperature.
Balancing the system
In multi-radiator heating systems, radiator valves assist in balancing the distribution of hot water. By adjusting the valves in different radiators, you can ensure that heat is evenly distributed throughout your home. This prevents situations where one room is much hotter than another.
Advanced radiator valves, such as programmable and smart valves, offer automation features that enable you to schedule heating periods. This ensures that rooms are comfortably heated when needed, reducing energy waste.
Can a manual radiator valve be
replaced with a TRV?
As professional heating and plumbing engineers, homeowners often ask us whether it is possible to upgrade manual radiator valves to thermostatic ones to provide more control over the temperature of the radiators. The simple answer is yes, we can upgrade manual valves to TRVs. Plus, by replacing your manual valves with thermostatic valves, you could even help your energy bills decrease. In fact, according to TheGreenAge.com having thermostatic valves installed in every room could save you up to 40% on your energy consumption.
We always recommend enlisting the help of a professional heating engineer to change a radiator valve. It can be a long and tricky job which is better suited to a trained professional who knows their way around a heating system.
Lockshield valves are used in conjunction with manual or thermostatic valves and are all about achieving balance across your heating system. They are usually located on the opposite side of the radiator from the control valve and are designed to be adjusted with a special wrench. Lockshield valves are used to balance the flow of hot water between radiators in a multi-radiator system, ensuring that each radiator receives an equal amount of heat.
Lockshield valves are small, and easy to overlook but, they are one of the most important features of your heating system and EVERY radiator needs one! Without this valve (which you can see in the image below), the radiators in any room furthest away from the boiler (such as a bedroom) will never get warm.
Smart radiator valves
Smart valves are one of the newest developments in home heating technology and offer complete and flexible control over your heating. You can set them to come on and off when you want, as well as using them to adjust the rad temperatures as and when too.
Smart valves combine the features of programmable TRVs with remote control capabilities. They often integrate with smart home systems and can be controlled by voice commands or automated routines. For example, you might have a smart valve routine that detects when you’re coming home and then carries out a range of actions. This could include opening smart radiator valves as required. Some models also offer energy usage insights and optimisation features.
Straight or angled radiator valves
When thinking about radiator valves, shape matters. While the primary purpose of radiator valves is to control the flow of hot water into radiators, the valve shape can influence factors such as installation, ease of use, compatibility, and overall visual appeal. For each type of radiator valve there are different valve shapes that enable the radiator to be connected to the pipes:
The most influential factor of valve shape will be where your central heating pipes are coming from. For example, when you look the pipes connecting to your radiator, do they come up from the floor or out from the wall? For pipework that comes from the floor (and the radiator has inlets at the bottom), you will probably choose straight valves. For pipework that comes from the wall (and the radiator inlets at the sides), you will likely need angled valves. However, this will be different for every home and scenario.
The engineers at Happy Dog Plumbing have a wealth of knowledge with all aspects of heating. So, if you are thinking of upgrading to TRVs in the coming months in order to help minimise energy costs, or you have another heating problem that needs a professional touch, you know who to call.