How to Choose The Best Thermostatic Radiator Valve
Valves are an integral part of any central heating system, so why not get some that can help make the radiators more useful and economical to run. Operating the same way as manual valves, TRVs can be used to turn individual radiators on and off. However, they are also able to detect the temperature of the room and self-regulate.
Requiring less human input than standard valves, thermostatic valves have a range of benefits. If you’re looking at purchasing a TRV but you’re not sure where to start, the following tips should help you make the right decision.
Benefits of Using a Thermostatic Radiator Valve (TRV)
TRVs have a range of benefits, the most useful of which are detailed below:
- TRVs can be used to control the heat in each individual room. Each radiator can be turned on or off individually, and set at a certain temperature, so you can keep each room comfortable without wasting electricity. This can be particularly useful in warmer rooms, such as south-facing ones, where the radiators may not always need to be turned up as high as in other areas.
- Unlike regular radiator valves, TRVs can monitor the temperature in the room. This means they can adjust the flow of water into the radiator to maintain your ideal temperature. Once the room reaches a certain temperature, the radiator will receive less hot water. If the room drops below this temperature, the radiator will receive more hot water.
- These types of valves can also help prevent frost damage. Many models will have a frost mode, which means they can be set to ‘off’, yet still come on if the temperature in the room drops below a certain level (for example, 7°C).
- They can also help prevent mould by allowing you to keep temperatures higher in cold, damp-prone rooms (such as bathrooms) without wasting heat through the whole house.
TRVs are also very affordable and available in a range of designs. They can be purchased to suit all types of radiator, so they are definitely a useful addition to have.
Design and Finish
There are plenty of different valves on the market, to suit a range of aesthetics. Unless you’re working to a very tight budget, and are less worried about appearances, you’ll be able to find thermostatic valves that have the same finish as your radiator.
Thermostatic valves are available in all different colours, from chrome to black, brass to white. Here on this page predominantly chrome-coloured valves are featured, because they tend to be the most popular and versatile. However, if you have a certain ‘look’ in mind, you’re bound to find a matching model online – you just might have to pay a bit more for it.
Chrome radiator valves can be some of the most contemporary-looking. White valves blend in well with white radiators, and can offer a more traditional look. They can look a little dated, so it’s important to consider the style carefully. White valves often have plastic elements which some people may prefer to avoid. If you have a darker radiator, like one with an anthracite finish, there are also valves available to match.
Ease of Installation
Fitting a TRV is generally fast and simple. Some people still choose to have them fitted professionally, but for the most part there is enough information online for anyone wanting to install a TRV themselves.
Fitting a ‘bidirectional’ valve is slightly less complicated than a unidirectional model, because it doesn’t matter which side of the radiator the TRV and lockshield are positioned. If the valves are unidirectional, the TRV valve will need to be fitted onto the flow pipe, and the lockshield onto the return pipe.
The flow pipe refers to the pipe through which water flows into the radiator, and the return pipe refers to the pipe through which water leaves the radiator.
Most modern TRVs are bidirectional; however, it’s still good practise to fit the TRV to the flow pipe and the lockshield to the return pipe.
Thermostatic Radiator Valve FAQs
How does a thermostatic radiator valve work?
Thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) self-regulate, so they adjust the flow of water that goes into the radiator depending on 1) the temperature they are set to, and 2) the temperature of the room. The valve head goes on top of the valve body, and expands or contracts when the temperature in the room changes.
As the valve head changes, a pin is adjusted in the valve body so that the valve opens or closes. When the head expands, the valve closes so the radiator receives less hot water. As the room cools, the head contracts which opens the valve body to receive more hot water into the radiator. More hot water means the radiator will become warmer.
Can I put thermostatic radiator valves on all radiators?
While thermostatic radiator valves can be installed on all radiators, there are some cases where it’s best not to install a TRV.
For example, it’s also best to avoid putting TRVs in bathroom radiators. This is because the heat produced from having a hot shower or bath may confuse the thermostat. Instead of maintaining the correct temperature, the TRV will cut out before intended. This might make it harder to clear damp air and steam.
It’s also not necessary to put a TRV in the room where your principle thermostat is located. Doing so can confuse the thermostat, and in some cases can cause it to overcompensate – pushing out more heat than necessary via the central heating.
How warm should my home be?
Getting the temperature right for your home can be tricky at times. Ideally, your home should be no warmer than 20°C during the day when you are at home.
When you’re away from home, an ideal temperature for winter is between 12°C and 19°C. Any colder than 12°C, and your pipes may be at risk of freezing. Often, information regarding whether or not to leave your heating on when away (and at what temperature) is detailed in your home insurance policy. It’s worth taking a look to avoid doing anything that may void the insurance.
At night time, your thermostat should be set to between 17°C and 19°C for a comfortable sleep.