With the cost of energy on the rise, gaining greater control over your home heating is more important than ever.
Often, when discussing energy-saving, devices such as smart thermostats and smart meters are highlighted. However, what about thermostatic radiator valves? These handy devices can provide you with even more control over your household heating. But what exactly are thermostatic radiator valves and how do they work?
In this guide, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know about thermostatic radiator valves. We’ll discuss how they work, their benefits and also highlight the advantages of smart thermostatic radiator valves.
What is a Thermostatic Radiator Valve?
A thermostatic radiator valve, also known as a TRV, is an attachment that is connected to individual radiators within the home, acting as an independent heating control. These devices are used to control the air temperature in different rooms, allowing you to create different zones of heating within your household in line with your comfort and efficiency needs. For example, you could reduce or turn off the heating in an unoccupied room to save energy instead of having all of your spaces heated en masse.
By helping you control your radiators’ heat output, TRVs can help you reduce your energy consumption and allow you to make great savings on your energy bills.
TRVs are available in a range of different forms, these include:
- Corner thermostatic radiator valves
- Angled thermostatic radiator valves
- Straight thermostatic radiator valves
- H-Block thermostatic radiator valves
The type of TRV required for your home will depend on the kind of pipework you have installed. For example, angled thermostatic radiator valves would be best suited to a property that has pipes coming out of the walls or below floorboards, as the pipework would need to be connected to the radiators at an angle.
Meanwhile corner thermostatic radiator valves, also recognized as flat front valves, are typically a more decorative choice as they do not protrude from the bottom of radiators as much.
Straight thermostatic radiator valves are suitable in households where the pipework comes straight up from the flooring, whilst H-Black radiator valves are predominantly designed to be used with central or middle connection radiators.
How do thermostatic radiator valves work?
Unlike manual radiator valves, thermostatic radiator valves are self-regulating. In line with the settings you select, the TRV will sense the air temperatures and change the flow of hot water entering your radiator at one time. This thus impacts the heat output.
Thermostatic radiator valves have two main components: the thermostatic radiator valve head and the valve body. The thermostatic radiator valve head is cylindrical in shape and positioned on top of the valve body.
As the temperature in the room changes, the thermostatic radiator valve head expands to adjust a pin that is located in the valve body to make it open or close. As the room heats up, the thermostatic radiator valve head will expand and cause the pin to block the valve in order to slow the flow of hot water, preventing the space from getting too warm. Conversely, if the room gets too cool, the thermostatic radiator valve head will contract in order to permit the flow of hot water into the radiator to allow the space to heat up.
Thermostatic radiator valves are available in either wax or liquid forms. Liquid thermostatic radiator valves are more common due to their many benefits, such as their ability to quickly respond to changes in temperature. Unlike wax, which is typically slow to expand and contract, liquid capsules can adjust at a much speedier rate and thus alter the flow of water in radiators much quicker.
Smart thermostatic radiator valves are an innovative type of technology that has been created to help us maintain our ideal room temperatures more easily and efficiently. These devices are designed to optimize the zonal heating that TRVs enable, by allowing you to monitor, control and programme room temperatures via your smartphone, tablet or computer.
These smart devices will work in unison with your thermostat and allow you to easily manage the temperatures in different rooms in line with your comfort preferences and energy-saving aims. In some cases, you can even pair up your smart thermostatic radiator valves with your smart thermostat in order to create a more intelligent and comprehensive smart heating system.
By making it easier for you to monitor and control your home heating, smart thermostatic radiator valves can help to reduce your energy consumption and allow you to save up to 40% on your energy bills.
Pros and Cons of thermostatic radiator valves
To provide you with a better understanding of thermostatic radiator valves, below we list their main benefits and drawbacks.
Pros of thermostatic radiator valves
- Enable zoned control over individual radiators using one boiler
- Reduced energy wastage through better control over central heating output
- Lower energy consumption to energy cheaper energy bills and more savings
- Available in a range of styles to suit different types of pipework and radiators
- Easy to use and install
- Affordable and highly cost-effective
Cons of thermostatic radiator valves
- They are not typically suitable for bathrooms as the steam and heat from showers can distort the valves’ readings.
- Should not be used in the same room as a wall thermostat as the two devices will end up competing to adjust radiator heat.
- If your TRV becomes faulty or broken, this could cause your heating to remain either on or off constantly.
What do the numbers on a thermostatic radiator valve mean?
It is a common misconception that the numbers displayed on thermostatic radiator valves relate to the radiator’s temperature. These numbers in fact, are used to convey the room’s temperature.
Here’s an estimated guide of the temperatures relating to the numbers displayed on TRVs:
- 0 – Off
- * – 7°C
- 1 – 10°C
- 2 – 15°C (Typically Ideal Setting range)
- 3 – 20°C (Typically Ideal Setting range)
- 4 – 25°C
- 5 – 30°C
How much are thermostatic radiator valves?
A standard thermostatic radiator valve can cost between £10 – £30 in total. Meanwhile, a smart TRV can cost up to £60. You can fit a TRV yourself if you feel competent enough to do so. Alternatively, you can hire a professional to come and conduct the job for you.
Is it worth getting thermostatic radiator valves?
Yes, when used effectively, thermostatic radiator valves are certainly worth getting installed. It is estimated that the efficient use of thermostatic radiator valves can help you save up to 40% on your energy consumption, resulting in significantly lower energy bills. Aside from their economic benefits, thermostatic radiator valves can also help to boost the levels of comfort in your home. They do this by allowing you to set your ideal temperatures on individual radiators, helping to maintain your desired settings and also helping to reduce energy wastage as radiators in unoccupied rooms can be turned off.
Do thermostatic radiator valves work?
Yes, when installed properly and used efficiently, thermostatic radiator valves will work to control the heating output of individual radiators. This allows users to gain more control over their heating by creating zones with different temperatures that correspond with their preferences for comfort and efficiency. For example, if you have a room that is frequently unoccupied, you can set the thermostatic radiator valve for this room on low or off whilst other radiators in the property remain on, helping to reduce energy wastage and save on your energy bills.
Do thermostatic radiator valves save money?
Yes, thermostatic radiator valves can help you save as much as 40% on your energy bills. In order to achieve these savings, you must efficiently use your thermostatic radiator valves. For example, you could create heating zones within your home and ensure that each radiator has its own thermostatic radiator valve. This would provide you with a great level of control over your heating and allow you to set certain temperatures within certain zones. For instance, you can keep your living room warm and toasty, whilst leaving your kitchen to stay cool using a TRV.
Investing in smart thermostatic radiator valves is another way in which you can achieve great savings. Smart TRVs, like normal TRVs, allow you to control the temperatures of individual radiators, however, you can easily monitor and manage your heating settings using a user-friendly app on your smartphone or tablet.
How do thermostatic radiator valves work?
Thermostatic radiator valves work by controlling the flow of water that enters your radiators. These valves are self-regulating, which means that they can sense the temperature in the room. These devices will adjust the flow of water accordingly in order to maintain your set temperatures.
The thermostatic radiator valve head, which is positioned on top of the radiator valve body, will expand or contract as the temperature in the room changes, repositioning the pin in the valve to make it open or close and controlling the water flow.
How to fit thermostatic radiator valves?
Fitting a thermostatic radiator valve can be a simple DIY task if you are confident that you can perform the job safely.
Here’s how you fit a thermostatic radiator valve:
- Switch off your property’s heating and water supply – You should do this at least one hour before starting the process of fitting a new thermostatic radiator valve. This will help to prevent any injuries or scalding from the hot water in the system. This also helps to prevent leaks.
- Turn off the lockshield valve – The lockshield valve can be located at the bottom of the radiator. It will feature a plastic cover cap, remove this cap to gain access to the lock. You should then use an adjustable panner or a pair of pliers to turn the spindle in a clockwise manner until it cannot turn anymore. Make a note of how many turns this takes to ensure that you can reverse the process later on.
- Cover the floor to prevent water damage – Use containers and towels underneath the radiator valves to capture any excess water that may escape from the radiator during the process.
- Prepare your new radiator valve – Remove the thermostatic head off both the old and new valve (if replacing). Take off the nuts and adaptors on the new valve, then cover its thread completely with PTFE tape to prevent any leaks.
- Release the pressure – Use your radiator bleed key to open the radiator bleed valve and release any extra pressure. Once this is done, turn the key in the opposite direction to close the bleed valve up again. Does your lockshield valve have a drain? If so, use it to drain the water from the radiator.
- Remove the old valve – Once all the water has been drained, unscrew the valve’s nut until you can safely pull the valve out of the radiator to disconnect it. You should now use the spanner and grip the nut, turning it anticlockwise to loosen it. Unfasten the nuts completely, then you should remove the valve from the radiator’s inlets.
- Attach the new TRV – Hold the valve body firmly with pliers, then align it with the radiator’s tail and the water connection pipe. Fix it to the tail then tighten the cap nut. Now take the TRV head and screw it onto the valve.
- Tighten all connections and check performance – Ensure that the valve has been fitted correctly by checking the system’s performance.
Want more information on thermostatic radiator valves or any other part of your heating system? Get in touch with the heating experts and learn more about it.