Boiler Radiators 101

Homeowners often do not give their boiler radiator and valves attention until something erratic happens or their house needs remodelling. While the most prudent measure is calling a heating engineer, familiarizing yourself with the boiler radiator and the parts involved in heating is also a wise choice. This helps you in handling the situation more capably in any unwanted situation.

What are Radiators and Radiator Valves?

The radiator is a hollow, metal heat exchange device installed on the wall of a room. Radiators are one of the oldest heating methods and still prove to be one of the most effective. The best thing about it is they can be in different sizes and shapes.

Radiator valves are at the bottom of the radiator, where the entry and exit pipes are located. Mostly they are on the right and left sides, but sometimes, they can also be at the bottom and centre of the radiator.

How Do the Radiator and Radiator Valves Work?

The radiator and the radiator valves are an integral part of your heating system. The boiler acts as the source, and every radiator connected to it makes up part of a network through which the water travels. All the radiators are connected and joined by the boiler’s pipes where the water is heated.

The process starts when you activate your thermostat, and the boiler starts heating water. When the water reaches its proper temperature, it flows through each radiator via pipes. The hot water doesn’t remain in the radiator. It passes through it by entering from one side and exiting from the other.

The radiator heats a room by convection technique. The air that surrounds the radiator is consequently warmed through convection and circulates throughout the room.

The water flows through one radiator and travels through the pipes onto the next radiator. It eventually cools down water as it travels through this chain from one radiator to the next. And then the water lands back in the boiler where it’s reheated, and the process repeats itself till your heating system is on.

So how do the radiator valves come into play during the process?

As you might have guessed, they control the amount of heat the radiator emits. This makes their role especially important in the heating process.

First, you have one valve on the side of the radiator where the water enters the unit called a lockshield which regulates the heat output. An engineer adjusts these radiator valves to balance the radiators and the heat at the same rate. When the valve is set, the engineer places a plastic cap on top of the valve to “shield” it from any movement and to “lock” in place; hence the name, lockshield.

In addition to the lockshield, you have another radiator valve on the other side of the radiator. This one allows you to adjust the heat output and water flow.

Types of Radiators

If your current boiler radiator needs to be updated for aesthetic or functional purposes, look through different types of radiators for the most efficient unit. Here are the different varieties:

  • Column radiators – Possess the traditional aesthetic with high efficiency and are commonly made of 2-3 columns.
  • Flat panel radiators – Classic, simple, non-obtrusive radiators with large heat outputs. Mostly used in flats or other small spaces.
  • Compact radiators – They are enclosed and have fins to give off the heat. And the inner parts of the radiator are covered up by thin white panels.

Types of Radiator Valves

The knowledge of the different types of radiator valves proves to be useful during repair, adjustment or replacement. The type of radiator valve you need depends on the location of the pipes and the type of radiator you have. In addition to the previously mentioned lockshield valves, the various classifications include:

  • Manual radiator valves – These are located opposite the lockshield and can be used by the owner to adjust the heat flow
  • Thermostatic radiator valves – This type can also be adjusted and bought as a separate add on; once it’s set it consistently regulates the heat output
  • Corner valves – This variety fits the pipe that comes out of the wall at a 90-degree angle
  • Angled valves – This kind attaches at an angle to a pipe that comes up vertically from the floor

What temperature should my radiator be set at?

Finally, you’ll need to ensure that your radiator is set at the right temperature for optimum efficiency and comfort. Setting the temperature between 18°C and 21°C provides adequate heat for most rooms. You might consider keeping bedrooms at 18°C so as not to get too warm when laying underneath blankets.

When in doubt, you can call your home heating installer. They will know your boiler and boiler radiator better, so they can tune it more accurately. The Boiler Installation Specialists have accredited installation partners of brands like Worchester Bosch and Vaillant. We guarantee best in class new boiler installation and maintenance to give the highest level of efficiency.

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