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Types of Radiator Valves


So, you’ve had new radiators installed around the home but the job isn’t done there, you still need to fit them with radiator valves. Radiator valves don’t come fitted to new radiators as each home is unique in the way that it uses them.

You have the freedom of choosing the perfect type, size and style for you but the only problem is that there’s a lot to choose from so knowing which you should get can be tough to know. We’ve put this guide together to help you find the right radiator valves for your home.

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How Do Radiator Valves Work?

Radiator valves give you full control of how much heat the radiator emits to the room. Every radiator will have two, one on each end, with one controlling how much hot water enters the radiator and the second (lockshield valve) balancing the system by controlling how much heat the radiator emits.

What’s a Lockshield Valve?

A lockshield valve controls the amount of water that stays in or flows out of the radiator and back into the pipework. Here are a couple of things to note about them:

  • Covered with a plastic cap
  • Can’t be easily turned as the heating engineer will have ensured that the radiators heat up at similar speeds (balancing the radiators).
  • Types of Radiator Valves: Manual, TRVs & Smart

    The most common types of radiators valves are manual and TRVs but there’s a third that more companies are now manufacturing known as smart radiator valves.

    Type of ValveManualThermostatic (TRVs)Smart
    How it WorksCan be turned up, down or off to meet the required room temperature. Turning the valve adjusts how much water flows through the radiator and, as a result, how much heat is emitted.Includes some wax or liquid that senses the room temperature. It will switch off the flow of hot water and stop the radiator getting any hotter once the desired temperature has been reached.Smart thermostats are connected to WiFi so that you can control your heating with an app on a smart device. Should the smart thermostat be compatible with smart TRVs then you can control each TRV around your home from the app.

    No matter whether you’re installing manual, thermostatic or smart radiator valves, you have to find out whether you need straight, angled, corner or H-block valves.

    Straight, Angled, Corner or H-Block Valves?

    It’s important that the radiator valves are compatible with the inlets on your radiator as well as being able to connect to the hot water pipes. The different types of radiator valve will either come out of the floor or the wall.

    The majority of radiators in the UK have bottom opposite end (BOE) connections meaning that they come out of the side of the radiator at the bottom horizontally.

    An increasing number of modern radiators have middle connections located at the bottom in the centre. The advantage of this is that there won’t be any valves or pipework protruding out the side, making them great space savers.

    Majority of UK Radiators

    • Have bottom opposite end (BOE) connections which means that they come out of the side of the radiator or at the bottom horizontally
    • Pipework usually comes out of the walls which tends to mean that angled valves are required

    Modern Radiators

    • Many radiators now have middle connections located at the bottom in the centre which is a great advantage when you consider that there won’t be any valves or pipework protruding out the side, making them great space savers
    • Radiators that need to be connected to pipework coming up out of the floor when the radiator has inlets at the back (rather than the sides) then straight valves could be better suited.
    Type of ValveStraightAngledCornerH-Block
    How it WorksNo bends so the water flows straight along a wall or up from the floor.Include a 90° bend to connect pipework with the radiator at an angle.

    An ideal choice for homes where pipework comes out the wall or up from the floor.

    Installed facing inwards, parallel to the wall making them tougher to adjust.

    Well suited to homes where space is restricted.

    Suited to radiators with middle connections rather than BOE.

    Easy to install and replace.

    You can use the table below to get an idea of which type of radiator valves you need.

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    RadiatorPipes from the wallPipes from the floorExposed pipes along the wall
    Inlets on the sideAngled / CornerAngledStraight
    Inlets underneathAngled / CornerStraightAngled

    Not sure which type of valve you need? Get a professional to take a look by sending us an enquiry and we’ll connect you with up to 3 trusted engineers in your area.

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    Radiator Valves: Size

    When looking at the size of a radiator valve this doesn’t refer to its physical size but rather the size of the connection and pipework. Pipework can often range from 8mm – 28mm, with most valves being manufactured to fit a 15mm pipe.

    Don’t worry if you can’t find the size you’re looking for as adapters are widely available.

    Radiator Valves: Styles

    After finding the right radiator valves, you can fit them in with the decor of your home thanks to a wide range of styles:

    • Simple
    • Minimalist
    • Contemporary
    • Traditional
    • Elegant
    • Classic

    Radiator Valves: Cost

    Depending on the type of radiator valve you’re looking for, the cost will vary. Find out how much one is likely to cost with the table below.

    Valve TypeAverage Cost
    Manual£5 – £35
    Thermostatic£5 – £120
    Smart£50 – £200+*

    *Excludes the cost of a smart thermostat.

    These prices don’t take into account the cost of installation which will require a professional heating engineer as they need to:

    • Drain the radiator
    • Ensure the valve and connectors are safely secured
    • Balance the heating system, i.e. check that all of the radiators are heating up at the same rate

    How to Get the Right Radiator Valves

    You won’t have much say with the type of radiator valve you can get as this will be determined by the existing pipework and type of radiator. When it comes to the style though, you’ll have lots of choice.

    The best way to make sure that you end up with the perfect radiator valves is by contacting a professional heating engineer. By sending us an enquiry, we’ll put you in touch with up to 3 highly trusted engineers in your area who will all provide quotes, allowing you to compare their offers and find the right deal for you.

    Get FREE Boiler Quotes Now

    Find professional heating engineers in your local area

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