We all know that radiators are crucial to our central heating system, as they keep our homes warm during the cold months.
However, when hotter months arrive, you must turn off your radiators. Apart from the hotter months arriving, there could be numerous other reasons to turn off your radiator, i.e.,
- Your radiator is leaking.
- You don’t need heating in some rooms of your home.
- You are going on holiday out of the city.
- To reduce your energy bills
Due to the above reasons, you must know how to turn off your radiator. Turning off your radiator is not that simple, but it is also not that complex. In this article, I will explain the necessary steps for turning off your radiator safely.
First Things First: Understand the Valves of Your Radiators
First, you must understand the valves on your radiator to turn them off. Generally, there are only two valves on your radiator: the manual and lock shield valves.
The purpose of the manual valve is to control the flow of hot water into your radiator. You will need to adjust it manually to maintain a constant heat level.
On the other hand, the lock shield valve regulates the heat your radiators release to keep your system in balance. Remember, do not adjust your lock shield valve when turning off your radiator; use it only when you want to balance the system or remove the radiator.
Related Article: How to balance your radiators
Apart from these two valves, there is another valve that you will need to attach externally, known as the Thermostatic Radiator Valve (TRV). TRV is an attachment that you put on your radiators to control the temperature in your rooms. It consists of two components: the TRV head and the body.
A TRV is a self-regulating device set to a particular temperature. As soon as it reaches the desired temperature, the TRV device will contract and pull out the pin, restricting the flow of more hot water into your radiator. With the help of a TRV, you can create different heating zones around your home.
Know the Location of Your Valves
After you understand your radiator’s valves, knowing where each valve is located is important. Knowing the location of a thermostatic and a manual valve is easy, as they will have some turning mechanisms on them.
You can also identify them by touching the pipes of your radiators; the pipes near the manual and thermostatic valves are the hottest.
To locate the lock shield valve, look for a plastic cap; they are smaller than thermostatic and manual valves.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Turning off Your Radiator With a Manual Valve
Locate the manual valve by following the above guidance to turn off the radiator with manual valves. Generally, you will find it in the radiator’s bottom left or right corner.
To turn it off, turn the manual valve clockwise until it reaches the lowest setting.
Make sure you don’t turn it off completely, and after reaching the lowest setting, turn the valve anti-clockwise just a little bit.
What is the Reason For Turning the Valve Anti-clockwise?
The reason is that completely turning it off can cause the water inside your radiator and the return pipes to freeze.
Due to this, the pipes and different parts of the radiator can get ruptured. Because of this, it is important to leave it open with a little heat so the pipes don’t freeze.
How to Turn Off a Radiator With a Thermostatic Radiator Valve
Locate the thermostatic radiator valve on your radiator’s bottom left or right corner. You can easily differentiate it as it will have a head consisting of a numbered dial, which helps you adjust the heating temperature around your home.
Turn the settings on the thermostat to 0 to turn it completely off.
After turning it completely off, check whether some hot water is passing through the radiator or not to check whether the frost prevention mode is working.
How to Turn Off a Radiator With a Broken Thermostatic Radiator Valve
Turning off a radiator with a broken thermostatic valve can be a little tricky. If your thermostatic radiator valve is stuck, you won’t be able to turn the TRV off. This will result in your home getting overly hot. The long-term solution is to replace the thermostatic radiator valve, but in the meantime, to solve the problem, perform the following steps:
Locate the lock shield valve on the opposite side of the TRV.
Remove the white cap and turn it clockwise with the help of a flat-head screwdriver or a spanner until it does not turn anymore.
Make sure you note down how many turns it took to close it down so that you can open the valve again and not disrupt the balance of your heating system.
Should I also turn the TRV on a little bit?
Like the manual valve, you don’t need to turn it much. Unlike a manual valve, the TRV has a frost prevention feature that allows small amounts of hot water to pass through even when the radiator is completely off.
Does Turning Off a Radiator Save You Money?
Turning off radiators in rarely used rooms can save money and energy. Though many assume leaving radiators on constantly is more energy-efficient, that may only sometimes be the case; when temperatures have reached their desired rating, leaving them on can produce unnecessary heat output, which wastes energy and money.
Turning them off in less frequently used or unoccupied rooms can minimise energy waste. However, if the central heating system operates using individual valves for each radiator, these must be adjusted appropriately to avoid potential issues like frozen pipes during the winter. Therefore, adjusting your heating system is vital when deciding whether to turn off radiators regularly or not.
Alternate ways to lower the heat output of radiators
An alternate way to lower the heat output of radiators if you don’t want to turn them off completely is to adjust the thermostatic radiator valve on your radiator.
Turn it down to a lower setting to reduce the heating temperature around your home. If you don’t have a thermostatic valve, try covering your radiators. It will restrict the heating flow and add a decorative touch to your radiators.
If you don’t have a radiator cover, you can also lower the water flow from your boiler into your radiator.
Related article: Do radiator covers block heat?
After reading this, you will now be able to turn off your radiator safely and effectively. Regardless of the valves you have installed, whether they are thermostatic or manual, you can turn them off, but don’t forget to follow our instructions.
Also, you might have clarified your concept regarding the energy associated with turning off your radiators, as turning them off does not necessarily save you money. And it is more practical to turn off your radiator if you are leaving your home for holidays or planning to redecorate it.
If you are turning off your radiator to save money and energy, then it won’t help that much. What will help is getting a new energy-efficient boiler, because the rising cost of your energy bills is not because of your radiators but because of your boiler’s inefficiency.