Like most switches, dials, valves and pretty much anything in your house you flick or turn to use, it’s fair to say you shouldn’t have to spend too much time thinking about them. Any functional item you use regularly should ideally do two things; work as expected and look good.
If you read the recent article on Summer Radiator Maintenance Tips and Tricks for the home, you’ll know that checking your radiator valves is an integral part of keeping radiators in working order. But have you ever stopped to consider whether you have the right valve for the job, or if your radiator valves even look the part?
You might be surprised to learn (when doing some Googling) that there are thousands of options out there when it comes to what radiator valves you can buy. To avoid getting overwhelmed on the topic, let’s consider what you need to think about when picking a new radiator valve.
Think About Function
Are you the type of person who keeps a keen eye on the thermostat? Maybe you hate the idea of energy being wasted? Or do you simply like having the heating cranked up when you’re getting cosy in the evening?
There are generally three types of valves when it comes to function: manual, thermostatic, and smart. A manual valve will be designed to easily fit and open/close when you want it to. It won’t have any marks or numbers on it. A thermostatic valve will have numbers or a gauge on it. It is marked as such so the user can adjust the flow of water and set a radiator within a specific temperature range. They differ from manual valves by being chunkier and having a little chamber on top (this helps it understand temperature).
Smart radiator valves are only relatively new. They’ll be used to connect with your home heating system if it’s all digitally controlled via your Wi-Fi; the idea being you can change temperature with a device rather than go from room to room.
Think About Shape
Valves are all about the angles. I find this to be the area people will slip up on most as you wouldn’t tend to think about what shape of valve is needed to make a connection work. There are three types of valve shapes to choose from: angled, corner and straight.
Angled valves (which you can see examples of here) are the most common and connect your radiators to your pipes at an angle down towards the floor. Corner valves connect your radiator to your pipes at an angle towards the wall. Straight valves connect the pipes directly through to the radiator with no bend at all.
Don’t make the mistake of buying the wrong shape or else you’ll be left with valves you have no use for.
Think About Design
If your radiators are sitting behind furniture or out of sight, the design doesn’t matter too much. When they’re in a prominent position, it helps to have valves that look the part. You’ll want to consider the shape, size, colour, and material of the valve. Again, options are endless, and you could see yourself with a simple plastic valve all the way to antique style brass valves with a varnished wooden handle.
It’s honestly the most exciting part of choosing a radiator valve if you can believe as such.
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