Radiator Valves and How They Work

Wed 26th Jun 2013 - 10:36am Energy and Heating Radiator Valves and How They Work

Benjamin Clarke

Radiator valves are an integral part of your radiator and heating system. But what are they and what do they do? Here is Trade Radiators’ simple guide:

What they do

Thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) are valves attached to radiators that allow you to control the temperature in individual rooms. Fitting these valves helps you control how warm your house is and can also save you money on heating costs.

TRVs work by measuring the room temperature and regulate the temperature of the radiator accordingly. The valves control the flow of water into a radiator. The more open a valve is, the more water will flow into the radiator and the warmer the room will be. When the temperature of the room reaches the pre-set level, the valve will close so it is not exceeded.

Manual valves have a similar function but there is no thermostatic element, meaning the temperature will always be the same when the radiator is on. Instead, the temperature is controlled by the thermostat on your central heating system.

The Energy Saving Trust recommends the use of thermostatic radiator valves as they are more energy efficient than manual valves, which in turn, will save you money in the long run.

Different types

There are several different types of valve available. These include straight valves, corner valves and angled valves.

Angled valves are the most common type and are so called because the flow of water is angled by 90 degrees within the valve body.

Straight valves are less common and get their name because the flow of water does not change.

Corner valves or double angled valves are similar to angled valves but the head is positioned at a 90 degree angle to both the inlet and outlet. These valves are ideal for use when the pipework comes from the wall behind the radiator.

Styles and colours

Radiator valves are available in a wide range of styles and finishes, to suit the array of different radiators and towel rails you can buy. The range varies from standard white-topped brass valves to stylish chrome valves, ideal for those who have full polished radiators. If you have a traditional or cast iron radiator, an antique-style brass or black nickel valve (shown above) is a perfect match.

One important note: you should have one radiator in your house that is not fitted with a thermostatic valve. This is so water can still flow through even if all the other radiators are turned off, thus preventing damage to your boiler or pump. The bathroom is the most common place to have a radiator with a non-thermostatic valve.

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