All you need to know about radiator valves

All radiators need valves to control the flow of water into the units and these now come in a variety of styles and finishes. Radiator valves are necessary in whatever form as they allow an easy way to stop the flow of the central heating circuit into the radiator. In times past there were double entry rad valves and the really popular micro-bore radiator valve, still used in old stone building and on traditional systems. With the popularity of radiators as a heating emitter came the advent of two pipe systems and a far more efficient central heating circuit. If you are looking to buy a new radiator then you may be able to use your existing valves if you have them, but if you are changing the pipework, or the style of radiator it may be necessary to replace the radiator valves. The reason you need two valves generally on all rads is because the system dictates a flow and return. The flow pipework carries the newly heated water from the boiler. The return taking it back at a lower temperature to be reheated by the boiler. The radiator or heat emitter uses the heat and transfers it into the room and it does this by having a large surface area and convector fins. We have written about all you need to know about radiator valves.  

Radiator Valve Types

There are two types of radiator valves and they are different because of their operation. Manual valves are as the name suggests open and closed manually. Thermostatic radiator valves (TRV) use a sensor to open the valve and this is dependent upon heat. Thermostatic radiator valves are designed to help maintain a constant room temperature, or to allow the user to set a different temperature in different rooms. They do this by adjusting the flow of hot water through the radiator itself. One of the benefits of a TRV is that they can save money on your heating bills in the long run and these are a common type of valve. Both types of valves are sold in straight and angled styles dependent upon where the pipework is originating from so can be used on most traditional radiators. The different styles of radiators has actually determined the style of radiators valves that are required. For example today you can but compact radiators, horizontal radiators, vertical radiators, towel rails, column radiators whilst other people prefer traditional radiators to name but a few. Each of these different styles of radiator will require a particular valve type to suit the radiator and copper pipe configuration. Columnrads will try and explain what valves to use with the different radiators now available.  

Straight Valves

Straight valves are now a common addition to a job and this is because towel rails have the connections on the bottom of the radiator. Towel radiators or towel warmers are most commonly found in the bathroom. As long as the central heating pipework is coming from the floor which is often the case then a good pair of matching valves is essential. These straight radiator valves are sometimes classed as a towel rail valves and are generally chrome but can come in lots of finishes now. These are available in manual and thermostatic depending on the customer. Designer radiators also may have the connections on the bottom and this is where the new finishes have become popular like, black nickel, silver nickel and antique brass.  

Angled Valves

Angled valves are by far the most popular orientation and this is because of the majority of heating circuits that have pipework under the floor and the pipes coming up. Angled radiator valves can be purchased as thermostatic valves or manual types and the finishes are now huge offering an almost bespoke radiator offering. These valves are commonly used with column radiators but as with most things there are no hard and fast rules here so take care when buying the valves for your central heating system. Vertical radiators may also require an angled valves, but some are designed to fit with straight valves.  

Corner Valves

Corner valves are a new orientation that have been developed in the last few years because of the popularity of the floating radiator or where the pipework is from the wall so you do not see any pipework going to the radiator. It gives a clean appearance and corner valves are available as thermostatic radiator valves, or manual radiator valves.  

Lockshield Valves

Lockshield Valves are a type of valves that is fitted to a radiator to help control the flow of water through the central heating system and pipework. When first setting up the radiator valves on the system one of the tasks that needs to be carried out is to balance the radiators. This process ensures that each of the radiators in the central heating system output a similar amount of heat. The lockshield valves is typically set once, then left alone. Typically these types of valves have a plastic or metal cap that sits over the valve adjustment switch so that they are not adjusted by mistake. Each radiator will require a lockshield valves for the side inlet. We have a vast range of radiator valves to suit all types of radiators and are more than happy to diagnose what you require so give Columnrads a call today. Check out our Instagram for more inspiration at home.