If your radiators are unbalanced, they will not heat up at the same speed as each other. This means some areas of your home will be colder than others.
What Is Radiator Balancing?
Radiator balancing is the adjustment of your radiator valves to ensure all your radiators heat up at the same speed.
If you find that your individual radiators have cold spots, this could mean trapped air in the system and you'll need to bleed them. If your radiators are cold at the bottom, this could be caused by trapped sludge and you'll need to flush this out.
You Will Need:
- Radiator bleed key
- Lockshield valve key
- Digital thermometer/multimeter with thermometer
- Adjustable spanner
How To Balance Radiators
- Turn off your heating
- Open all radiator valves
- Note the speed each radiator heats up
- Allow your heating to cool down
- Turn your heating back on
- Adjust the fastest radiator
- Repeat for other radiators.
1. Switch Off Your Heating
To begin balancing radiators, all the radiators in your home must be completely cold. So, time to turn off your home heating.
It does also help if you have recently bled them, as your upcoming temperature readings will be more accurate.
2. Open Up All Your Radiator Valves
First you'll need to open all the radiator valves in your home by turning them anti-clockwise
Thermostatic valves and wheelhead valves can be opened easily by turning them by hand.
Lockshield valves will have a plastic cover which will need to be removed. You can then use your adjustable spanner or lockshield valve key to turn the valve anti-clockwise and open it.
3. Note The Speed Each Radiator Heats Up
With all your radiator valves open, it’s time to turn on your heating and make a note of the speed each of your radiators heat up.
It helps to enlist a few friends or the kids at this point so that you can keep an eye on how fast all the radiators warm up. You'll usually find those radiators nearest the boiler will be faster.
4. Allow Your Heating To Cool Down
Once again you'll need to turn everything off and allow your heating system to cool down. Letting your system completely cool down may take a while and some people will prefer to leave it overnight.
5. Turn Your Heating Back On
Once you've let your radiators cool down completely, you'll need to turn your heating back on and head to the radiator which warmed up the fastest.
6. Adjust The Fastest Radiator
You'll need to adjust the fastest radiator in your home first. Close the lockshield valve on this radiator completely, then open it by one quarter turn.
Once it's started to heat up you'll need to take some measurements with your digital thermometer or multimeter with thermometer.
First measure the temperature of the pipework next to the valve. Then, take the temperature of the pipework on the opposite side of the radiator, usually where the TRV is. Make sure you take a note of both of these readings.
You'll now need to turn the lockshield valve very gradually until the difference between the readings of the two pipes is 12°c precisely.
It's important to remember balancing radiators takes time. You'll need to wait for the temperature of the radiator to change each time you adjust the lockshield before you can get an accurate measurement.
7. Repeat For Other Radiators
Now that you've balanced your first radiator to an exact difference of 12°c, it's time to tend to your slightly slower radiators and balance them just the same. Do this in the order they took to heat up.
What you'll find when balancing radiators is that the amount the lockshield valve needs to be opened is correlative to the distance of the radiator from your home’s boiler. When it comes to the slowest of your radiators, you may find the lockshield valve even needs to be opened completely.
If you followed the above steps correctly, you'll find your radiators are now balanced. The dispersal of hot water from your boiler is reaching the furthest radiator from your boiler as evenly as it is reaching the closest.