Keeping radiators under control with accessible thermostatic valves

Keeping radiators under control with accessible thermostatic valves

As the boundaries between Government Housing Standards and the Building Regulations begin to overlap, the location of radiator thermostatic radiator valve (TRV) controls is becoming more important than ever. We look at how this will influence connections and the positioning of TRVs.

The UK has a growing population, with many people having different requirements and housing needs. With statistics indicating approximately 1.4 million people in the UK currently require specially adapted housing, the Lifetime Homes Stardard (LHS) was introduced to ensure such properties could be easily designed and built.

LHS includes 16 design criteria aimed at supporting the changing needs of individuals and families at different stages of life. Specifiers and installers should pay attention to Criterion 16 when it conres to radiators; this stipulates - in accordance with Document M, 2004 (Part M) - that switches, socket outlets and other equipment in habitable rooms are installed at appropriate heights between 450mm and 1,200mm from finished floor level.

It also states that thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) should be located at least 300mm from any internal room corner and be easily accessible by household  members with limited reach and/or restricted movement. This eliminates any need for bending down in order to adjust the settings, and ensures controls remain easily within the reach of wheelchair users and the elderly.

Easily accessible controls

Bearing this in mind, specifiers and installers should be looking towards radiators with flexible controls, which enable them to be easily accessed by end users, no matter how old or able-bodied they are. Common sense dictates that this should be the case anyway, but it is now recommended as part of the proposed adoption of access standards as part of the Building Regulations for the first time.

It is alrady well-known throughout the industry that the actual use of TRVs brings many benefits to end users. Indeed, research conducted in 2013 by The Association of Controls Manufacturers revealed that homeowners could save up to 40% on their heating bills simply by installing a room thermostat and TRVs. However, having the valves installed is only going to be of benefit if occupants are able to reach and adjust them accordingly.

This is why, in accordance with such standards as LHS, radiator manufacturers should be looking towards bucking the trend of simply having the TRVs at the bottom of their products. Embracing a more felxible approach to the positioning of controls - i.e. enabling them to be located at either the top or the bottom of a radiator, will allow end users to adjust temperature settings, regardless of any physical impairments they may have. This should also appeal to private and social landlords, as they will be able to alter the location of controls in accordance with tenants' requirements.

Centrally postioned connections

A further method of assisting installers and developers in meeting LHS is the introduction of centrally positioned connections on radiators which, in turn, offer easy installation and flexibility in terms of TRV location.

These connections also allow for pipework installation and finishing at first fix, long before radiator size actually needs to be determined. Central connectionsalso enable the radiators to be mounted quickly and easily at second fix, while their location is not dependent on the length of the emitter; this means pipes can be laid (centrally in front of a window, for example) without the need for preplanning the size or style of a radiator from the range. This added flexibility ensures the radiators can be used in new builds and retrofit projects, while allowing for any investment in building materials to be spread between first and second fix.

No modifications required

If all radiators utilise these central connections, should the heating requirements of a home alter at all (either through changes to occupancy or within the heating system itself - such as the introduction of renewable, for example), the emitters can be changed without the need for modifications to any existing walls or pipework. This allows for different sizes and styles to be fitted at a later date, with minimal disruption to a property.

The right heating controls will enable end users to keep their homes at a comfortable temperature without wasting fuel or heat. By utilising radiators where these TRVs can be positioned at an accessible height for all, as outlined in the LHS, occupants will be able to heat their homes to their exact requirements - ensuring maximum levels of comfort and control.

Thermostatic radiator valves at Trade Radiators

A thermostatic valve means you can adjust the temperature of your radiator with just a simple turn of the dial. The easy to read numbers will accurately keep track of how much heat your radiator is putting out.

Many people are making the switch from traditional manual valves to something which can afford the user a bit more versatility and control when heating any space. Take a look at the current range of thermostatic valves currently in stock at Trade Radiators, with some fantastic products from brands such as West and Trade Direct.

Keeping your home toasty and warm yet energy-efficient just got a whole lot easier thanks to the huge array of thermostatic radiator valves available from Trade Radiators.

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