Which Radiator Valves to Select?
Along with central heating radiators, the valves are an integral part of any central heating system. By having valves built in, the end user can elect to switch off one or more radiators for any period of time; this is particularly useful in warmer months when the radiators will not be in use and do not require water in them. This also allows essential maintenance to take place; repairs can be carried out without the risk of water flying out of the pipes when the work begins.Types of Valves
There are several different types of valve available, each serving a very distinct purpose.
Manual Valves - Effectively a 'tap' for your radiator. The level of water required can be adjusted by turning the valve by hand. The most basic and inexpensive of valves, but a tried and tested model that has worked for decades. These valves allow the user to select their preferred heat level by a simple tweak, with full control over the level of heat coming into the radiator.
Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TVR's) - A more complex type of valve than a straight manual type, these valves operate in the same way as a manual valve in that they control water coming in to the radiator. However, unlike a manual valve, a TVR can detect the temperature in the room and self-regulate; as the name suggests, it is thermostatically controlled and requires less human input. The benefit of a TVR over a traditional valve is that it is aimed towards maximum efficiency, both in energy consumption and cost; its ability to constantly change and alter inward flow of heat means that the central heating radiators are always working at an optimal level and saving the user money and time.
Lockshield Valves - A different type of valve altogether, it not only allows the user to control the level of heat coming in; it also facilitates outward control of the water supply, meaning that the user has full control of the water going back into the pipework. The benefit of this is that all radiators can in fact be standardised and made to work in unison, ensuring a truly balanced central heating system.
Amongst the three types of valve above, the joint in each valve is generally either straight or angled; the former is intended for systems where the boiler simply needs to distribute the heated water down standard pipework. However, an angled joint may be used where the boiler is, as the name suggests, at an angle, or where the pipework is designed in such a way that a straight horizontal line is not an option. At QS Supplies, we supply both a straight or angled valve.
Which Radiator Valve is Best?
It really does depend on what the required end product is. For the most basic of control, and the least expense and financial outlay, manual valves attached to central heating regulators really are the easiest option; they allow the user to control heat levels, and to shut the system off altogether when needed. However, their primitive design does not lend them well to having more control over a balanced home system.
TRV's offer a good, 'middle of the road' thermostatic system in that the user can leave the house, even for prolonged periods, and not risk coming back to a home that is nauseatingly hot; the system will have taken into account the temperature and allowed the home or office to heat up in a less intrusive manner. However, these do represent a steep price increase over manual valves.
Lockshield valves are more suitable for larger settings, where higher numbers of people work and live and thus the return of recycled hot water into the pipes will allow substantial cost savings. Additionally, this then creates a uniform approach across the building; the store cupboard on the ground floor can be set at exactly the same temperature as the manager's office on the second floor. Thus, for office blocks, hospitals and similar settings, lockshield valves may seem like an expensive option in the first instance, but the savings that they present will mean that they pay for themselves over and over.