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Last updated: 27th March, 2024


What Is A Thermostatic Radiator Valve?

What Is A Thermostatic Radiator Valve?

As the colder months are beginning to set in, you may want to increase the temperatures emitted from your properties radiators, but are worried this may further run up your heating bill in these record breaking times for energy costs.

As the colder months are beginning to set in, you may want to increase the temperatures emitted from your properties radiators, but are worried this may further run up your heating bill in these record breaking times for energy costs.

Fear not, through the implementation of Thermostatic Radiator Valves you can keep your home warm and toasty when you need, without breaking the bank.

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What Is A Thermostatic Radiator Valve?

Despite its technical sounding name, a Thermostatic Radiator Valve or TRV, is a simple but very effective method of controlling room temperature.

A TRV is a self-regulating valve fitted to a radiator to control its flow of incoming hot water, and the subsequent temperature it radiates.

How Do Thermostatic Radiator Valves Work?

A TRV is made up of two parts, the head and the body, upon its detection of a temperature change within a room, a capsule in the valve head either contracts or expands.

If the room becomes warmer than the pre-set ideal temperature, expansion of an internal capsule will cause a pin to move and close the valve, thus slowing the influx of hot water into the radiator, maintaining the ideal temperature rather than continuing to increase it.

If the room becomes too cold, the reverse mechanism occurs, the contraction of the valve head capsule pulls the pin back out, reallowing the increased flow of hot water into the system again.

This is considered more accurate and efficient as it removes the task of manually opening and closing a traditional radiator valve to adjust the temperature.

There are two popular materials that the TRV capsule is usually made of, liquid or wax. Generally, liquid capsules tend to be more prevalent due to their greater responsiveness to temperature changes, a crucial step in the functionality of a TRV.

How Can TRVs Help Cut Down Heating Bills?

It’s no secret that the current cost of living crisis in the UK is a volatile topical issue, with energy bills soaring amid the second consecutive record breaking energy price cap announced recently by Ofgem.

As the colder months begin to set in (traditionally the period in which consumers use the most heat energy), any relief from these costs without sacrificing a comfortable temperature for your property, would constitute a smart choice.

TVRs can help cut down a property's energy bills by more efficiently heating your home, this is called zonal heating.

Through Thermostatic Radiator Valves you can heat different rooms within your home at different times, meaning there is no unnecessary heat loss for unoccupied rooms.

Also TRVs as mentioned above, actively control the influx of hot water for the radiators in high traffic rooms, meaning the room does not become too hot.

Smart Thermostatic Valves

If you want to further increase the efficiency of your radiator system, smart TVRs can be controlled remotely for constant temperature regulation via a smart thermostat or app.

How Much Do Thermostatic Radiator Valves Cost? 

As with the price of any heat regulating component, costs for TRVs can vary depending on model, quantity and merchant rates. Generally the price range for a TRV is £10-£30.

However, it is worth noting for maximum TRV efficiency, the radiator must be first drained and cleaned via a Power flush or Chemical Flush to remove any dirt, sludge or potential debris build up.

These additional steps can cost into the hundreds, but with any iHeat boiler installation we offer a free chemical flush at no extra charge. A system flush will contribute to your overall system efficiency and help you save money on your heating long term.

Where Not To Install TRVs

In certain rooms around the house Thermostatic Radiator Valves may be less efficient for a variety of reasons.

The bathroom for example, this room would not be an ideal for a TRV due to the heat from the shower or bath tricking the TRV into shutting off the radiator, when in reality the heat generated would help control condensation.

Also it may not be beneficial to have a TVR in the same room as your main thermostat as they will cross sync with the boiler, causing erratic temperature control and a possible heat shutting off for your entire home.

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If you want the most efficient heating system possible for your home, you should consider the efficiency of your current boiler.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Purpose of a Thermostatic Radiator Valve (TRV)?

The purpose of a thermostatic radiator valve (TRV) is to regulate the temperature of a room by adjusting the flow of hot water to a radiator. It does this automatically based on the room's temperature, allowing for individual temperature control in different areas of a home or building. This not only enhances comfort but also can lead to energy savings by heating rooms only to the desired temperature.

What is the Difference Between a Thermostatic and Normal Radiator Valve?

The main difference between a thermostatic radiator valve (TRV) and a normal (manual) radiator valve is the ability to automatically control room temperature. A TRV adjusts the flow of hot water into a radiator based on the room's temperature, while a manual valve requires manual adjustment to control the heat output. Manual valves do not adjust to temperature changes, meaning they cannot automatically save energy or adjust for comfort as TRVs do.

Can I Put Thermostatic Valves on All Radiators?

Yes, you can fit thermostatic valves on most radiators, but it's usually recommended to leave one radiator without a TRV, typically in the room with the main thermostat or where there's a risk of freezing pipes. This ensures there's always a path for hot water to circulate, preventing any issues with overheating or underheating in systems where the boiler requires a minimum flow rate.

What are the Disadvantages of Thermostatic Valves?

Disadvantages of thermostatic valves include: Initial cost: They are more expensive than manual valves. Maintenance: TRVs can require more maintenance as they contain mechanical parts that may fail. Incorrect placement: If placed near a heat source or in a draft, they can misread room temperatures. Limited control: While they control temperature, they do not control the timing of heating.

Should One Radiator Not Have a Thermostatic Valve Fitted?

Yes, it's generally advisable that at least one radiator, preferably in the room with the main thermostat, does not have a TRV fitted. This ensures that the boiler can continue to circulate hot water even if all TRVs have closed because their rooms are at the set temperatures. It helps avoid potential issues with the heating system and ensures that the home is adequately protected against freezing.

Does Turning Down TRV Save Energy?

Yes, turning down the TRV can save energy. By reducing the temperature setting on a TRV, you're effectively lowering the amount of heat output from the radiator, which means the boiler works less to heat that space. This can lead to significant energy savings, especially in rooms that do not require as much heat.

Is it Better to Turn Off Radiators in Unused Rooms?

Turning off radiators in unused rooms can save energy and reduce heating bills, as you're not heating space that doesn't require it. However, during very cold weather, it's wise to keep the radiator on a low setting to prevent the risk of pipes freezing. Balancing energy savings with the need to protect your home is key.

Stephen Day profile photo
Article by
Stephen Day | Co-founder
Gas Safe registered and FGAS certified engineer with over 20 years experience in the heating and cooling industry.