Monday, June 17, 2024

How To Balance Radiators and Keep Your Home Warm This Winter

Keeping your home and family warm becomes a top priority as winter approaches in the UK, even though I enjoy managing my thermostat.

A secret weapon of mine has been learning how to balance radiators. This ensures my home temperature is consistent throughout. After thoroughly researching the process,

I found the warmth change throughout my house incredible.

Table of Contents

The guide below will walk you through the step-by-step process of balancing radiators. Your home warmth will improve, keeping you and your family happy all year round.

Tools You Will Need

  1. A Radiator bleed key
  2. A Lockshield valve key 
  3. A Screwdriver
  4. Digital thermometer or multimeter with a thermometer function
  5. An Adjustable spanner
how to balance radiators

When Do Your Radiators Need Balancing?

If the signals below are happening, then it’s time you consider balancing your radiators.[1]

1. Certain rooms become warmer than others upon turning on your heating.

2. Delayed heating in some rooms compared to others.

3. Weird changes in room temperatures.

4. The need to adjust the thermostat considerably higher or lower to achieve desired temperatures.

If these symptoms are present, you should use the appropriate tools below to balance your radiators.

How To Balance Radiators

Let’s get straight into the step-by-step process of how to balance radiators. Cold spots, be gone!

Step 1: Turn Off Your Heating

Right, turn off your central heating system first. You must ensure all radiators are completely cold before you begin balancing.

Step 2: Open All Your Radiator Valves

Next, open all the radiator valves in your home. This involves turning the valves anti-clockwise. Thermostatic valves can be easily opened by hand.

There may be a plastic cover on the lockshield valves. Remove these with an adjustable spanner or lockshield valve key.

Step 3: Turn Your Heating Back On

Now all your radiator valves are open, it’s time to turn your heating back on. Pay attention to the order in which your radiators heat up. Typically, radiators closest to your boiler will heat up first.

Step 4: Allow Your Heating to Cool Down

Now all your radiators have heated up, turn your heating off again and allow it to cool down completely. This process will take a while, and it might be sensible to leave this overnight if it can wait that long.

Step 5: Adjust the Fastest Heating Radiator

Now your heating has cooled down, turn your heating back on and locate the radiator that heated the fastest in step 3. Close the lockshield valve on this radiator completely, then open it by a quarter of a turn.

Step 6: Measure the Temperature

Grab your digital thermometer or multimeter. Measure the temperature of the pipework next to the lockshield valve. Then, measure the temperature of the pipework on the opposite side of the radiator. The goal is to achieve a 12°C difference between these two readings.

Step 7: Repeat for Other Radiators

You aim to achieve a 12°C difference in temperature for the first radiator. Once done, repeat steps 5 to 6 on all other radiators in your home, starting with the next fastest heating radiator. Open the lockshield valve on the radiators further away from the boiler.

That is how to balance radiators. Trust me, you will notice the difference in warmth consistency, which is absolutely staggering!

What Is Radiator Balancing?

Radiator balancing is adjusting the water flow through each radiator in your home. This ensures that all radiators heat up simultaneously. The aim is to get them heating at the same pace, leading to your heating performing as efficiently as possible.

Why Is Balancing Radiators Important?

Keeping your radiators well-balanced will help prevent certain rooms from becoming too hot. In contrast, others remain cold and merciful to the elements. 

Balancing radiators means even heat distribution throughout your home. This ensures your family bathroom isn’t roasting hot while your living room is like the Antarctic.

Balancing Vs Bleeding

Both these actions may appear similar at first glance, but they address different issues regarding your central heating.

To determine whether you need to balance or bleed your radiators, check out the following criteria to understand the necessary procedure.

If your heating system has any of the following symptoms, bleeding the radiator is likely required:

– Produces rattling, excessive noise, or gurgling sounds.

– Displays specific areas or spots on a radiator that remain cold, typically near the top.

It’s important to understand that while an individual radiator can be bled, achieving proper balance will require inspecting and adjusting all radiators.

how to balance radiators

Understand Your Heating

When you switch on your heating, hot water is pumped from your boiler. This hot water will either heat your radiators or be directed to your hot water tank for use in showers or kitchen taps.

If your radiators aren’t balanced, the ones closest to the boiler will perform well. The other one in the man cave on the third floor will start gathering icicles, though.

Which Radiator Valve is Which?

Each radiator has two types of valves – a thermostatic radiator valve (TRV) and a lockshield valve.

  • Thermostatic Radiator Valve (TRV):[2] This is a manual valve, usually located on one side of the radiator. It allows you to control the temperature of that individual radiator. (left)
  • Lockshield Valve:[3] This valve is located on the opposite side of the radiator to the TRV. It controls the hot water that enters the radiator from your boiler. (right)
how to balance radiators
how to balance radiators

Need To Remove Your Radiators Completely?

If you're looking to remove your radiator from the wall, check out our post on how to do it damage free HERE.

Post-Balancing Tips

Your home should heat more evenly once you’ve balanced all your radiators. However, remember that balancing your radiators is not a one-time job.

It’s good practice to check the balance of your radiators every year, especially before the dreaded winter season.

How To Balance Radiator FAQ's

Maintaining a minimum temperature of 12 degrees ensures that your central heating system continues functioning correctly, avoiding problems like frozen pipes during the colder months.

This temperature setting allows for the best circulation of hot water throughout the system, resulting in an even spread across all radiators.

While there is no set order for balancing radiators, it is generally recommended to begin with the radiators farthest from the boiler and work your way towards those closest to it.

This method ensures even heating throughout your home and lets you make fine-tune adjustments as needed.

No, the lockshield valve should not be completely open when balancing radiators. Instead, it should be partially closed to control the flow of hot water into the radiator.
Adjusting the lockshield valve balances heat distribution across all radiators in your home, ensuring continuous warmth without overworking the system.

The number of rotations necessary for the lockshield valve varies according to the radiator’s size and distance from the boiler.

Generally, it begins by gradually shutting the valve by one or two turns. Then, measure the temperature differential between the radiator’s inlet and output pipes. Continue adjusting the valve until the heat output is balanced across all radiators.

Balancing radiators entails changing the flow of hot water to each radiator in your central heating system to guarantee even heat distribution. Switch off the heating system to balance your radiators and let it cool down.

Then, systematically adjust the lockshield valve on each radiator, verifying for constant heat output and fine-tuning as necessary. Finally, test the system to guarantee even heating throughout your home.

The Bottom Line

Learning how to balance radiators is essential to ensuring your home heats up evenly and efficiently. While it may seem complex initially, this guide will give you the confidence to ensure your radiators perform optimally.

Seeking Professional Help

If you have followed the steps in this guide and still need assistance with your radiators, it might be time to seek professional help.

A heating engineer can diagnose and repair any problems with your heating, ensuring your home remains warm and comfortable during winter.

Thank You For Reading Our Article On How To Balance Radiators

We hoped you enjoyed our article on how to balance radiators. If you want more essential handy dad content, check out our blog HERE.



I'm Chris, and my life revolves around two profound passions: embracing the joys of fatherhood with my energetic 2-year-old son and channelling my skills into transforming every nook and cranny of our home.
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