Dining Out Magazine

The (NEW) Best Heating Guide to Radiator Valves

By John Lawless @BestHeatingUK

If you have ever asked the question – “Which Radiator Valve Do I Need?”

Or perhaps wondered quietly to yourself – What Radiator Valve Is Best? Then you’ve come to the right place for answers…

Radiator valves are an essential part of how a radiator functions.

They control the flow of water through the pipes and ensure that your radiator heats up effectively and efficiently – keeping you, your home and everyone in it nice and comfortable and warm.

But, did you know that not all radiator valves are the same?

Or that not every valve is suitable for use with every radiator?

In fact, some valves just won’t be compatible at all and others can’t be used with certain radiators because of size, shape and design.

In this radiator valve guide we’ll give you the lowdown on valve types and their uses, so you can better understand which valves you need to buy and why.

Where is my radiator valve inlet?

Discovering where the valve inlets on your radiator are is fairly straight-forward and is defined primarily by the kind of radiator or heated towel rail that you have.

With a heated towel rail for example, you will normally find the inlet position is located underneath at the bottom.

Large White Flat Heated Towel Rail

Pipework coming from the wall requires angled valves.

In this instance, if your central heating pipes came out of the wall, you would use angled radiator valves to enable you to join the horizontal pipework to the valve inlet of the heated towel rail.

Standard radiators – like double and single panel convectors or compact radiators – typically have side inlets. These are again found at the bottom of your radiator, but will normally only allow for for access from the side (horizontally), meaning that it’s likely you’ll again need to use angled radiator valves to join the pipework to the inlet.

Some radiators may be fed by pipework that comes through the floor and (rarely) may have inlets at the back rather than the side; with these types of radiators straight valves are best.

Follow this simple table for the best and easiest results.

Table of valves

Which Radiator Valves Should I Buy?

It’s not uncommon for valves to be completely overlooked when you choose your new radiator, in all honesty, it’s an easy mistake to make.

There are so many varieties available to you and – if you’re doing a complete bathroom renovation for example – they are only really a very small part of a much bigger picture.

But worry not, we’re here to help you make the right choice – so let’s take a look at the differences between some of the valves that are available and which one will suit you the best.

What’s the difference between angled and straight valves?

The first thing to understand when you’re choosing which radiator valves to buy is whether your requirements can be met by an Angled or a Straight valve.

In the UK, you’ll probably find that most radiators have ‘BOE’ or Bottom Opposite End connections – put simply, the water going into the radiator arrives at the bottom and at either end of your rad.

A diagram of a bottom inlet of a radiator

So what’s the difference between them?

Angled Radiator Valves

Angled radiator valves are the most common type of valves in the UK (alongside thermostatic) and, as you may expect with a name like “angled radiator valve“, they connect your radiator to your central heating pipes at an ‘angle’ – generally around 90 degrees.

You would be able to make best use of these if your pipework comes out of the wall or from below the floorboards, as you’ll need an angle to be able to fit your pipes into the radiators inlet connection.

This kind of valve is becoming increasingly popular because they look much neater and leave you with less visible pipework than the straight valve alternatives – making them perfect for more minimalist installations.

Straight Radiator Valves

Straight radiator valves are so called because inside these valves, the water flows ‘straight’ and is not directed at an angle.

They have no bends or curves and will usually connect from the floor horizontally – so if your pipework is run along the wall and directly into the radiator, the best choice to ensure your heating works efficiently would be to purchase a straight radiator valve.

For more info on types of valves, check out this short video.

Are there different types of angled and straight valves?

This is pretty simple – there are two main types of radiator valve, these are manual and thermostatic and, for safety, there is also a lockshield valve.

Manual Valves

Nothing too complicated here, a manual valve is probably the most common type of radiator valve and works in a very similar way to a tap.

Just like a tap, you turn it on to allow the water (central heating) to pass into your radiator and when it has reached the desired temperature, you can turn it off again.

It’s important to remember with manual valves, that though they are very simple to use and maintain you may have to keep your eye on them because they can allow your heating bill to start creeping up and become more expensive if you start to forget to turn it off.
Thermostatic Radiator Valves

These clever valves give you temperature control at the turn of a dial, can potentially reduce your energy consumption and can also save you money in the long run on energy bills.

Thermostatic radiator valves (also known as TRVs) measure the temperature in the room and then adapt the heat output of the radiator.

When the room temperature reaches the desired level, the valve closes to stop the flow of water and prevent the radiator from getting any hotter. This mechanism means you aren’t heating the room to a higher temperature than is necessary. It also allows you to heat rooms individually, so a room which is not often used can be heated to a lower temperature than a room which will be frequented often.

Lockshield Valves

A lockshield valve is the valve on your radiator that is usually covered with a plastic cap.

These valves are used to control the amount of water that flows back out of the radiator and into the return pipework.

These valves allow you to ‘balance’ the radiator – ensuring the water in the system is distributed evenly throughout the property – meaning your radiators will heat up at the same rate; thus making your heating more efficient.

Did you know? – TRVs were invented in Denmark in the 1970’s as a cheap way of controlling temperatures in large buildings.

Radiator Valves and Building regulations

It’s important to note that ALL houses are required to have at least one radiator valve that is not thermostatic. This is to ensure that there is a constant flow through the radiator; helping to reduce the chances of damaging the boiler.

It’s best to place this non-thermostatic valve in a bathroom, cloakroom or ensuite or perhaps in the room where a thermostat is already fitted.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so be sure that you are meeting all the required heating regulations.

For more information regarding radiator valves please visit our store and be sure to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest hints, tips and behind the scenes looks at Best Heating.

Till next time, stay safe and happy heating.

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