A simple guide to balancing radiators
Balancing radiators is adjusting the water flow within the radiators to ensure the hot water disperses evenly throughout the central heating system.
An unbalanced system can result in certain radiators not heating up efficiently, meaning there may be cooler areas within your home.
Balancing radiators in your home is relatively simple with the help of this step-by-step guide.
No technical working knowledge of boilers is required, but it is important to follow each of the steps carefully not to cause damage to your radiators or boiler.
What are the symptoms of unbalanced radiators?
Without knowing precisely what you are looking for, unbalanced radiators can be unassuming. However, if you pay close attention to your radiators, you might have noticed that the radiator closest to your boiler puts out much more heat than the radiator that is furthest away.
A more subtle sign of unbalanced radiators is that the furthest radiators will take slightly longer to reach the desired temperature. This problem can go unnoticed for a long time as you may not realise there is a difference between individual radiators.
Overall, if you have noticed that certain rooms get hotter than others when the central heating is turned on or there are significant differences in temperature between the rooms in your house, it might be time to balance your radiators.
The question to ask is, why are my radiators not warming up? Or, why are my radiators warming up at different times.
Why bother balancing your radiators?
If the only symptom of unbalanced radiators that you’ve noticed is that certain radiators take slightly longer to get to temperature than others, you might be wondering whether it is worth taking the time to solve this problem. What might seem like a minor inconvenience could actually be costing you significant amounts of money each year.
With the ongoing energy crisis elevating the price of gas and electricity, it would be far more beneficial to current issues such as these.
The process takes no more than an hour and could save an average of £80 on your yearly energy bill. This is due to the 8.8% energy waste that typically comes from unbalanced radiators.
What is the difference between bleeding and balancing radiators?
I’ve recently bled my radiators, will this fix the problem?
This is a question we commonly hear when explaining to clients that their radiators might need rebalancing.
However, bleeding and balancing a radiator are two different solutions for inconsistent heating.
When bleeding a radiator, you are looking to release the gas built up in the central heating system that prevents water from circulating freely. As a result, this causes cold spots within the radiator, costing you more to heat up your home.
Whilst bleeding your radiator won’t rebalance the system, it is a practical preparatory step for balancing your radiators.
For a complete guide on bleeding your radiators, you can read our step-by-step guide here: How to bleed a radiator
Step-by-step guide for balancing radiators
- Switch off your central heating system and allow it to cool completely.
- Bleeding your radiators is the first step in preparation for balancing your radiators. It will enable you to take far more accurate temperature readings later in the process.
- Open all radiator valves and set all TRVs to maximum. These can typically be found on the side of the radiator. Remove any covers and turn the valve anticlockwise.
- Switch on the heating and take note of the order and time that it takes for each radiator to heat up. This will indicate the order in which your radiators receive hot water.
- Switch the heating back off and allow the system to cool down.
- Turn your heating back on, and locate yourself at the radiator that warmed up the fastest. This one will need to be adjusted first.
- Adjust your radiator leaving the TRV open(use the lockshield valve only when balancing)
- On the radiator that warms up the fastest, close the valve completely. Then, open the valve by one-quarter turn.
- For this stage, you’ll require a thermometer to take temperature readings once the radiator begins to heat up.
- First, measure the temperature of the pipework directly connected to the valve. Follow up by taking a measurement of the temperature of the pipework on the opposite side of the radiator, usually where the thermostatic regulator valve (TRV) is located. Take note of both of these readings.
- You should turn the valve gradually until the difference in temperature between the two pipes is 12°c. This process will take some time as you will need to wait for the radiators to reach the temperature after each adjustment to take an accurate reading.
8. Repeat with the other radiators in your home.
After balancing the first radiator to an exact temperature of 12°c you should repeat the process with the remaining radiators, in the order it took for them to heat up.
Should I acquire professional help?
Unless you feel suitably equipped to take on the task of balancing your radiators, you might find it beneficial to acquire the services of a trained professional.
A heating engineer will be familiar with the process of balancing radiators, making the process hassle-free.
If you are interested in utilising the services of a Gas-Safe Registered engineer, contact Boilerhut for more information. We can provide a qualified individual to address issues with your boiler, central heating and radiators throughout the UK.