If you have ever asked the question – “Which radiator valve do I need?” or perhaps quietly wondered – “Which radiator valve is the best?” then you have come to the right place to find the answer, We’ll take a closer look at radiator valves in today’s guide. Includes functions, types, and buying guide.
1. What is the function of the radiator valve?
The radiator valve is an important part of the function of a radiator or heated towel rail. They control the flow of water through your pipes and ensure your radiators heat effectively and efficiently – keeping you, your home, and everyone in it nice, comfortable, and warm.
However, did you know that not all radiator valves are the same? So, isn’t every valve suitable for use with every radiator?
In fact, some radiator valves are not compatible at all, while others cannot be used with certain radiators due to size, shape, and design. In this guide to radiator valves, we’ll give you the lowdown on valve types and their uses, so you can better understand which radiator and towel rail valves you need to buy and why.
2. Where is the radiator valve inlet?
Finding the location of the valve inlet on your radiator is fairly simple and mainly depends on the type of radiator or heated towel rail you have. For example, with a heated towel rail, you’ll typically find the entry point underneath the base.
In this case, if your central heating pipes come out of the wall, you can use radiator valves that are angled so that you can connect the horizontal pipes to the valve inlet of the heated towel rail. Standard radiators, such as double- and single-panel convectors or compact radiators, usually have side inlets. These are again located at the base of the radiator, but usually only allow access from the side (horizontally), which means you may again need to use an angled radiator valve to connect the pipe to the inlet.
Some more modern radiator designs have intermediate connection valve inlets. They are located in the center of the bottom of the radiator. Popular in Europe for some time, this type of radiator has now been introduced to the UK market and is a great way to make the most of limited floor and wall space; making it ideal for rooms such as ensuites and cloakrooms.
Finally, it may be noted that some radiators may be powered by pipes running through the floor, and may have inlets at the back rather than the side (although this is rare); for these types of radiators, a straight valve may be best.
3. Which radiator valve should I buy?
It’s not uncommon for the radiator valve to be completely ignored when you’re choosing a new radiator – it’s an easy mistake to make, honestly – we imagine you sometimes get so excited about your new radiator that you forget you need a valve to make it work well.
There are so many varieties that you can choose from, for example, if you are doing a complete bathroom renovation, they are really just a small part of a much bigger picture. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you make the right choice – so let’s take a look at the differences between some of the valves available, and which one is best for you.
4. What types of radiator valves are available?
There are many types of radiator valves. These include:
- Radiator angle valve
- Straight radiator valve
- H-type radiator valve
- Angle radiator valve
Depending on where your pipes come from (up from the floor, up from the wall, etc.), there are different valve types to suit your needs. But what’s the difference between them?
1) Radiator angle valve
Angle radiator valves are the most common type of valve in the UK and as you would expect from a name like ‘angle radiator valve’ they connect the radiator to the central heating pipe at an ‘angle’ (usually around 90 degrees). If you have pipes coming out of the wall or under the floor, you will be able to take full advantage of these as you will need an angle to fit the pipes into the radiator inlet connection.
Such valves are becoming increasingly popular because they look neater and have less visible piping than straight valve alternatives, making them ideal for minimalist installations.
2) Straight radiator valve
Straight radiator valves are so named because, inside these valves, water flows “in a straight line” and is not directed, diverted, or distributed at an angle.
They have no bends or curves and will usually run horizontally from the floor – so if your pipes run along the wall and directly into the radiator – or perhaps even straight up and out of the floor – this is the best way to ensure your heating is working efficiently The option is to purchase a straight radiator valve.
3) H-type stop valve
H-shaped shut-off valves are suitable for central or intermediate connection radiators, helping to minimize the impact of radiators or heated towel rails on the space. They do this by eliminating the need to leave space on either side of the device; space typically reserved for valves.
H-style globe valves are also easier to install, remove, and replace than standard straight and angle valves, making them a stylish and convenient addition to home heating.
4) Angle radiator valve
Angle radiator valves (also called flat front valves) are often a cosmetic choice. Unlike angle radiator valves, angle valves do not protrude too far from the bottom of the radiator. When using angled valves, there is a (rare) chance that you may get your shin pinched by one of the valves and suffer severe bruising as a result.
However, with an angle valve, you completely eliminate this risk because the top of the valve faces inward (parallel to the wall) rather than outward. Be careful when selecting this type of valve because depending on the location of the radiator, adjustment may be more difficult than just using a standard angle valve.
5. Things to consider when purchasing a manual radiator valve
- They are some of the most common types of radiator valves, so there are a variety of styles to choose from.
- Manual valves are easy to use, but you must manually adjust them to control heat output.
- They can make it more difficult to fully control the heating because they use a simple “on or off” mechanism.
- They do not operate automatically and therefore will not regulate the temperature without your involvement.
6. What is a radiator thermostatic valve?
These clever radiator valves allow you to control the temperature with the turn of a knob, reducing energy consumption and saving money on your energy bills. A thermostatic radiator valve (also known as a TRV) measures the temperature in a room and then adjusts the radiator’s heat output.
When the room temperature reaches the desired level, the valve closes to stop the flow of water and prevent the radiator from getting hotter. This mechanism means you won’t heat the room higher than required. It also allows you to heat rooms individually, so rooms that are not used frequently can be heated to a lower temperature than rooms that are frequently visited.
Like members of the manual valve family, thermostatic valves are available in straight and angled designs and in a variety of styles to fit your interior design scheme.
7. Things to consider when purchasing a thermostatic radiator valve
- They are an environmentally friendly option.
- They make it easier to control the temperature in individual rooms.
- You should not use them in the same room as the thermostat
- Bathroom humidity affects how they work, so don’t leave them in the bathroom
- Although more expensive to purchase, they will help reduce long-term energy costs
8. The future of radiator valves
As home automation continues to grow and become more popular, you can expect to see a range of electronic and smart radiator valves enter the market. Technology can always work smarter, and we humans just love automating things, so there’s a good chance some new radiator valve will be the talk of the town next winter.