Q. WHAT ARE THERMOSTATIC VALVES AND WHAT ARE MANUAL VALVES AND WHICH ONES DO I NEED FOR MY RADIATOR?
A. An overview of each type of valve is set out below. Whether to choose thermostatic or manual valves is up to you (see note below about building regulations). 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. See the explanation below to help you decide what’s best for you, or ask us, we’re here to help.
Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs) 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 or from electrical appliances. As the valve is controlled automatically, it turns itself up and down, ensuring the radiators perform as efficiently as possible, reducing energy waste. For this reason, TRVs are the environmentally friendly valve choice 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 which 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 entrance-way as more constant heating is needed in these areas;
– 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 tend to go up and down dramatically (due to additional heat from ovens, fridges and other appliances).
Manual valves act simply like taps as they directly control the flow of water into the radiator and consequently how hot the radiator gets, regardless of the surrounding room temperature. With manual valves, you can turn the heat up or down, but you will need to physically go to the valve to make the adjustment. Manual valves have no labelled 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.
If you are still not sure which valves would be best, please ask us or ask your showroom/stockist. We’re all very happy to help you.