Radiator Valves - Thermostatic or Manual?
What are thermostatic valves (TRVs) and what are manual valves and which ones do I need for my radiator?
Feature Radiators, a radiator expert, has provided below some helpful advice for those choosing valves for radiators. There are 2 types of valves available, thermostatic and manual, and this overview of both will enable you to make an informed decision when buying radiator valves.
Thermostatic Radiator Valves come with an in-built temperature sensor. The thermostatic valve will maintain the room at the temperature you have selected, by automatically adjusting the heat output from the radiator.
This means that you can make the most of any “free” heat the room receives, such as that from the sun (solar heat gain) or from electrical appliances. As the valve is controlled automatically, it turns itself up and down, ensuring the radiators perform as efficiently as possible and are environmentally friendly as they prevent energy being wasted by overheating a room.
Please be aware that building regulations require TRVs to be used for all new builds except:
- For one pair of valves on a system that can and should be manual, so they can be left fully open at all times. This is needed to allow the system to function properly. Usually such manual valves will be put on the radiator/towel rail in a bathroom or entranceway, as more constant heating is needed in these areas - (this is somewhat superceded by the building regulations requirement to have an automatic bypass valve on the system, however many installers still do not use these)
- In rooms where there is a room thermostat that controls the boiler.
Although not essential, we recommend TRVs for larger radiators (above 1800 watts, or where the radiator is oversized for the room) and for use in kitchens where temperatures can fluctuate dramatically (due to additional heat from ovens, fridges and other appliances).
Manual valves simply act like taps as they directly control the flow of water into the radiator and consequently how hot the radiator gets. Therefore the amount of heat given out will be constant, regardless of the surrounding room temperature. Manual valves allow you to turn the heat up or down, but you will need to physically go to the valve to make the adjustment. Manual valves have no labeled settings – simply turn the valve head until the radiator is giving the amount of heat desired. The smallest most discreet valves available are manual valves.
Whether you choose thermostatic or manual valves is up to you (apart from cases where building regulations apply). As a general rule, thermostatic valves tend to be larger than manual valves (as they need to accommodate the thermostatic mechanism) but are more energy efficient. Manual valves on the other hand, tend to be smaller and more discreet, so are often chosen for their neat minimal look.
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