Radiator valves are essential for regulating the warmth of your radiator. Think of them as the taps for your radiator - they can be opened or shut to set your preferred heat level.
A radiator valve always comes in a pair: one part adjusts the volume of water entering your radiator, thereby controlling the temperature. The other ensures system balance by controlling the amount of heat emitted.
Why Are Radiators Sold Without Valves?
The answer is quite simple: your personal requirements vary.
Aesthetics, pipework, and the radiator's location all influence your choice of valves. So, it's crucial that you personally select the valves that best meet your needs.
How Can I Determine the Right Valves for My Radiator?
Start by identifying the location of the inlets.
Inlets are connectors that link your radiator to your home's pipework. These are typically found at the bottom on either side.
Some radiators have inlets at the rear, which means they come through the floor, not the side. Also, modern radiators may feature middle connection inlets, which are located in the center at the bottom.
Next, consider the type of valve you need…
- Manual Radiator Valves
Manual valves, the most commonly used, allow you to adjust the temperature by turning them on or off. Their simplicity, however, could lead to increased heating costs if the temperature is not carefully managed.
- Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRV)
Thermostatic radiator valves (TRV) are a smart choice as they help moderate the heat output, thereby saving you money. They're designed to adapt to the room's temperature, self-regulating to ensure optimal warmth.
The valve's angle is also essential…
- Straight Valves
Straight valves, with no bends or curves, usually connect from the floor to underside inlets.
- Angled Valves
If your pipework comes from the floor or the wall and your inlets are at the side, angled valves are likely your best option. These valves, situated at a 90-degree angle, are typically at the radiator's bottom and usually extend from the wall.
- Corner Valves
Just like angled valves, corner valves can be utilized when the inlets are at the side, and the pipework comes from the wall or floor. These valves' heads sit upright at the top, not extending into the room, resulting in a tidier appearance and less tripping hazard.
- H-block Valves
H-block radiator valves are a practical and stylish choice, simplifying installation, replacement, and removal compared to other valve types. They can be used with central connection radiators or heated towel rails, eliminating the need for space on either side of the appliance.
Finally, consider the valve size…
- 15mm Valves
In the UK, the standard pipe size for most homes is 15mm, so a 15mm valve is commonly required. However, it's always wise to check as various sizes are available.
- 22mm Valves
If a radiator requires a higher water flow due to its location, wider pipes may have been used. You might need these for a bathroom, as broader pipes facilitate a better flow of water from the hot water tank.
- 10mm Valves
While it's unusual for a whole house to have 10mm pipes, these valves may be necessary if an individual radiator is integrated into your existing heating system, such as in a conservatory.
- 8mm Valves
For houses constructed in the mid to late 20th century, 8mm valves are typically used for microbore pipes. However, please be aware that these pipes are more prone to blockages and kinks.