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How to Adjust Your Radiator Valves

Updated: 2 days ago

A woman adjusting a thermostatic radiator valve to control the temperature of her radiator

Having your radiator valves set correctly is essential in ensuring that the room is at a comfortable temperature and that energy is not wasted. It is important to remember that a TRV opens and closes based on the ambient temperature of the room, rather than the temperature of the radiator. On a TRV, the number on the wheelhead control will dictate how warm the room must be before the valve closes. The higher the number, the higher the temperature must be before it shuts off. It is also important to remember that a higher number does not mean the radiator will heat up faster. It leads to the radiator working harder or for longer before the room reaches that temperature.

The best approach to correctly setting the valves is to initially turn all the TRVs in the room to a moderate setting (such as 3) and wait for the heating to raise the temperature of the room. If the room is too warm or not warm enough, the setting on the valve can be lowered or raised accordingly. It may be necessary to wait until later in the day or even the following day to assess if the new setting is suitable. Further adjustments up or down can then be made until the right temperature is achieved.

In some situations, having a TRV set to the maximum may cause wasted energy as the heating system will be working unnecessarily. For example, if the radiator is in a room with less insulation or greater air movement, it may not be possible for the room temperature to reach a level that would close the valve. This means the radiator(s) will be on continuously, causing the heating system to work harder for longer, with a limited impact on the temperature of the room.

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British Thermal Units (BTU) is a measure of the output of heat needed to raise the temperature of a room. Determining the correct BTU will help you get the right radiator for your home.

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