What is a cast iron radiator valve?
Radiator valves are what you see at the bottom of a radiator. They allow you to control how much heat you want your radiator to provide, just like a tap to control water flow.
Each radiator will have two valves. One valve will control the amount of hot water that enters the radiator. The other will balance the system by controlling how much heat comes out of your radiator - this is known as the 'lockshield valve'.
The lockshield valve is often covered with a plastic cap and controls how much water flows out of your radiator and back into the pipework or stays inside your radiator. The lockshield valve is usually fixed to prevent you from turning it. It is used to balance your radiators.
What are the types of radiator valves?
There are two main types of radiator valves to choose from, thermostatic and manual radiator valves.
Manual Radiator Valves
The most common type of radiator valve is a manual valve. The clue to how manual valves work is in the name. You have to turn them to regulate the temperature in a room.
They work just like a tap, by altering the flow of hot water from the boiler into the radiator. The higher the setting, the higher the volume of hot water entering the radiator to produce greater heat. Once a room has reached a temperature you want, you will need to turn the valve down to a cooler setting yourself.
Manual valves are simple to use and are generally smaller in size than thermostatic valves. As they are manual, you have to ensure that you remember to manually turn them off yourself when you don’t need them on. Otherwise, you will be wasting unnecessary energy and money on heat that you don’t need.
What are thermostatic radiator valves?
Thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) give you much more control over the temperature in your home as they have more advanced features than a standard manual valve. However, just like a manual radiator valve, you can personally set the valve to what temperature you’d like a room to be.
The thermostat 'senses' the temperature in your room and once the temperature you have selected is reached, the valve will automatically stop hot water flowing to your radiator and prevent it from getting any hotter.
This allows the radiator to manage itself for the majority of the time. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about having to turn the valve off yourself. A TRV will do it for you, saving you from wasting unnecessary heat and money - benefitting heating bills and the environment.
What are angled and straight radiator valves?
While looking for radiators, you may have heard of these two valves. Most radiators have an opposite end connection, meaning they come out either side of the radiator at a horizontal angle.
Angled radiator valves, true to their name, always connect the radiator to your central heating at an angle, usually at 90 degrees. They are used when the pipework comes out of the wall or from below the floorboards. These are becoming more popular as they look neater with less visible pipework than a straight valve.
Straight radiator valves have no bends or curves and connect your central heating with the radiator straight up from the floor. This means that your water will flow up from the floor or along your wall into your radiator, giving a sleek straight-line appearance. if your pipework runs along the wall, a straight valve is the most appropriate choice.
How much do radiator valves cost?
Radiator valves, whether they are manual or thermostatic, come in similar costs at Trads - ranging from around £45 - £105. This can depend on the type, material and style.