Imagine walking up to your front door one day, and the handle looks completely out of place. Maybe it’s a material that doesn’t match the rest of the frame. It could be that the colour is the complete opposite of the rest of the door. It might even have your lock in a weird position that is hard to reach. You wouldn’t settle for it at all.
Unsurprisingly, many of us have one piece of equipment in every room of the home, which can easily have these problems, and we don’t take the time to think it over; our radiator valves. These tiny parts of our radiators seemingly act out of sight most of the time. Still, whenever there’s a problem with a radiator, there the first we gravitate towards.
Why is it, though, that buying a radiator valve can be so hard? For something with seemingly one function, what makes shopping for radiator valves a task that can quickly see you falling down a rabbit hole of browser tabs overthinking what you need?
Luckily, in this short guide, I want to highlight what you should be thinking about when buying a new radiator valve. Hopefully, it will help you realise that they’re an essential purchase and sometimes more important to get right than the radiator you’re attaching one to!
What exactly do you need a radiator valve to do? And what do you want it to do? Most people wouldn’t give a second thought to what they want from their valves. Still, when you’re keen to lower heating bills and make sure that certain spaces around the home only get heat when needed, functionality plays a key role.
Personally, I am a big fan of thermostatic valves. They give you a clear indication of how hard water is being forced through a radiator to heat a space, and they let you finesse the output to have minor adjustments. When you have thermostatic valves at home, each one should be set to a different output. The only time it wouldn’t be were if every single room in your home was the same size, with the same furniture layout, and same size radiators (which we know is impossible).
If you don’t care at all, get a simple cap valve. Just understand that while they’re the cheapest valves to buy, they won’t save money in the long run if you don’t have a second sense about heat output.
One of those mistakes where you’ll want to hit yourself for being so stupid, radiator valves come in various angles. Make sure you get one that matches the angle/connection you need to make. Most UK homes have pipes that come out of the floor and need to meet the radiator at a right angle. That’s when you need an angled radiator valve. If the pipes pop out from the wall and have to connect in, that’s a corner valve. And in the event you are connected from the floor straight in without a bend (common with towel rails), then a straight valve is your best friend.
If you are absolutely clueless, I recommend visiting https://www.traderadiators.com/radiator-valves to see all the different angles you can have to compare with how your radiator meets your pipes.
Why would the colour of a radiator valve matter? I liken it to getting a tiny little spot staining a t-shirt. It may be a small inconvenience, but it is going to be easily noticed.
You would be surprised just what a difference having an appropriate colour/finish from your radiator valve can have. It isn’t as noticeable if you have a white radiator with white valves against a white wall. Still, when the radiator is any other colour, or the wall is painted/wallpapered, those valves will stick out like a sore thumb.
I recommend you choose a radiator valve based on the colour of the radiator or the colour of nearby fittings, i.e. plug sockets and light switches. You are aiming for complementary features between the two. The only time I would recommend a valve that completely contrasts in style would be when functionality, angle & placement are at play.
And that is it, really. Hopefully, this has given you an idea of how to pick a new radiator valve without any headaches.