And why homeowners need to pay more attention to them now than ever
Traditionally, radiator valves were very standard. There were few options and designs to choose from. Home heating systems tended to consist of functional radiators and basic valves that could only allow or block water flow to that radiator. However, in recent years, there has been a significant increase in radiator choices and you can see on our website.
Today, radiators and valves come in a massive array of styles and designs. This means that they are more than just functional - they are part of the overall design of a home as well. A wide range of valves is also available ranging from basic options to valves that control heat through wifi and bluetooth enabled apps. This means that now, with a relatively little expanse, you can create a SmartHome based on the latest technologies and reduce overall heat costs throughout your home.
Function Of A Radiator Valve
A radiator valve is designed to control how much hot water can enter and leave a radiator, adjusting the overall heat outputs. And while a thermostat controls the temperature for the specific zone, it is the radiator valve that would control a specific radiator. Basic models simply adjust for on and off settings. If, for example, the thermostat is set for 70 degrees and is measuring this at the thermostat site, hot water will be distributed through the system to heat up the radiators.
The exception however, is a radiator valve that is completely turned off. A radiator in a room not being used might be off in order to avoid heating an unused room. While the rest of the house is being heated.
Valve Styles vs Valve Types
All radiator valves perform the basic function of controlling the flow of hot water to a radiator. How the valve does this and the overall level of control is governed by two things - the radiator valve style and radiator valve type.
The type is typically determined by the location of the radiator in the home. And while the job is always exactly the same, to control the flow of water in and out, the style will vary depending on where the connectors are on the radiator and the pipework leading into the heat supply. Most common are straight valves, angled valves and curved valves.
Straight valves are used when the pipework runs directly into the radiator. The connecting pipes are straight with no change in angle. When the angle of the pipe changes, an angled valve must be used typically allowing a 90 degree change in angle. In many homes, the pipework comes up from the floor near the radiator, then adjusts to 90 degrees to enter the radiator itself. Here is where you would use an angled valve.
A corner valve is necessary when pipework goes around a corner of a room straight into a radiator. As noted above, when the pipework runs in a straight line to the radiator, a straight valve is used. This can often be in a bathroom where the pipe goes directly up and into a towel radiator.
While the type of the radiator valve will be determined by the actual usage and positioning of the radiator and the pipework leading to it, the style is more down to personal preference.
Radiator Valve Types
The radiator valve type will also determine the level of control there is over the flow of water in and out of the radiator. A manual valve is the most basic and essentially works just the same as a tap - it's opened, it’s partially opened or it’s closed. These valves are ideal when you want a room to always have the same level of heat, like a living room or office. Manual valves are simple and effective and often inexpensive to buy. However, they are often very inefficient.
Alternatively, thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) can be far more efficient. With a thermostatic valve, the radiator is set to a certain level and once the level is reached, the valve stops the flow of further water into the radiator. This is separate from the overall heating, meaning the boiler could still be in action producing hot water to heat other rooms, but this particular radiator would now be shut off until room temperature fell to the specified temperature.
A thermostatic radiator allows for a very specific level of control of heating. Rooms can be set to a specific temperature allowing for heating but without the wasted energy of heating all the time.
A thermostatic radiator valve is as easy to install as a manual valve but it offers more control of the heating in that location. If choosing between manual and TRVs, TRVs are generally preferred because of the level of heating control they provide
Smart Radiator Valves
As more and more technology is available, many homeowners are transitioning into SmartHomes. In order to accommodate this, smart valves have become a trend we are seeing more and more of.
These valves would work as part of an overall smart heating system and are typically controlled via a mobile app. The smart system allows the user to automatically set heating patterns depending on their usage of rooms, specific days and times. For example, the bedroom could be heated from 8.00pm to get it ready for bed, while the living room or kitchen heat would turn on early in the morning.
Smart systems also allow you to control the heat remotely. For example, if you were away over the holiday, heat levels could be lowered so as to not waste heat when no one is home and then adjusted to turn back on a few hours prior to your return.
Balancing the system
The final type of valve is the lock shield valve. This valve ensures heat is distributed evenly throughout the system. Without lock shield valves, the radiators nearest the boilers would get a disproportionate amount of heating compared to those further down the line.
Radiator Valves Working For You
Radiator valves all work by controlling the flow of water into and out of the radiator, they vary in terms of how much control they offer, whether it is possible to create independent heating for that room, and whether this can be controlled remotely. It is entirely possible to fit any type of valve on to virtually any radiator, the key question is what type of system do you want to create?
Thermostatic valves allow some degree of control, a fully Smart system enables complete control of any room, at any time of day - you could be lying in your own bed and simply use the app to turn the heating off in the kids’ rooms now they’re asleep.
Not Sure Which Valve Is Right For You?
At San Plumbing and Heating Supply House, we carry a wide range of radiator valves for all of your heating needs. Our knowledgeable staff will be more than happy to offer advice as to which types of valves are required for your specific situation and heating system. For further information, contact us at (855) 226-5704 or visit our site at www.sanplumbingandheating.com.