Explaining Thermostatic Radiator Valves

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  • Author Tal Potishman
  • Published December 7, 2009
  • Word count 481

With significant pressure mounting on people to start taking steps in cutting down carbon emissions and reducing fuel bills, it has inevitably led to questioning how heating controls can play a part in achieving these objectives.

The government has particularly come under pressure to take initiative in reducing energy costs whilst cutting carbon dioxide emissions. Organizations such as Energy Saving have been set up to offer advice on how to improve energy efficiency, cut costs, and ensure best value.

How does a Thermostatic Radiator Valve (TRV) work?

A TRV firstly senses the surrounding air temperature. Its main purpose is to regulate room temperature and does this by progressively closing down the flow through the radiator as the air temperature rises, thereby cooling the radiator and regulating the room temperature. You have flexibility over adjusting each TRV to a temperature best suited to each room. This not only works in saving you on energy, but also offers you the flexibility to have varying temperatures in separate parts of the home. This is better than wasting energy heating a room that may not be in use.

Regrettably, many members of the public misuse the TRV by not allowing it to do its job. They forget to see it as a heating control and make the mistake of setting the TRV to 'maximum'. This detracts the TRV from its main purpose as it encourages the boiler to raise the temperature in the room to an unnecessarily high level. The best way to maximise the TRVs potential is to simply allow it to do its job. This way a lot of energy savings can be achieved - but only if the product is allowed to do what it is supposed to do.

In what way can you save on energy?

Investing in the correct heating controls not only has the advantage of saving on energy, but also making the home a much more comfortable and user-friendly place to live in. More people should become aware of the fact that turning down our thermostat just one degree will save us as much as 10% on the average heating bill. This generally adds up to saving roughly 40 per degree turned down.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that turning a TRV to a higher setting will make the room heat up faster. How fast the room heats up will be largely dependent on a number of factors such as the boiler size and setting, and the radiator size. However, if you wish to save on energy, turning the TRV to a lower setting will result in the room being controlled at a lower temperature and you will save on energy.

In order to maximise use of your TRV, ensure that they are not covered by clothing or blocked by furniture. TRVs need free flow of air to sense the temperature in order for them to work properly.

Tal Potishman, editor of Heating Central, writes articles about local plumbers, central heating, plumber Wigan, underfloor heating and solar thermal. He specializes in helping save money by advising on efficient heating.

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