There are certain bathroom essentials that most people just don’t seem to know a lot about. Perhaps because they aren’t as stylish as showers, as beautiful as baths or as magnifying as mirrors, we feel we just don’t need to know the ins and outs of the boring stuff! Yet there a lot of humble items that you might have bypassed that nonetheless serve an essential function. We’re here to give you the lowdown when it comes to radiator valves. After all, most of our favourite bathroom staples wouldn’t get far without the little guys behind it all and if you own a radiator, acquainting yourself with the radiator valve is essential for efficient heating.
What does a radiator valve do?
Radiator valves sense the temperature in the surrounding air around your radiator. They should accompany any radiators purchase as they enable your radiator to adjust to a suitable temperature to benefit your immediate environment. In this way, your radiator will never be too hot or too cold. If you’ve ever wondered just how your radiator is able to maintain itself without freezing or scorching you, it’s all because of the radiator valve.
What type of valve is best for you?
The market is awash with various valves so it’s easy to feel inundated, overwhelmed or even have the incorrect or inappropriate valve fitted. But all valves are not made equal and depending on certain factors, you’ll need a specified valve designed to meet your requirements.
There are three particular kinds of valve to consider when making a purchase:
- Manual radiator valves are traditional valves that operate in a similar fashion to your taps. You can effortlessly turn the top of the valve to enable more or less water to enter your radiator depending on your preferences. This involves a little work from you and is more of an old fashioned approach though it still abounds today for those who like things a little more hands-on.
- Thermostatic radiator valves are perhaps the most popular and may be the kind you’ve heard of most. Typically referred to as TRVs, these valves control the amount of water entering your radiator. TRVs, unlike manual radiator valves, self regulate. They take into account the present room temperature enabling the radiator to operate at a maximum room temperature and ensuring that efficiency is adhered to as it operates, so that you save money on your heating bills and stay heated. This option really takes a lot of unnecessary inconvenience out of the equation and is ideal for those who don’t want to bother themselves with monitoring valves all of the time.
- The third and final option is the Lockshield Valve. Lockshield valves control the amount of water that flows out of your radiator into the pipe work. As such, you can make sure that the water is evenly distributed across your home, ensuring that all of your radiators heat up at an identical rate so that all rooms remain equally cosy. It would be pointless if the radiator in the room you spend most time in was always cold whilst your bathroom radiator was hot, so in this way you can ensure that all radiators operate to the same standards and specifications, mirroring one another’s temperatures for a cohesively warmed home.
Do you want an angled or a straight valve?
This isn’t a matter of preference. It’s more to do with the kind of radiator placement you have. Straight valves connect your radiator to the central heating pipe work in a horizontal, straight line whereas angled radiator valves connect at an angle. Typically, radiator valves have a 90 degree bend in them so that your valve inlet can be met vertically or horizontally. The valve you require depends on the positioning of your radiator. If you have a radiator in your bathroom, you’ll also want to connect it outside so that all that air has an outlet. If it’s not a straight trajectory to the outside world, an angled valve will do the trick.
What about radiator valve inlet positions?
Locating where valve inlets are on your radiator is not that complicated and really depends on the kind of radiator you own. Typically, valve inlets can be found on the bottom of your radiator although they can also be located at the side. For a towel rail radiator in a bathroom, the valve will probably require an angled radiator valve so that horizontal pipe work can effortlessly be connected.
Compact radiators, (this is the standard radiator that most people own) usually have side valve inlets, although there are always exceptions. To be sure, remember that bottom inlets that operate through wall pipe work typically require angled radiator valves but if they are positioned through the floor, a straight radiator valve is preferable. For side inlets coming through the wall, angled radiator valves are useful but through floor pipe work, angled valves work best.
How often do I need to replace my radiator valve?
If you hear your radiator hissing or leaking, then your radiator valves will need replacing. They will also need to be replaced if your radiator refuses to heat, if the room is too hot all of the time or if the radiator will not turn off. This is something that you can easily do yourself as and when needed. Other than these telltale signs, check the warranty on the back of the box when you purchase your valves to see how long they are expected to last.
How do I replace a broken radiator valve?
As mentioned, this is something you can easily do yourself even without any radiator knowledge – as DIY projects go, it’s low maintenance. Keeping radiator valves clean is a great way to maintain them but when a valve is damaged you’ll need to first of all drain the system by connecting a hose to the drain cock, using a jubilee clip to secure it and enabling all the water to leave the system.
You can then remove the old valve using a wrench and adjustable spanner. You may want to use a cloth or rag as such equipment can damage chrome. You can then remove the old adaptor and screw in the new adaptor and valve. Refill the system and bleed the radiator and then you can finally re-fill the system again.
Hopefully we’ve covered everything you need to know about radiator valves and answered your queries! Check out our designer radiator valves range to create the ideal finish for your radiator.