How to Balance Radiators
Occasionally, you may find that there are noticeably cold or hot spots on your radiators. Typically you’ll find that over a period of time your radiators may not be providing you with the necessary warmth needed. In order to correct this, we recommend regular radiator balancing.
Don’t panic, this isn’t the end of the road for your heating system, just some necessary maintenance. There are several quick and easy ways to fix this problem through some simple DIY tricks. By following the below advice, hopefully you’ll be armed with all the tools needed to balance your radiator yourself.
Firstly, before starting, make sure you have the following tools with you before you begin:
- Radiator Bleeding Key
- Adjustable Spanner or Lockshield valve adjuster
- Digital Thermometer
The most important thing to do before starting is switching off the heat. You need to wait until the entire central heating system has cooled before beginning, and ensure that your radiators have been bled.
We’d recommend switching off the system the night before in order to give it the whole evening to cool.
Every nut and valve is slightly different from each other, particularly varying between different radiators. Therefore, before you begin the procedure, know the different valves that are used on your radiator.
Each valve is used for a specific purpose and thus, we’d recommend carrying out some research about valves before applying a particular technique. For example, a lockshield valve normally has push-on cap which is secured with a screw on top of it. If you have this valve, make sure to remove it completely.
Next, open all the valves attached to the radiator and release them by moving them anti-clockwise. You’ll probably need a spanner or adjuster in order to open the lockshield. Alternatively, one can quickly open the thermostatic valves or wheel head valves which were used earlier with a twist from your hand.
Once you’re done opening all the valves, you can turn on the central heating system and note down the heating order of the radiator. A common thing you might notice is that the radiator closest to the boiler is likely to heat up the first, for obvious reasons. If you’re testing a number of rooms make a point to enlist some help so that you can accurately test the heating order. We’re confident your friends will be queuing up to help you test your radiators!
Again, turn off the heating and give your radiators time to cool down. Whilst you’re waiting, we’d recommend taking a look at the Great Rads selection of designer radiators, to help the time fly past faster.
Once all your radiators have cooled, turn on the heating again and go back to the radiator that heated first during your tests. Close the lockshield valve completely on the radiator by turning it clockwise, before opening it just a quarter of a turn.
Once the radiator has been reheated, take a note of the temperature reading for the pipe leading to the radiator.
The next step is to note temperature of the valve on the other side of the radiator to the one you’ve just measured. You should next begin opening the lockshield valve until there’s a 12°c difference between the 2 valves.
Ensure that you leave a few minutes between changes to the valves so that you acquire an accurate reading for any change in temperatures.
Make a point of repeating the above steps for each radiator, in order of how they heat. Typically, you’ll find that the farthest radiator from the boiler will have the greatest valve opening. It’s possible that in order to balance your radiators the lockshield valve of the farthest radiator will end up being completely open, but this isn’t always the case.
You’ve now managed to balance all your radiators. After a productive weekend well spend, it’s your time to relax and enjoy the soothing warmth.
- The Great Rads Team