Should I fit thermostatic radiator valves?
Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs) are valves that regulate the temperature in a room on a per-radiator basis. A standard system will have one central boiler feeding all the radiators in the house based on the temperature from the single thermostat, which is usually located in the hallway.
TRVs, working in conjunction with room thermostats, enable a much greater degree of individual control for different rooms. You are able to adjust the heating to your individual preferences.
The main reason for doing this is to save money by not overheating space that you’re either not using at the time, or where you prefer a lower temperature for comfort reasons. For instance, it’s quite common that people will want their living room heating to a nice comfortable temperature while the family is sitting there during the evening, watching TV say. But they will prefer a cooler temperature in the bedroom, since many people find this easier for the purposes of getting to sleep.
The energy savings from using TRVs can be substantial, up to 40% although it depends on your home, how well it is insulated and how you use the rooms in the house.
You can also get smart TRVs as part of a smart heating system (see our former blog post for the merits or demerits of some of the main ones available). These can be set to run according to a schedule - heating certain rooms at the time you tend to use them, but then cooling down after you typically have finished with them. And they can be controlled remotely via smartphone should that be a thing that may turn out to be useful (say, if you get delayed returning home, for instance).
Are there any downsides to TRVs? Not many, although if your radiator is situated near to a door or window that typically has a draught problem, it may get a false reading of the room temperature and misfire accordingly. Likewise, you generally wouldn’t use a TRV in your bathroom, since the temporary heat of the steam from the shower can give a similarly false outcome.
Modern building regulations mean that all new build homes with ‘wet’ central heating systems have TRVs installed from the beginning in all rooms save for that where the main thermostat lives (because obviously you don’t want the two thermostats fighting for control over what the temperature should be).
But if you have an older system, it can be relatively inexpensive to install TRVs. Individual standard units cost between £10-30 and can be fitted very quickly by your heating engineer. There is minimal maintenance required after then.
As winter approaches on the horizon and heating systems are starting to come into action – this might be the time to consider making that small investment.