How to Fit Thermostatic Radiator Valves

Thermostatic Radiator Valve

Thermostatic Radiator Valves, or TRVs, are the small adjustable valves usually found at one end of a radiator. Their function is to control the temperature the radiator heats up to by adjusting the amount of hot water within it.

TRVs give homeowners control over the temperature of each room to effectively install heating ‘zones’ without compromising on other radiators linked to the central heating system served by the boiler. TRVs are found on most traditional horizontal radiators and allow for more consistent ambient heating management, the lowering of energy bills and increased energy efficiency. TRVs are self-regulating, but can be adjusted as desired - giving households the flexibility in their heating and energy consumption.

A standard radiator valve just switches the water flow into the tank on and off, whereas a TRV gives control over varying water amounts. There are also different types of Thermostatic Radiator Valves, but they all work in the same way.

Thermostatic Radiator Valves are often supplied with radiators when you buy them new, but can be bought separately, and mixed and matched as required.

Current UK Building Regulations state that domestic heating systems require a minimum set of controls in order to adhere to energy efficiency standards. In homes that have a combi boiler (the most common type in households across the country), this is normally done through the use of TRVs; the easiest and cheapest way to regulate temperature.

There are two main types of Thermostatic Radiator Valves: straight valves and angled valves. The difference between straight radiator valves and angled radiator valves are just aesthetic, but the space available may dictate which is installed. Straight radiator valves connect the radiator to the pipework with no bends or curves, either horizontally or vertically. Angled radiator valves connect the radiator to the pipework at a 90-degree angle.

Installing TRVs can be done by a competent DIY’er with just a few tools: an adjustable spanner, a pair of pliers, a junior hacksaw, a flathead screwdriver and some PTFE tape. If you’re unsure of how to fit Thermostatic Radiator Valves or don’t feel confident to do the task alone, seek the advice of a professional. Or, if you’d like information on how to fit Thermostatic Radiator Valves yourself, read on.

Which side to fit thermostatic radiator valves?

A common mistake with the DIY installation of new radiators (or just their valves) is which side to fit the Thermostatic Radiator Valves on. It may look as though they can go on either end, but Thermostatic Radiator Valves should always be installed on the side with the inlet – that is, where the water flows in. The LSV (Lock Shield Valve) should be fitted at the opposite end, where the outlet is. This is simply so that the Thermostatic Radiator Valve is able to allow and restrict through water flow before it enters the tank. Simple, when you think about it!

Do you need a room thermostat with thermostatic radiator valves?

You don’t need to have Thermostatic Radiator Valves fitted if you already have a room thermostat installed, but they do work complementary to each other. A room thermostat helps balance a space more effectively than individual TRVs and so using both is the most effective solution to an ambient temperature throughout.

In order to ensure optimum collaboration between your TRVs and room thermostat, it’s worth first making sure all of the radiators are performing as well as possible. We’re often asked how do you balance radiators with Thermostatic Valves, given that they may all be heated to different levels, but this too is a simple fix – simply open all of the TRVs and LSVs completely before balancing them. Radiators should be re-balanced and bled annually even if there are no obvious issues, as part of standard routine maintenance.

Combining Thermostatic Radiator Valves with room thermostats and other heating controls can result in serious savings to energy bills and less energy usage, for more sustainable energy use throughout the home.

TRVs are by no means new technology – they were introduced back in the 1970s – but they are a fantastically cost-effective way to meet building regulations, to lower energy usage and to decrease energy bills.

Setting up Thermostatic Radiator Valves gives homeowners much more autonomy over their central heating system and are now a fixture in most households. Great Rads has a great range of valves and our team are happy to advise on their compatibility, features and installation. What’s more, as we’re a radiator retailer and don’t supply heating engineers, you’ll find our advice comes without any obligation to buy or book and we’re able to offer an impartial and trustworthy viewpoint on the best options for you.


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