Radiator Maintenance: Fitting a Thermostatic Radiator Valve

There are simple tips and tricks that you can do around your home by keeping your radiators well-maintained to help you save energy which will make your radiators function more efficiently. One way of doing this is fitting thermostatic radiator valves, as this will provide you with automatic adjustment of the heat output for each radiator, and provide a better and easier way to control the temperature throughout your home.

Fitting a Thermostatic Radiator Valve

It is highly likely that your central heating system is controlled by a single thermostat, and you can sometimes find that due to this limited control some rooms will get too warm or not warm enough. This is because a single thermostat doesn’t take into account the variations in temperature in each room, which can be effected by a number of factors, including the room size. Due to this you can find yourself having to manually adjust your radiator valves, which can become a real problem.

One way to combat this problem is to fit thermostatic radiator valves as they open and close automatically in accordance with the room temperature. In most cases, thermostatic valves will be a direct replacement for your existing manual valve, but it is important to check beforehand to ensure that it will fit.

This is a simple step-by-step guide on how to fit a thermostatic valve. Firstly you will need to ensure that you have these essential tools:

  • Adjustable spanner
  • Wire wool
  • Thermostatic radiator valve
  • New connector, if required
  • PTFE tape

Once you have the tools that you need, you are ready to change your radiator valve, however if you are unsure and would rather have a plumber do this for you please contact us to arrange a visit.

1. Firstly you need to drain the heating system. Disconnect the valve from the radiator by unscrewing its capnut, but ensure that before releasing it completely, you slacken the nut holding the valve to the pipe. Then unscrew both nuts fully and lift the valve together with its capnut and olive from the end of the pipe.

2. Clean the end of the pipe with wire wool and slip the capnut and olive of the new valve on to it. Hold the valve in place and screw the capnut on to the valve, making sure the olive is seated properly. Do not tighten the capnut fully at this stage.

3. Fit the radiator with a new connector (if necessary), wrap a few turns of PTFE tape* around its threads, align the valve and start turning the capnut onto it. Then tighten both capnuts fully. Refill the system, checking for leaks, and finally set the thermostatic valve in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

(*PTFE Tape: This is used by plumbers to ensure a watertight joint on threaded fittings. Wrap around the threads about five times clockwise before you screw the fitting together.)

How to Get the Most from Your Radiators

As we have mentioned throughout this article, thermostatic radiator valves allows for more efficient control for your central heating system. Another way to use your radiators to their full potential is looking at the position of the radiator and the pieces of furniture around it.

If you have pieces of furniture in front of your radiator, then it will be blocking the radiator and this will be less efficient in heating the room. Also if you wanted to change the layout of your room, you may want to look at repositioning your radiator by adding extra lengths of copper pipe. Another problem that can make a big difference to the heating of your room is whether your radiator is on an outside wall. If this is the case, the wall can absorb up to 25% of the heat coming from the radiator. A way to fix this would be to add radiator foil behind your radiator to reflect the heat back into the room.