04th December, 2023
Last updated: 11th January, 2023Advice
At iHeat we’re experts in anything relating to keeping your home heated and comfortable, this includes radiator function and problem troubleshooting.
In this blog we’re going to be exploring the act of balancing the radiators within a property, a solution to a problem that if not addressed can seriously impact your home in terms of heat wastage.
If radiators in different locations within your property are heating up at different rates, the water flowing into them from your boiler is not being dispersed evenly and the likelihood is they’ll need to be balanced.
Unbalanced radiators aside from being incredibly stress inducing, are extremely inefficient in terms of energy loss and subsequent expenditure.
However, if your radiators have cold spots and make noises when the heating is turned on, they’ll need to be ‘bled’, before being balanced.
Bleeding a radiator is the act of releasing trapped air to ensure water is not being displaced and causing the top of the radiator to become cooler, causing their performance to degrade.
It’s wise to bleed a radiator before attempting to balance them as this will provide a more accurate heat reading.
We have a video available here for more information on bleeding your radiators.
First of all to carry out the initial bleeding and balancing of your radiators you’ll need the following tools:
Lockshield valve key or adjustable spanner
Digital thermometer or multimeter with thermometer
Firstly switch off your central heating and allow radiators to cool, as mentioned it’s prudent to have already bled and if need be have carried out a system power flush.
You must fully open the thermostatic valves by turning the valve head to the highest number on the dial, this is usually anti-clockwise (to the left).
If your radiators do not have thermostatic valves, alternatively you can make sure the lockshields are open by removing the cover cap and turning the valve anti clockwise with a valve key or spanner.
After all of the radiator valves are open, switch the heating back on and monitor the order the radiators heat up in.
Once you’ve made notes on the heating rates, switch the heating fully off and allow radiators to cool back down, before switching the heating back on…we know, but keep soldiering on.
Turn the lockshield valve on the fastest radiator until it’s completely closed and then open it by a quarter turn.
Firstly, once the fastest radiator has heated up, take an accurate temperature reading (right at the point of connection between the pipework and lockshield valve). Then take the temperature of the pipework on the opposite side, where the TRV is found and make a note of both measurements.
Turn the lockshield valve slowly until the difference between the two readings is exactly 12°C
Repeat step 6 on other radiators around the property in order to effectively balance them; often the further the radiator is away from the boiler, the more its lockshield valve will need to be opened to provide equal water reception, for example the slowest radiator to heat up may require its lockshield valve being fully opened.
If you have thoroughly carried out all the steps in the process as listed above, yet are still having issues, equal water dispersion disparities may be down to other problems.
One prevalent component issue that can lead to radiator imbalance is a faulty pump that isn’t efficiently thrusting water around your central heating system.
Another type of underlying cause of radiators not being balanced is a build up of ‘sludge’ within the system; tell tale signs of sludge presence is thick, dark water escaping from radiators when they’re bled, or cold spots at the bottom of the radiator.
To remedy this issue a system cleanse may need to be carried out via a power flush if one has not been carried out prior to carrying out steps 1-7.
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